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Archive for March 24th, 2011

Late Late Night FDL: Toccata and Fugue in D Minor (Fantasia)

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 24th, 2011 4:47 am by HL

Late Late Night FDL: Toccata and Fugue in D Minor (Fantasia)
FantasiaTocatta and Fugue in D Minor.

FantasiaTocatta and Fugue in D Minor.

What’s on your mind?

Why so shocked?
Newt Gingrich may be vile and hypocritical, but at least he isn’t Palin…that’s pretty much his campaign strategy.

Newt Gingrich in his own created alternative universe via Liz_Link at flickr.com

It is nice to see Newt Gingrich called out for violating the commonly-agreed upon rules of acceptable flip-floppery. But really what is the surprise? The guy’s life is one unending series of flip flops. From calling out a guy for cheating on his wife while cheating on the wife he cheated on his first wife with; from getting a Speaker to resign for generating perks…only to later resign as Speaker in large part for generating perks for himself. The guy doesn’t just write dreadful alternative histories, he lives dreadful alternative histories.

I wonder, he keeps saying how sick America is, while simultaneously proclaiming his flesh is weak against her purple mountains and amber waves of grain*. When is he going to dump her for another country already?

*prose-style lifted from the literary works of Newt Gingrich.


Time for a Little Education

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 24th, 2011 4:46 am by HL

Time for a Little Education
By Jim Mamer I’m a retired teacher and I’m pissed. No matter what form of media I look at, I’m confronted with constant references to the various budget crises. The crises are real, but the search for culprits has degenerated into a hypocritical attempt to score political points.

By Jim Mamer

I’m a retired teacher and I’m pissed. No matter what form of media I look at, I’m confronted with constant references to the various budget crises. The crises are real, but the search for culprits has degenerated into a hypocritical attempt to score political points.


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Report Says Army Could Have Prevented Anthrax Attacks
The man accused of carrying out the anthrax attacks that killed five people and made 17 others sick, the late Dr. Bruce Ivins, on the basis of his psychological profile should not have been allowed to have access to the toxic spores, according to a new report.  —KA ABC News: An independent review of the psychiatric records of the alleged anthrax killer Dr. Bruce Ivins has revealed that the Army scientist, who committed suicide in 2008, should never have been given a security clearance or access to anthrax based on his psychological profile and diagnosable mental illness. The report also found that Ivins allegedly carried out the attacks for revenge and redemption for questions about his work with the anthrax vaccine. The findings also delve further into his troubled relationships with women and an obsession he developed for a sorority that had a profound impact on his life. Read more

The man accused of carrying out the anthrax attacks that killed five people and made 17 others sick, the late Dr. Bruce Ivins, on the basis of his psychological profile should not have been allowed to have access to the toxic spores, according to a new report.? —KA

ABC News:

An independent review of the psychiatric records of the alleged anthrax killer Dr. Bruce Ivins has revealed that the Army scientist, who committed suicide in 2008, should never have been given a security clearance or access to anthrax based on his psychological profile and diagnosable mental illness.

The report also found that Ivins allegedly carried out the attacks for revenge and redemption for questions about his work with the anthrax vaccine. The findings also delve further into his troubled relationships with women and an obsession he developed for a sorority that had a profound impact on his life.

Read more

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John Norris: The GOP’s Foreign Policy: At Odds with Reality?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 24th, 2011 4:45 am by HL

John Norris: The GOP’s Foreign Policy: At Odds with Reality?
How exactly the United States is supposed to achieve the GOP’s lofty foreign policy ambitions as it slashes funding for the United Nations, the State Department, and USAID is a mystery.

Effort Begins To Have Obama Stripped Of Nobel Peace Prize
The Bolivian president and a Russian political leader have launched a joint effort to have President Barack Obama stripped of the Nobel Peace Prize. As…

Tea Party Group Plans Protest Over Disappointment With House Republicans
Tea Party Patriots leaders called on members and supporters on Wednesday to hold “a Continuing Revolution Rally” next Thursday outside the Capitol to underscore their…

Chris Weigant: The Chances of Success in Libya
Broadly speaking, there are only three possible outcomes in Libya — win, lose, or stalemate. What chance does each of these have of actually becoming reality in a short stretch of time?

House Lawmakers Draft Legislation To Defund Libya Operations
WASHINGTON — Members of Congress are discussing several mechanisms to cut off funding for U.S. military operations in Libya, arguing that since President Barack Obama…


Forbes Joins Fight Against Money-Saving Light Bulbs

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 24th, 2011 4:44 am by HL

Forbes Joins Fight Against Money-Saving Light Bulbs

In a column for Forbes magazine, Steve Forbes endorsed Republicans’ proposal to repeal light bulb efficiency standards signed into law by President Bush in 2007 and attempted to debunk the fact that compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) save consumers money by using less energy. However, tests have shown that CFLs can save households money even under the least ideal conditions.

Forbes Attempts To Debunk Fact That CFLs Save Households Money

Forbes: “Politicians Assure Us That Consumers Will Ultimately Save Money Because CFLs Will Last Longer. But They Might Not.” From the Forbes column:

This prohibition of the standard lightbulb is justified on the grounds that it will save energy. Well, if that were true, don’t you think consumers would figure it out for themselves? The chief replacement is the compact fluorescent lamp (CFLs)–those things that look like frozen pasta. They will cost six to ten times the amount of the old bulbs, but Washington politicians assure us that consumers will ultimately save money because CFLs will last longer.

But they might not. Warns expert Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute: “Cost savings are exaggerated. First, the [new] bulbs are tested under ideal conditions. Some household uses approximate these ideal conditions. Most do not. For example, if you turn a light on and off a lot, such as a bathroom light, you will save very little electricity because CFLs use a lot of electricity to start up. Second, CFLs tend not to last as long as advertised. Therefore, you end up replacing CFLs before they have achieved the savings needed to make up the [cost] difference [of the old-fashioned bulb].” [Forbes, 3/28/11]

Tests Show That CFLs Save Money Even If Turned On And Off Frequently

DOE: “Most CFLs Pay For Themselves With The Energy They Save In Less Than 9 Months.” The Department of Energy states:

Upgrading 15 traditional incandescent bulbs in your home with energy-saving bulbs could save you about $50 per year.

While the initial price of the newer light bulbs is typically higher than the inefficient incandescent bulbs you are replacing, you’ll spend less each year to operate them. Most CFLs pay for themselves with the energy they save in less than 9 months.

Average consumers will spend about $4.80 to operate a traditional incandescent bulb for a year (electricity cost). By comparison, average consumers will spend about $1.00 to operate an ENERGY STAR LED bulb, about $3.50 on a halogen incandescent bulb, and about $1.20 on an ENERGY STAR CFL bulb — each that produces about the same amount of light.

Also, an ENERGY STAR CFL bulb will typically last up to 10 times longer and an ENERGY STAR qualified LED bulb will last as much as 25 times longer than an incandescent bulb with the same light output (or lumens). Since the newer bulbs typically last longer, you have to replace them less frequently. Even with higher upfront purchase price added in, energy saving halogen incandescents, LEDs, and CFLs remain less expensive to consumers over the life of the individual bulb. [DOE, EnergySavers.gov, accessed 3/23/11]

Study: CFL Bulb “Pays For Itself” Even If You Turn It On And Off Every 5 Minutes.  In a 2008 study analyzing the life-cycle of compact fluorescent light bulbs the Rocky Mountain Institute concluded that “while rapid on-off cycling of the lamp does reduce the environmental (and payback) benefits of CFLs they remain a net ‘win.'” The study further stated:

If the cycle time of the light in question is reduced from 1 hour to 15 minutes, then the relative CO2e [Carbon dioxide equivalent] savings are reduced 14 percent. If the cycling time is further reduced from 15 minutes to 5 minutes, the relative CO2e savings are reduced by 19 percent. Even with a cycle time of 5 minutes, CFLs still save 63.4 percent of of the CO2e emitted from incandescents. The environmental impact from CFLs is dramatically smaller than incandescents for all operating cycles.

Though CFLs with reduced cycle times are clearly net winners in terms of the CO2e impact the reduced cycle time will have a more significant impact on the economic savings associated with CFLs. An incandescent lamp comparable to the one used in this study currently costs $0.55. Applying the three-to-ten cost factor described in Table 1, a comparable CFL (similar to the one used in this study) costs in the range of $1.65-$5.50. Assuming an on-time of 4 hours/day and a cost of electricity in the range of $0.0492-0.118/kWh (average $0.089/kWh), the lamp will always pay for itself in energy savings.

As the cost per kWh of electricity changes, so does the payback period for the CFL. The following graph shows the relationship between payback and cost per kWh. As the cost of electricity decreases, the payback period gets longer. In the worst case scenario–at 1,500 hours of lamp life (assuming 5-minute on-cycles that result in 15 percent of the 10,000 hour rated lamp life) and the cheapest electricity cost–the lamp still pays for itself, but by the smallest of margins. 

[…]

There is also a relationship between payback time and the capital cost of the CFL–more expensive lamps, clearly, have longer payback periods. In all scenarios the CFL pays for itself prior to lamp failure.

[…]

The ability of a CFL to pay for itself through energy savings decreases as lamp life gets shorter, with low electricity costs, and with high lamp costs. Wal-Mart and Philips are working on initiatives to expand production and bring lamp costs down, which would shorten consumers’ payback periods. [Rocky Mountain Institute, March 2008, in-text citations deleted for clarity]

Energy Saving Trust Spokesman: Turning CFLs On And Off Frequently “Would Be Quite An Unusual Way To Operate Your Lights.” According to a Telegraph article about the lifespan of CFL bulbs:

A spokesman for the EST said: “Regularly flicking a bulb on for a brief moment and then off again is not recommended as it can shorten the lifetime of the bulb.

“The reason is that the electronics in a CFL’s ballast need time to charge up and interrupting this process can reduce the lifetime of these components.

“However this would be quite an unusual way to operate your lights.”

The spokesman added that all bulbs approved by the EST must maintain their lifespan during tests involving “thousands of on/off cycles”. [The Telegraph, 9/1/09]

Consumer Reports: CFLs “Have Been Cycling On And Off” For “6,000 Hours” While Incandescents Last “Only Around 1,000 Hours.” Consumer reports reported in October 2010:

Our tests found that there’s no shortage of inexpensive, money-saving, energy-efficient CFLs. Most delivered on brightness and many provided color that was closer to incandescents’ than earlier versions. And all of the tested bulbs had significantly less than 5 milligrams of mercury, the cap that Energy Star sets for those bulbs. Still, CFLs should be recycled.

Here’s what else we learned:

CFLs keep burning brightly

The bulbs in our labs have been cycling on and off since early 2009, or 6,000 hours. For comparison, a typical incandescent bulb lasts only around 1,000 hours. Even after all that time, brightness and warm-up times remained virtually the same as after 3,000 hours of testing. Our results were confirmed by an outside lab. [Consumer Reports, October 2010]

Forbes Fearmongers About Risk Of Mercury Exposure From CFLs

Forbes: The Bigger Problem With CFLs Is That They Contain “Mercury, A Poison.”  From Forbes’ column:

There’s an even bigger problem: mercury, a poison. Heaven help you if you break one of these things. The EPA has numerous instructions on what you’re supposed to do when this happens.

[…]

The EPA also has bulletins on what to do when the bulb burns out.

You can’t make this stuff up.

Congress should promptly pass legislation introduced by Representative Joe Barton (R-Tex.) to repeal this dangerous, anti-free-market piece of idiocy. [Forbes, 3/28/11]

Product Safety Group: “If Disposed Of Properly, Mercury In CFLs Shouldn’t Be A Safety Hazard.” According to a report on CFLs and mercury from product safety certification organization, Underwriters Laboratories:

Myth – The contents of CFLs are bad for people and the environment.

Truth – CFLs contain a small amount of mercury sealed within the glass tubing – approximately 5 milligrams – a hundred times less mercury than found in a single old-style glass thermometer. No mercury is released when the lamps are intact or in use and if disposed of properly, mercury in CFLs shouldn’t be a safety hazard. [Underwriters Laboratories, accessed 3/22/11]

Lawrence Berkeley Lab Researchers: If Cleaned Up Properly, Mercury Exposure “Would Be The Equivalent Of Taking A Tiny Nibble Of Tuna.” According to Yahoo! News, researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have found that mercury exposure from broken CFLs is comparable to eating tuna:

But, just how dangerous is a broken bulb? Researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory set out to answer that question. They compared how much exposure you’d get from breathing in the amount of mercury released from a broken CFL bulb to how much mercury you’d take in from eating Albacore tuna.

If you do a common sense job of cleaning up (open the windows, clean up, and remove the debris), then your mercury exposure would be the equivalent of taking a tiny nibble of tuna, according to Francis Rubinstein, a staff scientist at Berkeley Lab. What if you did the worst job possible, say closed all the doors and smashed the bulb with a hammer? It’s still no big deal, says Rubinstein, who points out that it would be the equivalent of eating one can of tuna. [Yahoo! News, 5/7/09]

Energy Star: Mercury In CFLs Is Dwarfed By Mercury Emissions From Coal-Fired Electricity. From Energy Star, a program of the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy:

EPA estimates the U.S. is responsible for the release of 103 metric tons of mercury emissions each year. More than half of these emissions come from coal-fired electrical power. Mercury released into the air is the main way that mercury gets into water and bio-accumulates in fish. (Eating fish contaminated with mercury is the main way for humans to be exposed.)

CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury sealed within the glass tubing – an average of 4 milligrams. Because of this, EPA recommends that consumers take advantage of available local recycling options for CFLs. But if the CFL is not recycled and it ends up in a landfill, EPA estimates that  about 11% of the mercury in the CFL is released into air or water, assuming the light bulb is broken. This is because most mercury vapor inside fluorescent light bulbs becomes bound to the inside of the light bulb. Therefore, if all 270 million CFLs sold in 2009 were sent to a landfill (versus recycled, as a worst case) – they would add only 0.12 metric tons, or 0.12%, to U.S. mercury emissions caused by humans. [Energy Star, November 2010]

Consumers Have Other Bulb Options, Not Just CFLs

2007 Energy Bill Has Reportedly Spurred A “Tremendous Amount Of Development.” From a January 24 Philadelphia Inquirer column:

Walk down today’s lighting aisle, and it’s intimidating.

Incandescents. Halogens. CFLs. LEDs. All sizes. All shapes. All colors, from warm white to a crisp bluish tint. And more to come.

So read on for a tour of the ever-burgeoning bulb-land.

“There’s a tremendous amount of development,” said Brian Fortenbery, an energy efficiency lighting expert with the Electric Power Research Institute, a national nonprofit. “It’s not a one-technology game, by any stretch.”

Driving the change is a provision in the Energy Independence and Security Act that Congress passed in 2007, during the George W. Bush administration.

It set energy efficiency standards for lightbulbs, which will begin to phase in come Jan. 1, 2012. [Philadelphia Inquirer, GreenSpace, 1/24/11]

Detroit News: “Stores Feature A Host Of [Bulb] Options That Weren’t There Just A Few Years Ago.” From an article in the Detroit News titled “Consumers have many options for energy-efficient light bulbs”:

Stroll through any store that carries light bulbs these days and you’ll find a host of options that weren’t there just a few years ago. Next to your old incandescent lights, you’ll find twisty-looking compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs, cone-shaped light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs, or stubby-looking halogens, each offering more energy savings than ever before — some by more than 75 percent — while lasting years longer. [Detroit News, 2/13/11]

National Electrical Manufacturers Association: Consumers Can Purchase More Efficient Incandescent Bulbs. From the March 10 Congressional testimony by Kyle Pistor of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, a trade group that Pistor said “represents 15 companies that sell over 95 percent of the light bulbs (lamps) used in the United States.” From Pistor’s testimony:

For example, consumers will still be able to purchase incandescent light bulbs, but instead of using 100 watts for 1600 lumens (brightness), the new advanced. incandescent/halogen bulb only uses 72 watts for the same amount and quality of light. This represents a 28 percent savings in the connected load to the consumer. Similar savings will be achieved for 75 watt, 60 watt, and 40 watt bulbs in the lumen ranges that consumers are used to for those products. These incandescent bulbs can be dimmed just like today’s inefficient bulbs, will fit the same sockets, and have the same shape and feel, and quality of light.

The light appearance of these advanced incandescent/halogen bulbs does not differ from today’s inefficient incandescent bulbs. Because features between newer incandescent/halogen technologies and old incandescent technologies are almost indistinguishable, there is no utility lost in replacing an inefficient incandescent bulb with a more effective incandescent.

If a consumer wants greater savings, they can opt for a compact fluorescent lamp that provides the 1600 lumens (brightness) but uses only 25-26 watts. This represents a 75 percent savings in terms of wattage per bulb to the consumer.Additional advanced lighting products are also entering the marketplace such as high brightness LED bulbs which represent over 75 percent connected- load savings and very long lives. These LED bulbs are already appearing in the market in the lower wattage replacement areas (40 and 60 watt equivalent lumen ranges) today, and with further advancements into the higher lumen ranges in the next few years.

My point is that the EISA 2007 provisions require manufacturers to reduce the electric power a light bulb uses in producing a certain output of light. The energy savings for the nation that EISA 2007’s lighting provisions will generate are substantial, and the opportunity to conserve a substantial amount of energy should not be overlooked. There are and will be a wide variety of light bulb options for consumers, including incandescent/halogen, compact fluorescent, and new advanced technologies like high brightness LED bulbs.Maintaining and expanding consumer choice is a critical aspect of the EISA law. [Testimony before Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, 3/10/11, accessed via Nexis]

Forbes Cites CEI’s Myron Ebell As An “Expert” On Light Bulbs

Ebell Is Not A Scientist, Says He Gives “The Informed Layman’s Perspective.” According to a May 2007 Vanity Fair profile of Myron Ebell:

Though he likes to bash scientists for working outside their degreed fields, Ebell, it turns out, isn’t a scientist at all. He majored in philosophy at the University of California in San Diego, then studied political theory at the London School of Economics and history at Cambridge. He was, he readily admits, a misfit growing up in rural Oregon on his father’s 2,000-acre cattle ranch: a “pointy-headed intellectual” who “loathed the counterculture.” He was a misfit in England, too, he discovered: not smart enough to get a fellowship at Cambridge, as Ebell modestly puts it, and not English enough to make do with the modest pay of an English academic. So he returned–with his Albuquerque-born wife, whom he’d met in England–to the U.S., working a succession of public-policy jobs in Washington, carving out conservative positions on property rights, federal lands, and endangered species. In none of those realms did he have any more than his curiosity and convictions.

“I’m not claiming to be a climate authority–the way Jim Hansen is, or Robert Corell,” says Ebell. “Every interview I do, when I’m asked about scientific issues, I say I’m not a climate scientist. I’m just giving you the informed layman’s perspective…. If science is going to be discussed in the public arena, then shouldn’t people other than scientists be allowed to participate? Isn’t that what a representative democracy is?” [Vanity Fair, May 2007]

Ebell Advised Bush Administration Official On How To Downplay EPA Study On Global Warming. According to The Guardian:

Central to the revelations of double dealing is the discovery of an email sent to Phil Cooney, chief of staff at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, by Myron Ebell, a director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI). The CEI is an ultra-conservative lobby group that has received more than $1 million in donations since 1998 from the oil giant Exxon, which sells Esso petrol in Britain.

The email, dated 3 June 2002, reveals how White House officials wanted the CEI’s help to play down the impact of a report last summer by the government’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in which the US admitted for the first time that humans are contributing to global warming. ‘Thanks for calling and asking for our help,’ Ebell tells Cooney.

The email discusses possible tactics for playing down the report and getting rid of EPA officials, including its then head, Christine Whitman. ‘It seems to me that the folks at the EPA are the obvious fall guys and we would only hope that the fall guy (or gal) should be as high up as possible,’ Ebell wrote in the email. ‘Perhaps tomorrow we will call for Whitman to be fired,’ he added.

The CEI is suing another government climate research body that produced evidence for global warming. The revelation of the email’s contents has prompted demands for an investigation to see if the White House and CEI are co-ordinating the legal attack. [The Guardian, 9/21/03]

UK Parliament Introduced Motion To Censure Ebell For Statements He Made About Britain’s Chief Science Advisor. According to a Vanity Fair profile of Ebell:

Ebell stirred the wrath of the British Parliament by declaring in a BBC radio interview that the U.K.’s chief scientific adviser, Sir David King, had made a “ridiculous claim” on global warming despite knowing “nothing about climate science.” The House of Commons proposed a motion to censure Ebell. (The motion never passed, Ebell says wistfully.) [Vanity Fair, May 2007]


Arizona Revives ‘Birther’ Bill

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 24th, 2011 4:43 am by HL

Arizona Revives ‘Birther’ Bill
Arizona’s ‘birther’ bill is back. Legislators passed a bill out of committee Tuesday that would make presidential candidates provide copies of their birth certificates in order to qualify for the ballot….


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Two Michigan Dems Charged For Alleged Fake Tea Party Scheme
Two ex-leaders of the Oakland County Democratic Party are facing nine felony charges for allegedly committing voter fraud when attempting to get fake tea party candidates on Michigan ballots last November, as a way to pry support away from Republican candidates.


Antarctica TMI: My penguin toilet-training mission & visit to Port Lockroy

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 24th, 2011 4:39 am by HL

Antarctica TMI: My penguin toilet-training mission & visit to Port Lockroy
“And what did you learn from your recent trip to Antarctica?” someone asked me the other day. I learned that penguin colonies smell really bad and that penguins have no indoor plumbing. So I dealt with this problem as best I could — rented a penguin costume, made a toilet-training video for penguins and posted […]


Does Obama Have a Rhetoric Problem?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 24th, 2011 4:38 am by HL

Does Obama Have a Rhetoric Problem?
While President Obama is renowned for his oratory and rhetorical skills, former presidential speechwriter Michael Waldman argues that Obama has yet to master to bully pulpit afforded him by the presidency.

“At times, Obama displayed a surer feel for presidential atmospherics when running for the office than he does while holding it. The Barack Obama who stood in front of those much mocked columns at the Democratic Convention in Denver wouldn’t hesitate to give a big address to the country about what military action he ordered, and why… It isn’t time for some overblown Obama Doctrine. But a clear talk can help steer policy when the next crisis arises, next week or next year.”


8 Unemployed for Every Job Opening: What Are They Supposed to Do Once Their Benefits Run Out?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 24th, 2011 4:37 am by HL

8 Unemployed for Every Job Opening: What Are They Supposed to Do Once Their Benefits Run Out?
Is there any hope of help arriving for the "99ers"?


Bradley Manning Abuse

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 24th, 2011 4:36 am by HL

Bradley Manning Abuse
Kudos to the New York Times for an excellent editorial today calling out the Administration for the abuse of Bradley Manning, the alleged Wikileaks whistleblower. For those of you who have not been following the events, Manning has been held…

Japan’s Earthquake May Shake World Economy
The world is witnessing a horrible tragedy in northern Japan, an earthquake followed by a tsunami and now the risk of a nuclear catastrophe. Even if the nuclear threat can be contained we will still see a humanitarian disaster, with…


Buried Provision In House GOP Bill Would Cut Off Food Stamps To Entire Families If One Member Strikes

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 24th, 2011 4:35 am by HL

Buried Provision In House GOP Bill Would Cut Off Food Stamps To Entire Families If One Member Strikes

All around the country, right-wing legislators are asking middle class Americans to pay for budget deficits caused mainly by a recession caused by Wall Street; they are attacking workers’ collective bargaining rights, which has provoked a huge Main Street Movement to fight back.

Now, a group of House Republicans is launching a new stealth attack against union workers. GOP Reps. Jim Jordan (OH), Tim Scott (SC), Scott Garrett (NJ), Dan Burton (IN), and Louie Gohmert (TX) have introduced H.R. 1135, which states that it is designed to “provide information on total spending on means-tested welfare programs, to provide additional work requirements, and to provide an overall spending limit on means-tested welfare programs.”

Much of the bill is based upon verifying that those who receive food stamps benefits are meeting the federal requirements for doing so. However, one section buried deep within the bill adds a startling new requirement. The bill, if passed, would actually cut off all food stamp benefits to any family where one adult member is engaging in a strike against an employer:

The bill also includes a provision that would exempt households from losing eligibility, “if the household was eligible immediately prior to such strike, however, such family unit shall not receive an increased allotment as the result of a decrease in the income of the striking member or members of the household.”

Yet removing entire families from eligibility while a single adult family member is striking would have a chilling effect on workers who are considering going on strike for better wages, benefits, or working conditions — something that is especially alarming in light of the fact that unions are one of the fundamental building blocks of the middle class that allow people to earn wages that keep them off food stamps.

With a record 42 million Americans on food stamps during these poor economic times, it appears that the right is simply looking for more ways to hurt working class Americans.