Regulation gone wild – Christmas lights are the next target of nanny state thinking

US GOVERNMENT SAY BAH HUMBUG! to Christmas lights

xmas-lights-plugin-griswold

The Comment period ends December 30th on the new regulations that will outlaw affordable Christmas lights including indoor and outdoor lighted decorations of any type. See link below.

From the Washington Times via Gail Combs:

Christmas lights have become so affordable that even the humblest of homes often are lit like the Star of Bethlehem. Federal bureaucrats are working to end this. They claim it will make us safer, but the facts don’t back them up.

It’s not uncommon to find strings of mini-lights priced at $1 for a hundred lights, sometimes even less. To cure this excessive affordability, the feds are rushing to save Americans from mass holiday displays. They seem to believe we all are like Clark Griswold, the bumbling father figure in National Lampoon’s “Christmas Vacation” (played by Chevy Chase), who nearly electrocutes himself, starts fires, falls off the roof and short-circuits power in his whole neighborhood as he tries to create a home display that would outdo Rockefeller Center.

The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) has created an example of regulate first and explain why later. In October they proposed new regulations to outlaw strings of bulbs, lighted lawn figures and similar items that would be declared as hazardous. The red tape deals with certifying wire sizes, fuses, and tensile strength of all “seasonal decorative lighting products.”

This includes Christmas tree lights, lighted wreaths, menorahs, outdoor strands, lawn figures of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, or Santa or Rudolph or Frosty the Snowman. Yes, Kwanzaa, too. CPSC is an equal opportunity Scrooge. The agency estimates that their proposed regulations will impact 100 million items per year with a market value of $500 million.

Of course, those items already are covered by safety regulations and also by industry standards and oversight. CPSC admits that 3.6-million unsafe lights were recalled under existing safeguards in place since 1974.

So what is CPSC’s justification for adding red tape to the red, green, blue, yellow, white and other colored displays? They report 250 deaths from fires or electrocutions by Christmas lights. That’s not 250 deaths per year; it’s 250 deaths since 1980. They had to add together 33 years of statistics to misportray danger.

You can comment here:

http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Regulations-Laws–Standards/Rulemaking/Final-and-Proposed-Rules/Seasonal-and-Decorative-Lighting-Products/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=Final+and+Proposed+Rules

Is there anything left to regulate?

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285 thoughts on “Regulation gone wild – Christmas lights are the next target of nanny state thinking

      • If you have the older style C4 & C9 incandescent outdoor christmas lights, I would recommend going out and buying as many replacement bulbs as possible. This is probably a method of removing those other incandescent bulbs from “wasting Energy” and to enforce transfer to the HIGH cost but energy sipping LED lights

      • After all…Drunk Driving kills many times more people than Christmas Lights and decorations on an annual bais
        “Since the September 11 terror attacks, over 140,000 men women and children have died in America as a result of drunk driving. Laws providing a deterrent are not enough. We need to address the behaviors in our culture that put drunk drivers on the road. It is time to stand up and admit that as a culture, we drink together and LET each other drive away”
        There is a nice hover over map near the bottom of the site that will give you the “per 10,000” designation of DUI arrests by state
        Perhaps those nasty polluting cars should be removed from society /sarc

  1. Sorry, but I have to say this even if it gets banned – HORSESHIT.
    Our town is called the Christmas capital of the country. We have more lights per capita than any other city. I personally have 15k, and I am not even on the Tacky light tour!
    Yes, the lights cost, as does the energy (my bill usually spikes about 250-300% for the 6 weeks they are up). But when I get a “wow” from my grand children, it makes all the cost and effort worthwhile.
    And that is why I do it. It is not religious, it is for the children, literally. I do mine mostly with the natural features (I only have 3 deer and one fake tree). I light the trees, the house the driveway, the bushes etc.
    I will be a lawbreaker if Obama has his way. This is sheer stupidity, but not unexpected.

    • But when I get a “wow” from my grand children…

      It is that unquantifiable factor of unadulterated joy that the nanny-fussbuckets that have taken over our governments do not, and cannot, understand. This is why they wish to stop us doing anything that we might find enjoyable. I just wish they could apply the same principles to themselves – they find their constant interference with our lives so enjoyable, they should punish themselves by curtailing it.

      • I think it was Mencken who said that the definition of puritanism is the absolute fear that somewhere, someone, is having a good time.

    • Fill up your rooms with as many lights as you want, but do not use excessive lighting outdoors and make sure nothing is directed where nothing needs to be illuminated. Otherwise you make a statement visible miles away that here lives an idiot who cares nothing about light pollution, astronomy or natural science in general.

      • Light pollution? YOU do realize by far most of the planet is uninhabited, then another great portion only sparsely populated, and only a small bit densely populated. Since you feel free to tell people what they can do with their holiday lights, I feel perfectly free to tell you to get off our arse and go someplace more amicable to star gazing.

      • Gosh Steiner, you make the Consumer Products Safety Commission sound cheerful! When it comes to outdoor lighting and statements, I’ll prefer to make mine (again) by burning the ol’ Christmas lights (and every other incandescent bulb mounted on the outside of my house) brightly on Saturday, March 28, 2015 from 8:30 to 9:30 pm.

      • We have more trees than we can handle, so my lights are not visible from miles away. Nor would it matter since I am on the outskirts of a major metropolitan area, so the light pollution would exist with or without my contribution.
        You are free to be the idiot. I prefer creating beauty for my grand kids.

      • Exactly, it is nice to have Christmas lights, but unfortunately the local town’s street lights are ugly yellow, burn all night through and give their light much horizontally to eyes, empty sky, and my yard which I didn’t ask for.
        Light pollution is exactly the right word for this. Long winter nights make it even worse. I feel like living in CCCP under party rule.

      • “Otherwise you make a statement visible miles away that here lives an idiot who cares nothing about light pollution, astronomy or natural science in general.”
        Can you name 14 people that care? I don’t like “light pollution” either but I’m not willing to go full Communist to have it “my way”.

      • LOL
        Oops, you aren’t joking? Then I have to ask, are you always stumbling around in the dark?
        Anyway, thanks for the laugh and I will promise you right now, I will keep my light pollution and carbon footprint below Al Gore, the UN kid spokesman Leo Whatshisname, and Barrack Obama’s.

    • I wish I could count high enough to enumerate the times Democrats have rationalized their petty tyrannies with the claim “I’ts for the children!” Ghandi had the right of it – protest unjust laws with civil disobedience. Complying only encourages them.

  2. The cathedral in Bern is no longer lit at night in order to save the planet. (Bern city is ruled by a red-green government).
    Kurt in Switzerland

  3. What a crock. As explained in the notice, they are codifying a longstanding UL standard, UL 588.
    “…three electrical safety characteristics for seasonal and decorative lighting products have been addressed in a voluntary standard, Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Standard for Safety for Seasonal and Holiday Decorative Products, UL 588, 18th Edition, approved on August 21, 2000 (UL 588).”
    Don’t believe everything the right wing nuts tell you. Oh, wait…

    • so you are pointing out that the right wing nuts are telling you exactly what is happening … seems like you are the nut here …

    • It’s voluntary this year. There is no telling when the EPA will decide it needs to be not voluntary, like everything else they have poked their noses into. After all, they need to save the planet before it dies from over electrification.

    • If it works, why federalize it and add all that bureaucracy, cost, and inflexibility for no visible benefit.
      Oh yea, to the fascist set, nothing works right until it is run by govt.

    • Not being able to read the original document and seeing your post (Rattus Norvegicus) I have to wonder if this is just an enforcement of UL standards relating to unsafe electrical products. A lot of products sold in the US (and Canada) do NOT meet UL (CSA or ULc in Canada) standards and as such can indeed be potentially unsafe for the average consumer or their children. If it is reasonable electrical safety they are trying to enforce I see no real problem with that. Do you want to be electrocuted by shoddily built lighting? I don’t, nor do I want my children or grandchildren at risk.
      Some government regulation is essential otherwise you get similar situations as what happened in China where unscrupulous manufacturers contaminated children’s milk products with a toxic substance and sold it as safe – poisoned 50,000+ kids (and killed a few) before they got caught. WHO: A spokesman said the scale of the problem proved it was “clearly not an isolated accident, [but] a large-scale intentional activity to deceive consumers for simple, basic, short-term profits.”
      The question is how much government regulation do people want – that is where the people can decide by voting or polls, etc. If you want to be at the risk of any sociopath manufacturer then vote for no regulations. If you want a nanny state then vote for the greens, if you want something in between then vote accordingly.

      • While I accept what you are saying – who is to know if one day shoddy Chinese lights come in that suddenly become far less reliable than the ones they currently sell for peanuts (although it is far more likely they will simply up the prices and replacements won’t happen frequently enough) – it is dangerous to understand all bureaucratic action by logic and reasonableness, to, in short, give it a purpose it may not have. This cuts both ways – where we project onto bureaucrats fears which are based on false assumptions about evil motives. The point is, for each move, we have to understand why they are proposing it. That can only reasonably be done by creating transparency about their deliberations.

    • And now they will have to hire x number of burrowcraps to enforce. And Y number of new IRS schmucks to steal the money to pay them.

  4. From Counting All U.S. Government’s Regulations

    In 1997, there were 834,949 instances of the words “may not”, “must”, “prohibited”, “required” and “shall” in the Federal Register, which coincide with each single rule implemented by the U.S. federal government.
    By 2010, that number had risen to 1,001,153, an increase of 16.6% in 13 years. Or if you prefer, an average rate of increase of 12,808 per year.
    For the preceding 208 years, going back to 1789, the average rate of increase of regulations in the U.S. was just 4,013 per year.

    Methinks we have too many gov’ment regulators.

    • I was watching a TV programme made by D’Souza. It featured an interview with an attorney called Harvey Silverglate. He says that the average engaged American commits “Three Felonies a Day” whether they know it or not. This maybe the effect of over-regulation and the constant need to pass laws to make Americans ‘safer’ but less free?
      http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/10/you-break-the-law-every-day-without-even-knowing-it.html
      http://www.threefeloniesaday.com/Youtoo/tabid/86/Default.aspx
      http://www.amazon.com/Three-Felonies-Day-Target-Innocent/dp/1594035229

      • In “Atlas Shrugged” the rationale was so that the Government knew you’re always guilty of something. Saves a lot of time when you want to round up someone special.

      • Way back in 1968, at the University of Arizona, we had the ‘Break a law a day’ club. The point was to find innocuous, out of date or ridiculous laws and then break these in public. This took a bit of creativity on our part.

      • Emsnews: it doesn’t take much creativity today. Just put your prescription pills in a daily-reminder pill case, for example. When little old ladies become a problem, the government already has a legal way to arrest them.

    • Here is an eye opener on US Federal laws. It’s not surprising that an actively engaged US adult can commit 3 felonies a day. Even if it were only 1 a week that’s just over 50 felonies a year!

      We Won’t Always Know When We Have Something To Hide
      As James Duane, a professor at Regent Law School and former defense attorney, notes in his excellent lecture on why it is never a good idea to talk to the police:

      Estimates of the current size of the body of federal criminal law vary. It has been reported that the Congressional Research Service cannot even count the current number of federal crimes. These laws are scattered in over 50 titles of the United States Code, encompassing roughly 27,000 pages. Worse yet, the statutory code sections often incorporate, by reference, the provisions and sanctions of administrative regulations promulgated by various regulatory agencies under congressional authorization. Estimates of how many such regulations exist are even less well settled, but the ABA thinks there are ”nearly 10,000.”

      If the federal government can’t even count how many laws there are, what chance does an individual have of being certain that they are not acting in violation of one of them?
      As Supreme Court Justice Breyer elaborates:

      The complexity of modern federal criminal law, codified in several thousand sections of the United States Code and the virtually infinite variety of factual circumstances that might trigger an investigation into a possible violation of the law, make it difficult for anyone to know, in advance, just when a particular set of statements might later appear (to a prosecutor) to be relevant to some such investigation.

    • Here is an example of how easy it is to break the US law.

      For instance, did you know that it is a federal crime to be in possession of a lobster under a certain size? It doesn’t matter if you bought it at a grocery store, if someone else gave it to you, if it’s dead or alive, if you found it after it died of natural causes, or even if you killed it while acting in self defense. You can go to jail because of a lobster.
      http://www.wired.com/2013/06/why-i-have-nothing-to-hide-is-the-wrong-way-to-think-about-surveillance/

      • Jimbo,
        When I was in engineering back in the early ’60’s my roommate for one summer school was in law school. One afternoon after class and at least one pitcher of beer we started a bar discussion on out-dated laws and who could come up with the most ridiculous. He won. It was, and still as far as I know, against state law to jump over the oak trees on the state house lawn. These trees were at least 60 feet tall even back then.
        The job of legislators is to legislate. They interpret this as making new laws, not eliminating old, out of date or no longer applicable ones. The job of regulators is to issue regulations. No one gets judged or paid for eliminating old, out of date or no longer applicable ones.
        Our main problem is too many legislators with too much time on their hands, and too many regulators. A second, almost as important problem is that way too many of us bitch and complain way too much. Both legislators and regulators, tired of getting bitched at by their citizens, continually write laws and regulations in an attempt to silence the cacophony. So, both directly and indirectly, we the voters are responsible for this mess.

      • Don’t forget about the Lacey Act, which makes it a federal crime to be in possession of goods which are illegal anywhere! That’s the law which was used to raid Gibson Guitars a few years ago — because they might have been in possession of wood which the Indian government regulates the thickness of.

      • @Joe Crawford,
        Yeah, and where were the regulators that really counted after the FBI testified in open testimony before the House or Senate in September 2004 that there was an “epidemic of mortgage fraud?” And they said it amounted to 90% of all mortgages. it wasn’t the mortgagee that was the crook. It was the mortgager, the banker, who was committing “control fraud,” a white collar crime regulator’s term for ‘fraud by those in control’, the CEO. Since mortgage banks are NOT regulated under the federal bank charter, the only group that does regulate them is the NY Fed…by law. Except Timmy Geithner, as Prez of the NY Fed at the time, denied it was his responsibility to regulate the mortgage bank crooks even after a public warning by the FBI.
        http://www.cnn.com/2004/LAW/09/17/mortgage.fraud/

      • There is just no end to the world’s problems. Almost 2000 years ago, the Roman Emperor issued a law limiting the number of slaves to be freed at Christmas, sorry, Saturnalia, to max. 100 per household. The rich and mighty had started to compete about who was the most benevolent, resulting in a lack of slave-power.

      • Undersized lobsters are real bastards, they have complexes and try to compensate by aggresive behaviour. Fruit freaks are not nice either.

      • It’s not just old outdated laws but modern, fresh laws that can be a problem. You are right that people are also to blame as they moan and bitch about a lot.

        As Criminal Laws Proliferate, More Are Ensnared
        Many of the new federal laws also set a lower bar for conviction than in the past: Prosecutors don’t necessarily need to show that the defendant had criminal intent…….
        A lobster importer is convicted in the U.S. for violating a Honduran law that the Honduran government disavowed.
        http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748703749504576172714184601654

        Know your lobster laws and regulations in Maine
        http://www.maine.gov/dmr/rm/lobster/guide/#laws

    • To paraphrase Jefferson, the tree of liberty must be watered from time to time with the blood of regulators.

    • Around 1995 I asked my accountant about a superannuation problem I was having, he informed me to see a specialist because that he didn’t get involved in superannuation any more as the Australian Government was making 2,000 changes per year.

  5. I’m honestly tired of bureaucrats making me safer. I don’t want to be safer all the time. I have my wife for that.

    • Don’t you love the way they fill the page with US land? Makes it look like a big deal. However, in terms of energy use, which derives from a model, holiday lighting spikes would not show up at all in the overall energy use data. That NASA spent any money at all on this joke highlights the decided lack of statistical training these idiots have.

  6. Oh Yay! Soon, I’ll be able to trapeze around the neighborhood on some of them thar high-tensile-strength “Holiday lights”, hollering the praises of Nanny on High. Deck the halls with Bows of Folly, WT fa, la la, la la, la (cough) la.

  7. Is there anything left to regulate?
    Sure. Anthony Watts, for one.
    I’d say it is time to regulate the Regulators, but is just drinking the Kool-Aid that regulators have any constitutional authority at all.
    Regulators must be reduced to Executive Branch advisors to Congress, the only Constitutional law making body. The CPSC can write all the regulations they want, but they should have no effect until approved by the elected members of both Houses of Congress.

    • I’ll go one further. Any “Public Comment Period” ought to begin and end with separate Congressional Hearings.
      The current practice of faux kangaroo-court vested interest “public hearings” whose content can be ignored at will devoid of any required oversight by elected representatives is a Constitutional abomination.
      What? There are too many regulations for Congress to possibly keep up? That is precisely the point. If Congress can’t keep up with the thousands of regulations per month, then how can any of us?

      • “If Congress can’t keep up with the thousands of regulations per month, then how can any of us??
        =====================================
        Congress only has time to listen to the lobbyists, they do not have time to actually read the laws they pass, let alone the laws all the federal agencies create.

      • @David A.
        At least every two years we have the opportunity to fire our Representatives.
        Not so with Civil Service or Political Appointees.
        And if you want to quibble about the six year term in the Senate, I’m for repeal of the 17th Amendment (direct election of Senators), return the U.S. Senators to being elected by their state legislatures, removal of any term, and make U.S. Senators subject removal at will by my a majority of the State Legislatures.
        Accountability in Washington is sadly lacking. 6 year Senator terms don’t help.

      • Yes, exactly!
        The 17th Amendment effectively cut the ties between States and Senators. Now Senators are party functionaries. If the Democrat party, for example, instructs a Democrat Senator to support a proposed law, it does not matter if the law is bad for that State. The Senator is beholden to their party [if the Senator refuses, the party can exert enormous presure through withholding financial support, and through the use of seniority rules, while all the voters can do is wait up to six years for the next election].
        The 17th A was passed with the usual rabble-rousing cry for ‘democracy’, which as usual resulted in less democracy: instead of representing their State, now Senators represent only their political party.
        This is the United STATES, not the ‘united feds’. At least it was, until the 17th Amendment was ratified.

      • Dbstealey and Stephen Rasey: The selection of Senators by state legislatures was an important part of the check-and-balances in the Constitution. Too many people don’t even realize that the federal government was created by an agreement between the several states. Now the state is simply a lackey for the feds to use to collect ‘state’ taxes to pay for federally mandated programs.

    • Aha, Watts? The name itself sounds like reckless spending of energy. Watch out for a Regulator cutting the out the s.

  8. What you didn’t post was that the rate decreased significantly over that time before 1993 about 13 people per year died, since 2007 the average is one per year.
    Seems like private industry has already solved the problem, without the need of government interference.

  9. This looks to me like one of a number of piecemeal steps to ban Christmas without imposing an outright ban.
    Like one of the posters above said, if this goes through, I’m going to break the effing law just because.
    Screw these control freaks (leftists).

    • You can bet money that if the gov’t tries to go too far with this notion, that Griswold- type displays will pop up all over the place.

    • The problem is they will not allow the manufacture of these products and hence you will be unable to buy them. They take your choice to buy away and your freedom is thus diminished.

      • Normally I would say it was time for a road trip to Mexico were something like this to happen, but that is rather dangerous right now.

      • Big Lots has ’em at half price right now. I’ll stock up on the same trip to town when I get ammo from the Farm&Home Center

  10. I wonder how many people have died over the year trying to put their clothes on! Maybe we should outlaw all forms of clothing that have been directly or indirectly the cause of deaths!!

  11. And what do they propose to do about horses, bees, lightning, food and drink?
    On average, 90 people are killed every year in the U.S. by lightning.
    And from Newsweek (http://www.newsweek.com/afraid-ebola-here-are-10-things-more-likely-kill-you-263093)
    The most recent statistics show that 54 Americans died from bee stings in 2000.
    But 3,000 people die every year from food poisoning.
    Over 100 people die every year from “equestrian related activities”
    Around 88,000 American deaths every year are attributable to excessive alcohol use, according to the CDC. Between 2006 and 2010, more than 1,000 Americans partied so hard that they got drunk and set themselves on fire.

      • Here’s a tip for the regulators: candles.
        Burning candles actually contributes to increased carbon dioxide emissions. Most are paraffin wax – pure hydrocarbon – It’s a heavy alkane fraction distilled from crude oil.
        So when you can’t afford the heating or lighting, they’ll make sure you can’t even find granny’s frozen corpse in the dark.

    • Good points, all, Duncan. But 3000 fatalities per year from food poisoning?! That is absolutely unacceptable! There should be a law making it a felony to consume contaminated food!

    • Between 2006 and 2010, more than 1,000 Americans partied so hard that they got drunk and set themselves on fire.

      That’s called Natural Selection via Stupidity. Darwin Award winners.

      • One hopes Congress and the White House will be buried in 20 feet of snow each year so that their folly is on full display. Starting this year will be soon enough. There are a few days left. I can dream. Oh well.

    • Louis, please help so many WUWT regulars here (like me) by explaining how you embed a relevant photo image or diagram into your comment? Gail Combs also manages to do the same (see below). Thank you.

      • GeeJam – a simple Google search for “embed image ” pulled up some references, here is one on how to do that – Instruction 3: Insert the HTML code in the text where you want the image to appear as follows: “.” Here is an example for an image with the address “http://www.mydomain.com/images/img.jpg”: . Note that this is just an example—this is not a real image.
        Here is a real image:
        Swiped that from the WUWT Solar page, but that is actually from NASA…
        For more tricks read up on HTML coding, there are simple things you can do like BOLD, ITALICS, STRIKE THROUGH and so on.

      • OK, WordPress not allowing one to preview posts lets one make easy mistakes. To add an image you need to use the following format (which can be enhanced for extra features such as size of image, etc.)
        So the image I was trying to demo was this one from WUWT Solar Page showing the sun:
        Hope it worked this time!

      • Well, obviously I don’t know how to add an image to WordPress(yet), what works on my web sites doesn’t work here. I guess we have to read up on posting images in WordPress. Sorry to waste time…

      • Played around on the “Test” page (where I should have first!) and posted :
        OK, I think I have figured out the preliminary rules for adding an image to your WordPress posting on WUWT:
        1) the link must be the raw html link in the format -(delete the spaces)- http : // link . jpg (gif/etc.)
        2) the link must be on a fresh line with no hidden characters – edit in raw text is best
        3) there must not be anything else on the line that the link is on.
        4) the image is in the size it was originally – there doesn’t appear to be a way to change that at this time.
        5) happy trails to you!
        http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Destination-moon-luna_8877.jpg

      • Very grateful for your efforts John. Yes, your solution may work when grabbing an existing photo from a web source. I was thinking more along the lines of importing relevant JPEG photos, images and graphics from my own directories filed on my hard drive. I guess WordPress discourages this due to server memory limitations. I’ll keep persevering. WUWT tips and notes have always related to submitting a complete article with images – but not adding images to comments in threads.
        PS I know how to resample images to size and dpi resolution.

      • GeeJam, if you want to put a picture in your posting you have to host it online somewhere. If you have your own website then that is trivial, otherwise you need to use some picture hosting site.
        The problem I found with WordPress (WUWT’s version) is there is no way to change the size of the image – so, make the image you host the size you want in your posting. I suspect if the picture is oversize it will scale it down, but if you want to test that I suggest you use the “Test” area as I finally did to play with image handling. I hope someone figures out how to resize the images when added to the post, it would also be nice to be able to put some side by side, etc. – this may happen already if the images are small, but again I haven’t tried that.
        Most WordPress sites give you an Edit window to work in (I suspect cleverer folks use off-line editors to create their posts), then you can do all the HTML magic you want – near as I can tell WUWT hasn’t had the time (or resources) to implement that – it is a volunteer organization after all, not funded by anyone but some nice small donors and Mr. Watts’ own pocket.

  12. Actually there is no”electrocution”. The word,refers to,the state sanctioned use of electricity to put to death someone so sentenced. I am unaware of any jurisdiction that uses Christmas lights to electrocute someone.

    • I’m sorry Gustav, but if we’re going to derail the conversation with this kind of pedantry (and that isn’t intended as a slap in the face to you), then I’m forced to jump in and point out that three online dictionaries offer definitions that disagree with you. The Oxford Dictionaries even offer as an example of the use of the word “electrocute”, ‘a man was electrocuted when he switched on the Christmas tree lights’. Execution *is* included as a possible definition, but not an exclusive definition. The only consistency in all definitions is the use of the word to connote fatality — and even *that* seems to be expanding to informal usages such as “I electrocuted myself on those damned Christmas lights!”
      Language doth evolve.

    • You can have my Christmas lights when pry them out of my cold, dead fingers and then untangle them.

      • Yep, an untangled, (and lighted), string of Christmas lights are off-limits for your normal thug, or else they inherit the mess themselves 🙂

  13. The cited URL for leaving comments with the CPSC doesn’t work. There are supposed to be two dashes after “Laws” – think the posting software converted that to one long dash (don’t remember if that’s and em dash or an en dash).

  14. Well folks, this is just another example of the fact that the state is pure aggression. It seeks in all manner to control you. Power is the greatest addiction and the state’s power is like pure crack cocaine. We radical libertarians have been trying to tell people for a long time that all government will become tyranny sooner or later. Some classes of people feel the heel of the boot before others; but all will feel it sooner or later.
    As I pointed out in a post once, George Orwell explained the state very well as he had an ‘inner party member’ tell Winston Smith “why”.
    ——————-
    Winston Smith was a party member but he was not one of the Inner Party. Rather he was a member of the Outer Party just as most of our federal bureaucrats today are not part of the ruling elite of our own Empire. At one point he says to an Inner Party member, “I understand how, but I don’t understand why.” He wanted to know why the Party did all those immoral and rotted things.
    One of its leaders explains:

    “The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others were cowards and hypocrites. They never had the courage to recognize their motives. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. How does one man assert his power over another? By making him suffer. Unless he is suffering, how can you be sure that he is obeying your will and not his own? Power is in inflicting pain and humiliation. Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing. In our world, there will be no emotions except fear, rage, triumph, and self-abasement – a world of fear and treachery and torment. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever.” ~1984

    Orwell captured the essential nature of the State perfectly in this speech by the party member to Winston Smith. Far too many people in the modern age have watched the American Empire start endless wars and grow ever more tyrannical without allowing themselves to ask the question: “why“?
    ———————-
    from: http://markstoval.wordpress.com/2013/07/17/the-state-answers-winston-smith/

    • And then there’s this:
      Did you really think we want those laws observed?” said Dr. Ferris. “We want them to be broken! You’d better get it straight that it’s not a bunch of boy scouts you’re up against… We’re after power and we mean it… There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now that’s the system, Mr. Reardon, that’s the game, and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with.
      ~Atlas Shrugged

  15. I wonder what Gail Combs thinks on this question: Does responding to the CPSC validate the use of that bureaucracy to pass these sweeping regulations?
    Would it be better to contact Congress?
    Thanks Gail.

    • It does not matter what I think what matters is the US Supreme Court and they ruled that as long as there was a comment period Regulations are LAW. (Can’t find the link I looked at years ago.)
      Once a course is set by the powers in D.C. it doesn’t matter what the peons want. You WILL end up with the reg even if they have to change the name.
      NAIS (National Animal Identification System) when it was proposed not only got over 5,000 comments (an unheard of number.) 99% were HE!! NO!! (And yes I did read them) So the USDA rewrote it and got another HE!! NO!! despite pulling some underhanded tricks trying to hide the comment period. Seems the third time is the charm. So we now have Animal Disease Traceability instead of NAIS. Same reg different name but “The will of the People” prevailed and the USDA ‘listened to our concerns” and shafted us anyway.
      It took them over 10 years to get the farm regulation the UN and the World Trade Organization wanted passed. (The WTO and UN wrote the draft of the bill.) It finally passed as “the Food Safety Modernization Act” during the lame duck session Christmas time 2010. (It started out as a bill promoted by a democrat, Rosa DeLauro and ended up as a bill sponsored by a republican, Robert Burr.)
      How many years have we been fighting CAGW? Was the defeat of The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (the Waxman-Markey Bill) enough to Kill the beast? Or are we still having to try to stamp out a ridiculous idea that will crash our economy and hand control of world economics to China. An idea that has killed 10s of thousands or more and dealt a deathblow to the EU economy.
      I find the older I get and the more I learn about the US government the more I find myself in agreement with Mark Stoval.

      • Yes ma’am, I believe the federal bureaucracies involved in regulating agriculture, energy, and education are now very nearly directly controlled by foreign interests. The majority of UN member states are not economically, politically, or religiously free.
        Inre US gov’t – there are not a lot of open societies that are able to withstand treachery and betrayal to foreign interests from within.

  16. I provided the following comment to the Federal site:
    http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=CPSC-2014-0024-0001
    From your own analysis of this proposed regulation, this regulation will serve no meaningful purpose.
    From the proposed regulation:
    “As detailed in this notice, the Commission determines preliminarily that:
    Minimum wire size, sufficient strain relief, and overcurrent protection are all readily observable characteristics of seasonal and decorative lighting products;
    these three readily observable characteristics are addressed by a voluntary standard, UL 588;
    conformance to UL 588 has been effective in reducing the risk of injury from shock and fire associated with these readily observable characteristics; and
    seasonal and decorative lighting products sold in the United States substantially comply with UL 588.”
    The analysis concludes that the subject light products already substantially conform the UL 588, and that risk of injury and fire has substantially decreased over the past 30 years. Why then are you suggesting this regulation? This is yet another example of regulation just because….
    We have a serious national debt issue, and hundreds of thousands of pages of regulations, very likely most of which serve no substantial purpose except to encumber our economy with pointless regulatory burden.
    Please direct your attention to issues where is can be unequivocally shown would actually result increased public safety with efficient requirements.
    This proposed regulation is a waste of tax payers dollars.

  17. When Christmas lights are outlawed only outlaws will have Christmas lights.
    But, you can’t defend your family with Christmas lights.

  18. If I’m not mistaken, wasn’t Carter the first to turn out the lights at Christmas?
    (Carter always struck me as someone who would make a great neighbor. But he was a lousy President.)

  19. Ironically, a giant light bulb will feature on the Sydney Harbour Bridge to welcome in the new year.
    Is this a ‘spit in the face’ for Obama after his embarrassing put down at the G20?

    • No the Banking industry is the most regulate industry in this country. It been that way since the 1930s. When I started the in banking a a compute tech, twenty and yes our work is check at least once every two years generally by morons. They do not pay well enough so they end up with people who are happy with the paperwork, it irrelevant that what you are doing makes and sense since they would not know if it did or not, just as long as you have the paper work done the way they want it done! Seem to me when I started over twenty years ago the binders of Fed regulations use to take up four feet of desk space now it is over twelve. Chris you oblivis don’t know the sad joke called Dodd Frank, not only does it create more regulation it also move oversight away from congress, so not there is no oversight and it was basically a pay off to the big banks since they can better afford to cop with it regulations, small community banks are the ones that law was design to get rid over after all the big banks cannot have too much outside competition. That not the sadist part of the bad joke called Dodd Frank, the joke is that the primary architects of the bank meltdown in 2008 were Fannie and Freddie and since Dodd and Frank had fought for years against regulation them the quasi government home loan organizations, the Dodd Frank bill does nothing to regulate them.

      • @ James the Elder “The banks are doing exactly what the politicians want.”
        With respect, sir, you sure it’s not the other way ’round instead…
        …or maybe as well?

  20. In 1972 when the agency was created, it had a budget of $34.7 million and 786 staff members. By 2008 it had 401 employees on a budget of $43 million, but the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act passed in 2008 increases funding $136.4 million in 2014 with full-time employees to at least 500 by 2013

  21. “The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) has created an example of regulate first and explain why later. In October they proposed new regulations to outlaw strings of bulbs, lighted lawn figures and similar items that would be declared as hazardous. The red tape deals with certifying wire sizes, fuses, and tensile strength of all “seasonal decorative lighting products.””

    This is difficult for younger people to comprehend. Young people are easily convinced that using the government to raise the minimum wage, or put ID stamps on every single egg (!), or increasingly regulate food at every stage is just a little trifle. It isn’t. Young people do not see the harm in red tape; they have no reference point or experiences to warn them of death by red tape, or “death by a thousand cuts.”
    In the end, these regulations and “red tape” result in a huge layer of bureaucracy and higher expenses. This then makes running a business extraordinarily difficult, because of regulatory mazes, tax law, and unnavigable environmental rules. Extra lawyers are needed to simply comply with all the regulations, and examples of selective and vicious enforcement are already plentiful. Small competitors to larger suppliers are easily drowned by red tape. Perhaps even a child can understand that increasing red tape and environmental regulations only helps the Large Businesses favored by the government, and greatly decreases choices.

  22. Can we also get the opinion of the CSPA before we rush to conclusions?
    Is WUWT even a science blog anymore, it seems like nowadays it would have a better fit in the politics section of whatever wordpress blog directory is out there. It’s very disappointing to see that the skeptical side has lowered themselves to the same level of name-calling and ad-hom statements as the warmists (and who knows, the climate could remain stable which would disappoint both sides).

    • Adam:
      ??????
      I went and reread the comments because I do not have a clue what you’re ranting about.
      No ad-homs.
      No name calling.
      Perhaps you have some other understanding of what constitutes ad-hominems or name calling? Or were you referring to the very generalized adjectives leftist, conservatives, right, peasant?
      Or maybe the descriptive noun Congress; now that one can be insulting.
      Anyway, I suggest you actually read the thread before vilifying people in a general manner.

    • Everything can, and in the eyes of legislators and bureaucrats, MUST be regulated. It’s what they do. Length of shoe laces? Strength of coffee? CO2 in the atmosphere? Height of the oceans?

    • Adam, there is ONE (1) death a year.
      Consider the fact that most towns will not install a traffic light at an intersection until there are a certain number of deaths. You won’t find that written any where but it was the point blank reason given to me and the lady who hit me after my car was totaled at a blind four way stop with one of the stop signs over grown with tree branches.
      You seem to think people must be completely wrapped in regulations ‘For their own good.’ Where the heck is it going to stop?
      This is the size of regulations written in 2013. Have you read all 800,000 pages? Are you ready to comply with each one?
      http://imgur.com/48tp5Jg

      • The small stack of papers on top of the book case are the laws passed by our elected officials. The three large stacks are the regulations written in 2013 by unelected bureaucrats.
        You are required to have read and understood all that paper and comply with it. Not to mention all the similar stacks going back over 200 years.

      • … and under our system of jurisprudence, ignorance of the law is no defense so saying “I didn’t know it was illegal as I only read to page 72,123, paragraph 37 in the Register” doesn’t cut it. Not to mention the fact that a fair percentage of those regulations contradict each other… Catch 22. Actually, I would defy anyone to go through a normal day and not somehow violate some Federal rule or regulation. Most people are in constant violation.

      • I’ve read that some Euro towns have done away with traffic controls, and the accident rate plummeted. When you know you could die at the next intersection, you do tend to look.

      • Lawyers, Politicians and Judges are permitted to be Ignorant of the existence and meaning of laws. An exclusion that they claim every day. And like all mental incompetents can not be held responsible for their actions. pg

      • nielszoo
        December 28, 2014 at 4:05 pm
        “Actually, I would defy anyone to go through a normal day and not somehow violate some Federal rule or regulation. Most people are in constant violation.”
        Yes, but look at the bright side: It’s getting harder and harder for your bureaucrats to find out.

      • That stack of paper may look like a lot of laws and regulations — but it is not. The fact is, there is only ONE law, and it is one that Mao Tse-Tung wrote: “Political power flows from the muzzle of a gun.”
        I wish it were not so, but the law today is whatever the most powerful gang says it is, and today, the most powerful gang is based in Washington, D.C.
        If you do not believe me, find someone, anyone, who has been recently caught up with any serious charge in the judiciary system. Ask them whether the rule of law and the search for justice is still taking place. Ask them.

    • If we are to use the opinion of the CSPA then extension cords will be banned, hammers will be banned, screwdrivers will be banned, any and all knives will be banned, ladders will be banned, cars will be banned etc. as each and every one of those things has killed more people per year than Christmas light strings.
      By the way they have had integral fuses installed in them for decades by the manufacturers who, in the interest of safety, started making better products back in the 1970’s. The CSPA is about 40 years behind the curve and getting further behind with the advent of LED lighting. You used to be able to string 3 sets of lights end to end before you went over the current limit for the small lights, something like 5 amperes at 120vac. The new lights my wife got at Walgreens, (UL listed and only couple of dollars) recommended not putting more than 45 sets together. They’re drawing miniscule amounts of current now and are safer than ever… all due to the manufacturer’s desire to create a better product without government interference.

      • In addition, Led lights generally run from 12 or 24 volts. Not much chance of electrocution there.
        Maybe the problem is being strangled by the wires when you fall off the ladder; whilst three sheets to the wind.

    • Adam, I see your point. But ad-hom is a bit over the top here at least, can’t see anyone coming near the SkS standards. A critical look at authorities is never a bad thing. And in the holiday season a bit of light entertainment is surely acceptable?

  23. I don’t see they are trying to ban Christmas lights. It could be that they find some cheep and possibly dangerous China produced lights that actually could pose a danger. Without regulation, they can’t stop crappy dangerous products from being sold. This is the problem. Without some regulative rules, if someone gets lit up (electrified or Christmas tree catches fire) by their Christmas lights because of faulty cheep wiring, there is no way to sue the product maker. It may not be consumers who pushed this but insurance companies who want the light makers to pay the damages caused by faulty lights. It may not just be about deaths but the cost of fires. It might be good to question who pushed for the regulations.

    • That is a problem with CFLs from China, which are known to leak and spontaneously combust. Yet they are the result of mandates against incandescent bulbs!
      That is another example of passing environmental laws against products that are safe and work, which people buy voluntarily. It results in expensive products, inferior in performance, and often genuinely toxic or totally unreliable.

      • “That is another example of passing environmental laws against products that are safe and work, which people buy voluntarily. It results in expensive products, inferior in performance, and often genuinely toxic or totally unreliable.”
        My mother (God rest her soul) said it best: “God protect me from my friends, I can protect myself from my enemies”.

  24. “It’s very disappointing to see that the skeptical side has lowered themselves to the same level of name-calling and ad-hom statements as the warmists…”
    This is nothing. But you had better not look, because someone might eventually say something “uncivil” about regulating Christmas lights (and our cultural celebration of Christmas) out of existence. You may want to avert your eyes for the rest of the day.

    • I’ve been reading this blog since the interesting posts on how to measure surface temperatures, the ratio of science-based to politically-based articles was much higher back then and it was more pleasant to read.
      If this blog loses all sense of the moral high ground, it will become that much harder to rebuff the critics, as they can now use the “hey pot, meet kettle” argument (if it’s not already there that is).

      • I believe AW has been receiving this exact same advice for the last 5 years. But I am sure he appreciates all the advice he can get on how to run a highly informative and wonderful blog.

      • But you have to admit, reading a couple of these noop posts every now and then sure gives a good laugh. I think everyone seems to be a bit punch-drunk this far into the holidays.

      • Whatever made you think any of this had anything to do with the “moral high ground” ?
        Personally, I’m just having fun.
        So, thank you.

      • We heard you the first time…
        Do you actually think that the advocates of ever- increasing bureaucratic power over our lives are occupying the moral high ground?

  25. The proposal is sorely lacking comments; they could certainly use a few more.
    This CPSC page will get you to where a comment button is available.
    I left the following. Not that the governmental rule making bodies have ever paid my comments any real attention:

    “I find this notice and proposal of rule(s) to:
    “… issue a rule under section 15(j) of the CPSA, 15 U.S.C. 2064(j), that would amend the substantial product hazard list in 16 CFR part 1120 (part 1120). The substantial product hazard list in part 1120 would be amended to add three readily observable characteristics of seasonal and decorative lighting products: (1) Minimum wire size; (2) sufficient strain relief; and (3) overcurrent protection…”.
    absurd and ridiculous.
    The current guide is the use of “Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Standard for Safety for Seasonal and Holiday Decorative Products, UL 588” current updated version to the season/year needed.
    Codifying this guide is a waste of Government resources and another red tape burden to industry.
    A product that causes or incurs maybe one (1) death per year for over a decade is NOT a substantial product hazard. Nor or they even a moderate product hazard.
    Cancel and refrain from codifying this practicable and universally recognized Underwriters Laboratories (UL) standard(s)!
    My personal opinion is that someone should slap around the government employees who proposed and support such wasteful actions!

  26. So no matter how cheap-o the string of lights is, I can be assured it is 20 or 22 gauge, can withstand a 20-pound pull, and has fuses.
    The government has codified many UL standards, and this one looks like a no-brainer. Am I missing something?

    • Yes, government has no business or authority to regulate them. No where in the Constitution is the Federal Government given authority to regulate products. That “power” is a fiction made up out of whole cloth by the courts starting with Wickard v. Filburn in 1942 and Congress went along with the massive power grab it represented… and we follow along like good government sheep. We don’t need to spend tax dollars trying to enforce standards that private industry keeps up to date all by itself.

  27. I commend particularly: –
    Jimbo December 28, 2014 at 1:25 pm – and his immediately-following two posts.
    and
    markstoval December 28, 2014 at 12:52 pm
    regulation just for the sake of regulation – per markstoval’s quote – is killing much of the productive economies of the West.
    Auto

  28. Killjoy was here. Whatever next? Are they going to ban champagne on New Year’s Eve because the CO2 causes global warming?

      • I’m glad I put my glass of wine down before reading that 🙂 It is indeed, classic.
        Here in Tasmania we have a classically stupid law. It is illegal to pick for consumption any of the 26 or so hallucinogenic mushrooms that grow here. However, it is not illegal to consume them. So, if the consumer gets down on hands and knees, sticks their nose in the cowsh!t and eats those little goldtops, they are abiding by the law.

      • In another life I was in law enforcement and the State I lived in decided to rewrite and update all the criminal code. The “sex crimes” section for statutory crimes was gridded out by the age of the “victim” and age of the “perpetrator” as the State decided what age a person could give consent and the severity of the crime diminished as the age of the youngest “victim” increased. Two 15 year old kids having sex was illegal, two 17 year old kids having sex was illegal, a 16 year old and a 15 year old having sex was illegal and a 17 year old and 16 year old was illegal. In all those circumstances the oldest partner, even if only a day older, was the criminal and was charged according to the chart. Two 16 year old kids could do whatever they wanted to do and no law was broken. Madness…
        That was 40 years ago… it’s done nothing but get worse.

  29. ANSI/UL 588 is referenced by NFPA 70 and therefore has been part of the International Code Council standards since 2009. In PA the construction industry has been dealing with this type of over-regulation for more than a decade now. I have witnessed the increased cost of construction and renovation projects, the delays caused by incompetant and zealous government enforcement and the waste for example of documenting in triplicate type L copper pipe is approved for potable water. As approved by PA, Code Enforcement Officers can currently enforce UL 588 at your residence.

  30. How does accidental deaths associated with Christmas lights compared to fatalities associated with other electoral appliances including regular light bulbs? Maybe home voltages should be limited to only 12 volts and all appliances requiring more than 12 volts should be banned for safety reasons. Maybe all electrical lighting including TV’s and computer displays are too dangerous for the public and should be banned.

    • It ain’t the voltage, it’s the current that kills you. 12 vdc would be a lot worse and much higher current flows are required and much larger wiring is needed. Space heaters would need power cables that you could use on welding machines. A 500 watt blender would need 8 gauge power cable (which is about what’s on your electric dryer.) Imagine most decent sized power tools, vacuum cleaners etc having cords the size of jumper cables. There are very good reasons to stay with 120vac or 240vac power systems, like P=IE.

      • “It ain’t the voltage, it’s the current that kills you.”
        The resistance of the human body does not permit a high current flowing through it at 12 V. With U
        = RI, the current flowing through you at 12 V is 9 times smaller than at 110V.

  31. This is the libbies reply to being ripped to shreds for global warming in “Interstellar.” Hee hee. One viewer said it was GW that caused the dust storms in the movie. I said it wasn’t GW but blight that caused the crop failures and dust storms as explained in the movie. But noooooooooooo. And it was interesting that a Dr. MANN made up HUGE ka-ka and was BS-ing NASA and stuck on an ice planet! I should watch the movie again to see if there is a hockey stick in there somewhere. LOL.

  32. Reblogged this on Public Secrets and commented:
    Well, thank God that Nanny State is here to protect us from the dangers of… Christmas lights. This sounds like a case of bureaucrats with too much time on their hands… and a good reason to get rid of the agency. Anyone know who financially benefits from these proposed regs? Like GE and the incandescent light bulb ban, I’m sure there’s someone, somewhere.

  33. The trouble is that their goal is to create new regulations. As long as people are working there, that’s just what they’ll do.

  34. There is a wider metaphor here and within it a dichotomy, and it is rather, nay – extremely ironic.
    Progressives, believe that they are the new bearers of the torch of ‘enlightenment’ and yet what could be further away from the reality? As western nations and their inhabitants, the people, are coerced and forced by increasingly authoritarian governance – in the EU and now through the vehicle of Obama-autrocracy……..
    The progressives invented their baby ‘the green agenda’ it is and will mean the end of cheap and inexpensive lighting for hundreds of millions of people – how UNenlightened – is that?
    Secondly, In that the ‘progressives’ deem that saving mankind is their destiny and the green agenda can aid this march to the sunlit uplands of a Socialist Utopia and One World Government of course: in the natural embodiment of international Socialism.
    Progressives believe themselves to the noblest of all and set themselves apart from the herd, the illusion is of light and making you build their tower of Babel.
    Denying people access to cheap electricity in the northern hemisphere – kills the vulnerable, the sick – in hundreds of thousands. Across the globe, in underdeveloped regions; the biofuel experiment means >commodity prices and consequently – it thus follows that people who are unable to afford pricier foodstuffs – are starving to death. Depriving African nations plentiful and cheap fossil fueled power – stifles and hampers GDP growth – it is like binding a very young child’s limbs, it produces crippled adult feet.
    AGAIN I ENTREAT: how unenlightened……….. and I posit that actually, the ‘progressives’ are the new luddites.

  35. None of this matters as long as nuclear reactors are making tons and tons more cesium, plutonium, strontium, I-131, and a few hundred other deadly toxic deaths science has no disposal answer for. Until the reactors are nearly dismantled, and vast areas of the Earth have been sacrificed, forever, to hide our mistake, we will not survive nuclear power. Ask any California Sea Lion starving to death.
    The only answer is much more drastic than the Xmas lights. Immensely expensive nuclear plants won’t shut down until forced rationing is demanded when humans can be convinced their children won’t survive the next generation of destroyed DNA. By then, it will be too late. Climate is the least of our problems.
    http://enenews.com for the latest details…..like the 11 earthquakes YESTERDAY shaking Fukushima-Daiichi’s melted down reactors and no-water-we-explode spent fuel pools. If you think you’re immune, borrow someone’s pocket geiger counter and see for yourself…..

    • Larry, before we tossed the socialist federal government out of office in Australia, their common boast was how much legislation they had passed into Law. Now, after a year, the adult government of conservatives is still trying to unravel the socialist’s legislative mess.

    • Larry Butler
      December 28, 2014 at 5:05 pm
      “None of this matters as long as nuclear reactors are making tons and tons more cesium, plutonium, strontium, I-131, and a few hundred other deadly toxic deaths science has no disposal answer for.”
      How about waiting?

      • Larry says, “Ask any California Sea Lion starving to death.’ I live there, and have seen the Sea lion population increase quite dramatically over the decades.

    • Larry Butler,
      I followed your link to http://enenews.com. I can now understand your concern that you are doomed. Toss in the apocalypse of frying in your britches from CO2 induced global warming and there is clearly no way out for you. It’s already too late. The end of time is near. Time to google the schedule for the next passing comet.

  36. I tried their URL and got the message “Page could not be loaded.” I want to tell them to fire the asshole(s) who dreamed it up.

  37. One thing being missed here is that these types of regulation (in reality) still exists as voluntary and manufacturers, when complying, add cost to the design, quality control and testing against that voluntary standard. One difference is that a lazy, ignorant or unknowing (and who in the world can remember to check all that they buy against UL or other voluntary standards) consumer(‘s) may get a non standardized and perhaps, unsafe product. The other difference is that adding these to formal consumer (required by law) protection codes to try to make sure that everyone receives the same product does increase the taxpayer cost somewhat. Assuming that the fed rules mirror the voluntary ones, the increase in reporting costs should be minimal. These types of consumer safety rules shouldn’t be confused with rules that are non-protective but exist solely for political reasons, like banning some types of incandescent bulbs or rules that don’t mirror UL (or other) standards like some of the required warning labels:
    http://www.forbes.com/2011/02/23/dumbest-warning-labels-entrepreneurs-sales-marketing-warning-labels_slide_4.html

  38. Set the EPA to work regulating the EPA. That will keep them busy until they have regulated themselves into a state of total paralysis.

  39. The left wing war on Christmas and Christ centered everything continues. Funny there is this thing called the US Constitution which forbids any meddling in religious affairs.. Obama has already placed that document through the shredder… When are we going to get dam mad and deal with these clowns?

  40. Let me quote the character played by Mel Gibson in Bravehart..
    Ahemmm…
    F R E E E E E E D O M M M M M M M m m m m m….

  41. Perhaps it’s time for a little civil disobedience, the moment the “progressives” in government say we can not express our joy and Faith through the display of Christmas lights and decorations, we should display them. If it’s 1/15/2015 then we put the lights up and keep them up! This is a matter of Faith and free speech under the Constitution. I will not pay any fine, I will not comply with any regulation that violates my Faith or the Constitution. King George underestimated the American people during the revolutionary war, King Barach and his court jester the DNC have also underestimated the will of the American people. God is not dead!!! Nor is freedom, if we stand united!

    • A marvelous tribute! The government bureaucrat that tries to take this patriotic and religious display ‘down’ will be in for the surprise of their lives.

      • I agree. If these regulations pass then maybe there will be a movement to get a display like this into every neighborhood across the country.

  42. Spend a minute and make a comment. My humble 2 cents looked like this:
    From your “Table 3” I see that the annual death rate (for the most recent 5 years) due to electrocution by seasonal and decorative lighting products is about 1.2 per year, or roughly 1 per 200,000,000 households. If this is essentially correct, it amounts to a personal risk level that is statistically zero.
    Clearly an annual fatality rate of 1 person per 200,000,000 households is not “a substantial product hazard” under any stretch of the imagination. Indeed, I would say that it would prove that current industry self-regulation has been a resounding success as the already small number of deaths dropped by an order of magnitude over a 35 year period.
    I would propose that any expense and effort taken to reduce the existing 1.2 annual electrocution deaths due to seasonal and decorative lighting products could be much more productively applied to other areas which currently cause many more deaths annually such as these examples:
    Auto……………. 33,000 .. nearly 30,000 times more deaths
    Stairs………….. 12,000 .. about 10,000 times more deaths
    Drowning…………. 3,800 .. over 3,000 times more deaths
    Falls from bed……… 450 .. almost 400 times more deaths
    Lightning…………… 51 .. more than 40 times more deaths
    Falling icicles……… 15 .. about 12 times more deaths

  43. Since it is after Christmas all the stores have their Christmas decorations on sale…lights, deer, snowman, Santa etc. 50% or more off. I think I will go to my neighborhood ACE Hardware tomorrow and buy more lights. Kind of like ammunition…you can never have too much.

  44. Instead of a hammer and sickle its a vest and hard hat. This is so far out of control it’s ridiculous.

  45. How fun! Here in Norway our authorities are moralistic to a fault about anything concerning climate or energy. However, Norwegians are picking up the American habit of Christmas lighting, not just some simple and traditional window display or a glorified bush, but the whole catalogue. My oh my, our guardians are really way behind the trend! I wonder when this particular kind of Puritanism will come our way. Hopefully soon, it will be great fun to watch the moral battles being fought out in the spirit of the Christmas season. Maybe decorative lighting will only be allowed in daytime, so as not to offend the eyes of the righteous ones. That should do the trick, as days are rather short here (Oslo in the far south is on the latitude of south Alaska) and non-existing in the north.

  46. The unintended goal of leftist ideology is to make life for everone (other than the ruling elites, of course) miserable….
    It’s the petty tyrannies of a thousand arcane and unnecessary rules and regulations that wears out the body politic; like a thousand mosquitoes swarming upon a placid Caribou on the majestic Alaskan tundra, driving the poor beast insane…
    “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”~ Winston Churchill

  47. of course it is sheer stupidity…
    but there is a point…a stupid one of course but…
    Is the dark night a right?
    let aside the tradition of christmas, if you neighbour uses powerful lights at night, or your city with public lights and you can’t sleep…is it a violation of your private property?
    Well if your neighbour let trees grow in his property so that they shade your house..you will probably complain….

    • There are consequences to having neighbors. Their mowers roar on the weekends, their trash cans rattle on pickup day, they tinker with their hobbies in their garages, and soak their gardens with insecticides. Their children scream and giggle as their balls and planes and rockets and their soap bubbles sail over and onto your property. Their trees and flower beds shed a horrific concoction of pollens and sweet floral perfumes that stop up your sinuses, and their dog soils your drive. And once each year their holiday celebration lights blinker your sensibilities.
      The solution for all of this is not more regulation; it is you accepting life as it is lived or you relocating to a place where life is more suitable for you because it is you with the problem, not them. But we’ve stopped teaching the concepts of self-responsibility.

  48. The relevant quotation from Atlas Shrugged is the following:
    “Did you really think we want those laws observed?” said Dr. Ferris. “We want them to be broken! You’d better get it straight that it’s not a bunch of boy scouts you’re up against… We’re after power and we mean it… There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now that’s the system, Mr. Reardon, that’s the game, and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with.”

  49. I thought all this sort of crap was confined to the UK. Here we are told not to smoke, not to drink more than 14 “units” of alcohol a week (female), 21 (male) and to eat 5 portions of fruit or vegetables a day. All electrical appliances are sold with integral plugs and fuses, because us prols can’t be trusted to fit plugs and fuses ourselves.
    This is all bad enough but this state sponsored nannyism as well as being unnecessary is quite often totally wrong, for example we were told to cut down on saturated fats, because they caused heart disease and to eat carbohydrates instead, the result? An epidemic of obesity.
    I gather the USA Declaration of Independence was 12 pages in length, Tolley’s Tax Law Guide (the accountant’s bible for tax law here) runs to over 17,000 pages.
    The world has gone barking mad!!!

  50. Before the Premier of B.C. went crazy for climate change, he did this :

    Black went on to boast of the government’s red tape reduction mission; from 2001 to 2005 Gordon Campbell’s Liberals eliminated 152,000 regulations that were choking business’s ability to grow, operate and innovate. So successful have the Liberals been on this front that Black told the audience of 150 that the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) was commissioning a study on B.C. red tape reduction.

    http://www.cga-bc.org/events.aspx?id=19408

    • Well, that government picked the low-hanging fruit. Next step should be eliminate major functions, like economic regulation of transportation, and agricultural barriers such as quotas.
      My recommendation on one thing was deferred to a review of the whole subject it was under. I don’t know if that happened.

  51. You ask: “Is there anything left to regulate?” Well, take a look at the lunatic EU if you want to study insane regulations. Unbelievable things like adding further to vehicular regulations whilst forgetting that veteran and vintage cars cannot comply; and the latest? Stopping manufacturers from selling high wattage electric kettles/jugs whilst ignoring the physics that it takes a specific amount of energy to boil a quantity of water and if the wattage of the kettle is lower then it simply takes longer but uses the same (actually slightly more) energy. The list is endless and for some it’s laughable – if it were not so serious.

    • Yes, that’s a whole nuther list. Coming to mind:
      – a regulation differentiating soup from stew, based on a sieve to check particle size content.
      – its attempt to ban importation of Saskatoon berries (June berries south of that line on a map), because there was no history of consumption in Europe thus healthiness was not proven (that would take ten years, I don’t recall how one could do it). But OOPS, someone in a Scandinavian country had already been growing those furrin things for more than ten years, having imported plants or seeds from Canada. The bureaucrats had to back down on that, I don’t know if they got a lesson on research before ruling.

  52. Is there anything left to regulate?
    Well you can always pile regulations on top of regulations or have constant changing regulations, and for added ‘fun’ you can fail to tell others that you changed them in the first place .
    But never underestimate they effort their willing to put in to find new ways and new things to regulate , after all Joe public is paying for it and it keeps them in a job.

    • You’re asking for common sense from institutions that purposely eliminate common sense from it’s rank.
      What is puzzling is why it is taking so long for evolution to move bureaucracies to it’s long list of extinct species.

    • @ Tim. Thank you. I have been trying to come up with unusual and notable causes of death that took place amongst folks in my little corner of the world this year. The most unusual that immediately come to mind are beheading (2 cases) and the death of a 4-year-old who had been taken to the hospital with some siblings for treatment of the flu. After they administered Tamiflu, the 4-year-old died.
      As a matter of fact, there are already laws against beheadings. I guess there aren’t against using Tamiflu on sick little tykes. From what I can tell, even though there are numerous reports of harm done to little kids (and adults) by Tamiflu, and Japan has outlawed its use for young people, apparently the official position in this country is that it can be used on anyone older than 2 weeks.
      Speaking of so-called health care, does anyone else see the harm that could be done by outlawing the uplifting effect of lighting up one’s house and property in the dead of winter? It is no secret that the short daylight hours of winter have a depressing effect on many in our population. Yet many have been known to spend their hard-earned money on fuel to spend time driving their loved ones around to neighborhoods where there are Christmas lights to see. Why would they do that? I’m guessing it’s because it’s **FUN**! And it’s mostly free, except for the cost of the fuel and wear-and-tear on one’s vehicle.
      So let’s outlaw one of the few free past-times that’s a known source of enjoyment during these long nights in the dead of winter. It can only enhance business for drug-makers, can it not?
      /sarc

  53. So what! and what makes them think that they have any jurisdiction to tell me what i can and cannot do on my property? prove it!! I don’t have a contract with these people who make THEIR rules.

  54. I wonder if they will include the Grow Lights that the dope growers in CA, CO & WA use for their “medical” and recreational products?? I bet not, given what I believe their socio/political philosphy to be.

    • The grow lights have been widely known for violating FCC interference generation provisions — and the FCC has sat on kits duff and refused to enforce the rules.

  55. Freedom is risk. If we continue to allow the government to define “risk,” it will use that as the authority to eliminate freedom.

  56. Having just read the proposed regulation https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/10/16/2014-24378/substantial-product-hazard-list-seasonal-and-decorative-lighting-products#t-2 I note a few points:
    It only affects mains connected or transformer less devices so LED devices remain unchanged.
    The requirements state that you have ONE of the following: minimum wire size, strain relief or over current protection.
    Reasonable product design, I would suggest, would include all three of the above.
    I cannot envisage any current safe product requiring a change to comply with the new regulations.
    The number of deaths each year from this range of device has been falling year on year towards very low levels showing that the voluntary system is working well.
    A well working voluntary system should not need the force of law behind it.
    In the UK, our regulations require products to be ‘CE’ marked to ensure safety. We can, in most cases, ‘self certify’, but if a death occurs due to poor product design, then heaven help the company/supplier/importer involved in the supply chain.
    If the USA voluntary schemes operated as though they were ‘design rules’ when called upon in court cases, then there should be no need for unnecessary federal regulation.
    I am surprised that some people cry out to retain the ‘right’ to supply or buy lethal electrical good!
    Scores of years ago, in the UK, the ‘weights and measure act’ and others, were introduced to prevent unscrupulous traders from selling bread adulterated with sawdust, gallons of petrol (gas) sold short, a pound of beef weighed 15 oz, (or was horse) (the horse bit still happens today!!).
    Many of these laws are brought in to protect the weak, the innocent, the foolish and the rest of us.
    Just because you or I may be in one of the above category’s, the majority of people are ordinary, going about their legal business relying upon these laws to keep them alive, safe and not unduly out of pocket.

    • “I am surprised that some people cry out to retain the ‘right’ to supply or buy lethal electrical good!”
      The low death rate is proof enough that more regulation is unnecessary. Over ~100,000 people die of medical malpractice every year in the USA but we should be worried about less than ten people per year? Over 20,000 people die by fall accidents every year but we need to ban ordinary Christmas lights. Over 30,000 people are accidentally poisoned every year but look out for those lethal Christmas lights.
      If a crime rate associated with some demographic is under ten per year it isn’t high enough to even qualify for being mentioned by the FBI.

      • I agree that those other things are much bigger problems that poorly-made Christmas lights. And you could well argue that more regulation is unnecessary. But the real question is: Will this regulation do more harm than good? There may not be much good in it, but there isn’t much harm either. It’s simple enforcing a rule that well over 90% of products already comply with voluntarily. Very little will change because of this rule.

  57. Affordable Christmas Lights Act. On the whimsical side, as the federal debt reaches for the stars, the deficit as a percentage of nominal GDP will continue to shrink. Do they subtract leverage from their accounting? Anyway, offering solutions for problems they create can be an expensive exercise and will necessarily be progressive as the dysfunction is additive. Or perhaps they will continue to redistribute the consequences globally, so Americans will not be the first to notice its effects.

  58. Immediate legislation must enforce Christmas Darks. Homes would be patterned in daylight by the operation of darkbulbs. Darkbulbs would then be banned for having unknown hazards – but only after massive government-funded studies (by their very good friends._

  59. Our string of old-fashioned outdoor lights that have worked flawlessy for over 35 years finally went south (fault of my husband or who knows how many more years they would have lasted). They didn’t raise our electricity bill by any noticeable amount, either.
    Sooo, I bought a string of ugly LED lights, the only ones available at the local hardware store. They are a weird shape and so cold and unwelcoming that as soon as they come down they are going to Goodwill in spite of having spent $22 on sale(!) for that crap. If I can’t replace my traditional incandescent bulbs then I guess we’ll be in compliance with the new regulations, because we won’t have any lights up.
    I wonder when they’ll start performing in-home searches to stop the proliferation of Christmas tree decorations…

  60. Calm down, everybody. It’s not what you think. The feds are not proposing a ban on Christmas decorations.
    If you read the actual PDF (http://www.cpsc.gov/Global/Newsroom/FOIA/CommissionBriefingPackages/2015/ProposedRuletoAmendSubstantialProductHazardListtoIncludeSeasonalandDecorativeLightingProducts.pdf), you’ll find that context changes everything. For over 15 years, there’s been a voluntary rule in place called UL 588, which describes best practices regarding wire size etc. for holiday lights. As manufacturers have brought their products into compliance, fatal accidents have declined. (Granted, there may be other reasons for the decline.) The CPSC estimates that “well in excess of 90 percent” of the holiday lights sold in the US already comply with UL 588. The proposed regulation simply forces the remaining 5% or so to get their act together, by making the UL 588 stuff mandatory.
    So no, the feds are not trying to take away your Christmas lights. They’re just trying to make Christmas a little bit safer.
    Even if this is a problem, it’s a very minor problem. Very few products will be affected.
    I wish the WUWT post had made this clear.

    • soncisuns,
      It’s another brick in the wall. It’s turning up the flame under the frog’s water dish. It’s a step in the wrong direction. Besides, LED lights are the future, and no one gets electrocuted by LED’s.
      We don’t need these regulations. Even if some folks think we do, it is the job of the STATES, not the federal government.
      The Constitution makes that crystal clear…
      …oh, right. They don’t teach civics or the Constituion in gov’t skrewels any more.

    • “So no, the feds are not trying to take away your Christmas lights. They’re just trying to make Christmas a little bit safer.”
      ++++++++++++++
      Safer than what ?
      Playing hockey on the local (thin ice) pond
      Floating down the creek on a homemade raft
      Skitching behind cars
      Getting sloppy drunk in a biker bar, then having a bottle rocket “war” in the parking lot with cars as shields
      Having a tire tread peel off at 90 MPH and tear up your front wheel well
      Ride a snowmobile as fast as you dare through tree studded trails
      Talk about safety concerns !!

  61. “seasonal and decorative lighting products that do not contain one or more of three readily observable characteristics (minimum wire size, sufficient strain relief, or overcurrent protection) constitute a substantial product hazard under section 15(j) of the Consumer Product Safety Act, 15 U.S.C. § 2064(j).”
    http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Newsroom/FOIA/Records-of-Commission-Action-and-Commission-Meeting-Minutes/2015/2015-Docs/RCA-Proposed-Rule-to-Amend-Substantial-Product-Hazard-List-to-include-Seasonal-and-Decorative-Lighting-Products/

  62. My comment to the proposed rule:

    I am against the proposed rule.
    The basic argument in favor it that it will codify into Federal Regulation what is currently voluntary UL standards. Therefore, making the UL Standards part of the Federal Regulations will ossify the current process, make rigid the current standards, harder to improve and evolve them, and ultimately make the public less safe.
    These rules will do badly that which need not be done at all.

  63. This is simply part of the Obama administration’s systematic dismantling of Christian influence out of America…piece by piece…in order to establish his Islamic/socialistic state.

  64. A two-fer. The Religion of the Left gets to write more regulations and attack Christianity at the same time in the name of, well, something.
    Can we sue since the Establishment of a State Religion is unConstitutional?

  65. christmas lights ban? really? where do these people come from mars? for me I do not celebrate christmas put up lights or anything like that, even I think this is a big trespass on peoples rights to buy whatever they want and spend their money on high electric bills if they want. it is your house your money and your life you can spend it use however you please as long as your not trespassing on anothers rights. but this simple concept seems to elude alot of people who get into power. in fact I think they get into power and it goes to their head and they feel like they are gods entitled to make whatever laws they want (of course they put a noble cause cover story to get people to accept it) lets pretend it is for the good of the children and we can violate whatever natural or god given laws we want and people will be glad to hand their money and life over to us. general populations just dont get it or they do and just give up because trying to change it is to exhausting. maybe they do like that guy alone in the wilderness go buy some land somewhere build a log cabin chop trees down for heat and hunt and grow food and keep minimal contact with the rest of the world.

  66. I read the pending CPSC proposal. It doesn’t outlaw these lights. It only aims to require “minimum wire size, sufficient strain relief, or overcurrent protection”.
    This is a good deal if you think about it – without any of those, a cheaply made string, with no fuse (they mostly seem to have this already), no strain relief, and undersize wires could overheat long before a 15A breaker would interrupt the current, and become a fire hazard.
    To your point here, there are already some industry standards & oversight non-binding though, and won’t impact ultra low cost Far East imports. As for safety agency approvals, these same low cost Far East ports rarely gain CSA/TUV/UL recognition! Too costly.

    • Forgot that g,d,r in chevron brackets would not show up.
      One person in the Victoria BC area is doubly sinful, has lights on both his house and his big pickemup.
      Emulating perhaps the big trucks that festoon themselves with lights and parade through the area each December, albeit for only several hours. (A charity thing, and educational – trucks can be examined up close at the end of the tour, at the local race track.)

  67. I agree with those who say the regulations are not intended for the homeowner. The regulations are intended to hit the manufacturers and stores. Legal threats and green activism behind the scenes have been used to intimidate a lot of small businesses and chains. The result is that regulatory control of what stores can carry, and therefore what you can purchase in stores, is tightening like a boa constrictor.
    In this way, the environmentalist NGOs, the government, and the UN are the customer. Not you.
    Once regulators tell industries what they can produce, and dictate to stores what they can sell, then they will say, “Look a market solution! Look, environmental capitalism!” “A green economy!”
    An important test of this observation is that the upcoming presidential candidates, and president, will be an ELECTRIC CAR SALESMAN in Chief.

  68. Time Machine Trip
    This is what happened last time simple, working, harmless lighting technology was outlawed by environmentalists. See the comments – this is not unusual, and that is volitilized mercury gas that is being released.

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