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It seems to us . . . Congress changes a light bulb, and Americans cope with gas

SEEING THE LIGHT: Leave it to Congress to try to amend the Law of Unintended Consequences. When Democrats tried to pass an energy bill provision recently that would ban ordinary 100-watt light bulbs by 2012 to encourage use of those energy-saving flourescent corkscrews, Republicans demanded a package warning that the new bulbs contain trace amounts of harmful mercury. The whole thing's been temporarily derailed.

Environmental groups see a need for debate and a recycling mandate, but add that less energy use also would cut mercury emissions from power-plant smokestacks.

Would the last one off the planet please turn off the lights?


HITTING THE GAS: Energy crisis? What energy crisis?

Gasoline prices may be breaking records, but that's not slowing American motorists. In the first half of this year we averaged a record 9.2 million barrels, or 388 million gallons, each day. Anyone willing yet to admit an addiction?

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