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Among the fake products which government investigators received EnergyStar certification on was a "Gasoline-Powered Alarm Clock".
Bogus products from Congressional investigators like a "gasoline-powered alarm clock" received certification.

Incompetence, carelessness, and misinformation -- Congressional investigators found all of those things when investigating the EnergyStar program over the course of the last year.

Congressional auditors posing as companies secured EnergyStar credentials for 12 bogus products since last June, illustrating deep problems with the green certification program.

EnergyStar is a "green" certification process for energy efficient products.  It was created by the Clinton administration 18 years ago, and has since been adopted by several nations worldwide.  EnergyStar products are signified by special stickers and may earn buyers federal tax credits (not all EnergyStar products qualify for tax credits).

Among the bogus products that received the supposedly prestigious distinction were a "gasoline-powered alarm clock" and an "air purifier", which really was an electric space heater with a feather duster glued to the top.

The Congressional panel took conventional products like dehumidifiers and heat pump model and created fictitious "products" in these categories that used 20 percent less energy than their standard brethren.  They then submitted this information -- and in most cases were awarded EnergyStar certification with few questions.  Auditors say that the study shows how vulnerable the program is to fraud.

Maria Vargas, an official with the Environmental Protection Agency, which runs the program with the Energy Department, defends the program saying that there was "no fraud" as the bogus products weren't real and that she doubts that any of the 40,000 other EnergyStar-certified products are mislabeled.  However, the Energy Department has promised to improve the program in two statements.

The problems run far beyond mere submissions, though, Congress found.  Companies with approved EnergyStar products could freely download the logo and paste it on any of their products -- even those which had not been certified.

According to members of Congress EPA officials admitted, though, that some submissions are analyzed by an automated system without review by a single human eye.  This was reportedly the case in the "gasoline-powered alarm clock" submission.  EPA spokespeople say this is a lie.  They say that the automated system is only a preliminary "screen" and that human review 
is always used.

Senator Susan Collins, R-ME, doubts the veracity of these statements, though.  Sen. Collins, who launched the investigation, comments, "I don’t think I’d admit that."

She says that if humans did review the products, which came with comical pictures, "and red flags didn’t get raised, that’s a really troubling commentary."  She concludes that the retailers can easily sell consumers products that don't really save them energy.  She comments, "This program is extraordinarily easy to defraud."

Many manufacturers with legitimate energy saving products never apply for the logo and miss taxpayer funding.  According to the EPA, 80 percent of monitors without the logo last year were energy efficient enough to receive one.  In fact, some of these unlabeled products consumed less energy that labeled EnergyStar products.

There have already been a couple high profile scandals of EnergyStar products.  In October 2008, Consumer Reports magazine reported that South Korean-made LG refrigerators didn't meet their efficiency claims.  LG has since reimbursed consumers and modified the machines. 

That's okay, said EPA officials.  They say they warned companies that intentionally inaccurate submissions are a crime under Title 18 of the United States Code.  However, the auditors never received the warning, and further the crime is found under Title 19, not 18.

In the end, these problems may result in consumers being double billed -- first in additional taxes to finance the program, and then on energy costs of fraudulent products.

Update: Mar. 26, 2010 5:00 p.m. EST:

A spokesperson from the DOE sent us a joint statement from the DOE and EPA about EnergyStar, which they wanted us to share with you.  As it was somewhat long, it has been posted in a separate update piece, which can be found here.

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More evidence...
By MrBlastman on 3/26/2010 11:41:04 AM , Rating: 5
That a larger government does not benefit us at all. You can have all the fancy programs you want, but, they ultimately cost all of us our own money and many of them are just a complete waste.

RE: More evidence...
By reader1 on 3/26/10, Rating: -1
RE: More evidence...
By amanojaku on 3/26/2010 11:48:00 AM , Rating: 5
Wait, competent politicians? What planet are they on? Certainly, not Earth.

RE: More evidence...
By XZerg on 3/26/2010 1:02:33 PM , Rating: 2
There are some good politicians that look out for the better of the voters however even they are categorized as incompetent or bad. A politician who agrees to bailout a company that makes crappy products, hint GM, does not mean he is incompetent. The decision may have been altered against his will that this will at least secure jobs for those there and can require the company to improve or at least scale back at a slower pace instead of all out shutdown causing a ripple effect all over.

A company with lots of $ wants open a plant but may cause xyz type of pollution and they are opening near a park or something. Again the politician may think that with this he could get more employment for the city/state/country and so looks the other way and gives permissions. The pollution haters will give him hell for it but on the plus side it created jobs.

A politician receiving money from companies can be treated as a bribe but the other flip side is that the company now is tied to the politician due to that "investment".

Those again are just an example of why certain politicians decisions may look incompetent from one angle but may actually have merits to it.

Nonetheless there are enough politicians that give the decent or good ones a really bad name.

RE: More evidence...
By Botia on 3/26/2010 1:58:27 PM , Rating: 5
The problem is, 90% of politicians give the other 10% a bad name.

RE: More evidence...
By knutjb on 3/26/2010 2:17:52 PM , Rating: 5
No, the problem is when the voting public decides to become complacent and fails to do their part by holding their elected officials accountable.

In the end the VOTER is ultimately responsible for the actions of their government. Pick a liar and fail to kick them out you deserve what you get.

RE: More evidence...
By muckymuck on 3/27/2010 11:42:05 AM , Rating: 4
O yeah !
It's not the politicians at fault it;s the stupid people who elects them!

This is how an elections is:
Nah, am too busy and not going to waste my time.
So, a few makes a choice for the rest of the NON-VOTING public. Like special interest and idiots who knows nothng about competence.

Yeah, some will go and complain that there is no choice and elect the LEAST REPULSIVE one.
Ya know that's the PRIMARY selection by a few who placed them on the ballot.

Most of the voters stay home because they're (choices) all worthless.
So, the end result is what you got today in DC.

PRIMARY is the most important vote!
This is where good possibilities are killed and special interest push the worthless to the final ballot.

In the end voters to be blames for stupid people they elected. Yeah, buy all means select an idiot from your party and refuse to consider anyone else.

RE: More evidence...
By artemicion on 3/26/2010 4:42:32 PM , Rating: 5
Or maybe the problem is that 99.9% of voters are too lazy to do the research necessary to vote for the proper politician.

RE: More evidence...
By porkpie on 3/26/2010 5:34:42 PM , Rating: 2
More precisely, 99.9% of people don't have the time (or in some cases, the intelligence) to do that research. That's why the concept of a republic is superior to that of a democracy.

In practice, though, we've abandoned that concept in favor of mob rule.

RE: More evidence...
By thurston on 3/27/2010 11:20:01 AM , Rating: 2
The problem is not that people are too lazy to do research, proven by all the worthless sports statistics people know. They just don't care, it's more important to know how many touchdowns some guy making millions of dollars to play a game made that how their congressmen voted.

RE: More evidence...
By Samus on 3/26/2010 8:16:36 PM , Rating: 2
90% give 10% a bad name? sounds like any career. police officers, IT professionals, lawyers, etc.

practically everybody who is unloyal to their employer will do the minimum amount of work possible. and loyalty is a dying trait these days.

everybody has an agenda. knowing that is half the battle.

RE: More evidence...
By thurston on 3/27/2010 2:51:47 PM , Rating: 5
practically everybody who is unloyal to their employer will do the minimum amount of work possible. and loyalty is a dying trait these days.

That works both ways, it's not just employees who can be disloyal, employers can be too.

RE: More evidence...
By amanojaku on 3/26/2010 2:48:59 PM , Rating: 4
I was just using the cliched joke about incompetent politicians. :-)

I know that there are some good politicians out there, but the vast majority are less than effective at best, horrific at worst. Still, voters across the world are partly to blame for their lack of understanding of the political system and the issues at hand. I have been shocked to find my feelings created a misconception that was reversed with only 30 minutes of detailed reading and cross-referencing.

Since you brought up the US bailouts... From a purely capitalist point of view there should never have been a bailout. I was rooting for these companies to go down considering the crap they pulled. However, there was bi-partisan support for the bailout, starting with Bush and continuing with Obama. Why? Not bailing out these companies would likely have created a depression. Considering the list of bailouts over 2 million people world wide could have been out of work. The global economy would basically shut down at that point and would take longer to recover.

The worst part is that the rich would still be rich, even in a depression. They just wouldn't be AS rich as they're used to. The middle class, however, would vanish and the ranks of the poor would grow significantly. It's happening already, in fact. This is part of the reason politicians were mulling over executive pay limits: the money is there, it's just not reaching the hands of the people who spend it to keep the global economy going. It freaks us Americans out to learn that anti-capitalist ideas like bailouts, pay limits, corporate transparency, etc... are sometimes necessary to preserve our capitalist economy.

RE: More evidence...
By porkpie on 3/26/2010 3:49:42 PM , Rating: 5
"Considering the list of bailouts over 2 million people world wide could have been out of work"

Err, currently there are 15 million people out of work in the US alone.

A government bailout of a corporation only worsens a situation, it never helps. A company losing money is consuming more resources than it produces: destroying value, in other words. Propping it up increases the total damage.

Letting a company fail means that those people it employed will lose their jobs, sure. But it also means the opportunity for new, more effiicient competitors to grab that business -- and thus hire more people themselves.

But the real issue is that you can't prop up failing firms for free. You have to do it with tax dollars. And every dollar you spend on a bailout is a dollar taken from productive companies and individuals, who therefore have less money to spend themselves, which reduces demand and increases unemployment.

RE: More evidence...
By knutjb on 3/26/2010 5:11:41 PM , Rating: 5
Isn't the truth hard to swallow. The more government meddles, the more trouble government creates.

RE: More evidence...
By DominionSeraph on 3/28/2010 6:42:04 PM , Rating: 2
A company losing money is consuming more resources than it produces: destroying value, in other words.


Mine a few tons of hematite, load it into a rocket, and shoot it into the Sun, and there you have a pointless endevour. There is zero gross gain, so you can't even recoup the bare kcals put into the effort.
This is not the same as a productive, but uncompetitive business. In GM's case, the workers all along the supply line were making a hefty personal profit -- that's what the overall market would bear. Nobody was walking to work barefoot wearing burlap bags becuase the end product had next to no value.
After the suppliers taking the profit that the market would bear, and the UAW demanding an insane amount of personal profit independent of actual performance ($30/hr plus health and pension for barely skilled labor?) GM was selling cars at a loss (to the company bottom line); meaning the buyer was not solely supporting the American wage juggernaut -- creditors came in and supplied a portion. That's not a value black hole -- it's still a net gain for the system -- just one that was slightly outperformed by competitors.
The government propping it up is not the end of the world. The overall averaged global demand for automobiles would still require the same number of workers -- other companies would have to ramp up production facilities and hire -- but those might not be US hires. A US depression changes the global economic layout -- shifting production facilities to, say, China might be better for these companies from a global perspective, which does not necessarily translate to an improvement for Americans.
So to allow GM to fail, you're looking at allowing a national depression just so the global auto industry will reorganize, with no guarantee that the global landscape won't be conducive to dropping US automaking down to the level of a cottage industry like Britian's.

Yeah, that American government sure is acting stupidly with their ensuring of American interests.

Porkpie, you continually show no better than an 8th grader's level of understanding of capitalism.
As you likely lack the brute intelligence of one such as myself, you should probably spend a few years ingesting the conclusions of people more knowledgable than you. As it stands now, your reasoning isn't even close to being ready to be on public display.

RE: More evidence...
By ekv on 3/27/2010 1:30:42 AM , Rating: 3
I was rooting for these companies to go down considering the crap they pulled.
There's no sense in rewarding negligence. Those who want to excel are penalized, whereas the bottom-feeder ready-willing-and-able to live on slop from the public trough is rewarded. That's where our economy is headed. How can a politician campaign on the fact they bring-home-the-bacon?

In GM's case there were, IIRC, 4 companies lined up to buy either the whole enchilada or at least parts of the company. You're told at the end of the day from GM "You're fired. Report back tomorrow to be told what's next." You show up the next day and you're working for ... Toyota, or whatever. I'm not saying all the jobs at GM would have been secure, but the situation would be better than it is now. And the situation may have been similar for the other bailouts.

I voted for Bush, but there were about 3 things that really ticked me off, the bailouts were one of them [helping Arlen Specter was one and there's another]. Perhaps he thought it'd help politically. Oops. 8)

At present, it looks like the Fed is still fighting a liquidity problem (because it's what they've always done in the past, and they know how to do that really well), when I think we have a solvency problem. It takes time to get into an insolvency situation and it'll take time for that to work through the system. So why is it that we can't solve anything beyond a quick fix? why is it that any long term solution is some overbearing gov't monstrosity?

RE: More evidence...
By crimson117 on 3/26/10, Rating: -1
RE: More evidence...
By porkpie on 3/26/2010 5:03:39 PM , Rating: 4
In addition to your false dilemma fallacy, you should be aware that these so-called "green jobs" are usually net economic losers.

Creating these green pseudo-jobs is easy. We have nearly 15 million people out of work. We could hire all of them to plant trees and pick up trash. Of course a minute's reflection should convince you that such a move would devastate the economy, not help it.

RE: More evidence...
By knutjb on 3/26/2010 5:14:08 PM , Rating: 3
Go look up what green jobs have done for Spain, it ain't pretty, over 18% unemployment and getting worse.

RE: More evidence...
By foolsgambit11 on 3/28/2010 10:09:13 PM , Rating: 2
That's primarily due to their housing bubble, which was worse than the one in the US. While it's certainly true that their green energy incentive programs have some impact on their economy, it's not the driving force in their economic downturn.

RE: More evidence...
By erple2 on 4/1/2010 11:28:50 AM , Rating: 2
I'll counter that with "Look at what not being called 'World Super Power Country' has done for Spain, it ain't pretty, over 18% unemployment and getting worse"

RE: More evidence...
By MozeeToby on 3/26/2010 11:59:47 AM , Rating: 3
The kind of people in political office are the kind of people that can get and/or stay elected. That skills says almost nothing about their ability to manage what is in essence the largest and most complex organization the world has ever seen. The argument could easily be made that the federal government is simply too large and too complex to manage effectively.

RE: More evidence...
By reader1 on 3/26/10, Rating: -1
RE: More evidence...
By knutjb on 3/26/2010 2:41:16 PM , Rating: 2
Dude you have a progressive twisted view of our country. Maybe if you read this with just a dictionary(for each and every word because school likely has distorted your understanding of them)

Read it for the face value of each word without some professor's idea in how you should understand it. My favorite is how the 1st Amendment gets twisted regarding religion.

RE: More evidence...
By Kurz on 3/26/2010 4:38:44 PM , Rating: 3
The point is We the people have the power.
Not the government.

RE: More evidence...
By FITCamaro on 3/26/2010 5:36:34 PM , Rating: 5
Each day that gets less and less true unfortunately.

Unless something drastic happens in the next election, we're screwed and there will be civil unrest. The Democrats can only keep this house of cards up for so long. Either it'll come crashing down or taxes will shoot through the roof. Either way people will have had enough and solve things the old fashioned way.

RE: More evidence...
By Kurz on 3/26/2010 12:11:02 PM , Rating: 4
So why should we entrust so much power without a major backlash?

Btw we are a Republic.

RE: More evidence...
By porkpie on 3/26/2010 12:37:58 PM , Rating: 3
"Btw we are a Republic."

We're a republic in which 90% of the populace believes we're a democracy, a republic in which our electors blindly follow the popular vote in all but a microscopic handful of cases.

In short, we're a de facto democracy, sad to say.

RE: More evidence...
By reader1 on 3/26/10, Rating: -1
RE: More evidence...
By invidious on 3/26/2010 2:28:38 PM , Rating: 2
I believe our government just passed a health care bill that had like 40% poll approval. Democracy my ass.

We are a republic, always have been, and in my opinion should continue to be. The main problems in my opinion are the bipolar system, lack of term limits for representatives, and gross overcompensation for representatives.

RE: More evidence...
By porkpie on 3/26/2010 2:44:32 PM , Rating: 2
"Democracy my ass."

Situations like you describe above regarding healthcare are the classic "bread and circuses" problem our Founding Fathers feared, and the reason they cast government in the form of a Republic.

Be that as it may, functionally, we are a democracy, not a republic. The proof is simple. You know who you lasted voted for President, don't you? Who did you vote for as elector? I'll lay odds of a thousand to one you don't even know their names.

The concept of a Republic is based on the idea that the average voter doesn't know the candidates and issues well enough to vote on them directly. Instead, they vote for someone they do know and trust -- an elector -- who then uses his greater knowledge and responsibility to vote responsibly.

Is that what's hapening today? Far from it. Your elector is a rubber stamp for the popular vote, a shadowy personage almost entirely unknown to the people who, in theory, are voting for them. Nothing could be further from the form of a republic..

We may be a republic de jure, but we we are indisputably a de facto democracy.

RE: More evidence...
By digitalreflex on 3/26/10, Rating: 0
RE: More evidence...
By porkpie on 3/26/2010 3:36:22 PM , Rating: 2
English really isn't that complex a language. Was my post really that difficult to understand? We're a republic in name, but a functional democracy in practice.

RE: More evidence...
By JediJeb on 3/26/2010 4:43:59 PM , Rating: 2
What I think if really amusing is that Democrats are wanting a Social Republic type of government and Republicans are talking about more of a Democratic style of government where the will of the people is supreme. Looks like they have their names reversed these days.

RE: More evidence...
By porkpie on 3/26/2010 5:40:52 PM , Rating: 2
Don't put too much in a name. After all, the Democratic Party was originally called the 'Democratic-Republican Party', and the Republicans grew from the Whig party, which favored a strong central government as the Democrats do today.

RE: More evidence...
By CZroe on 3/26/2010 12:22:46 PM , Rating: 5
The larger the government the less control electors have.

RE: More evidence...
By kb9fcc on 3/26/2010 12:28:08 PM , Rating: 2
That's because the USA is not a democracy, it's a republic, or rather, a democratic republic.

It's the "competent" politicians I worry about. They're the ones that are smart enough to cause trouble (hand in the till, etc.) and keep it hidden.

RE: More evidence...
By MrBlastman on 3/26/2010 12:50:47 PM , Rating: 3
All pure democracies will invariably turn into a socialist state. This is why the United States is a Republic, because the founding fathers understood this. Unfortunately, even our own brilliant system is failing us and we have nothing but incompetent baffoons in Washington, no matter the party.

RE: More evidence...
By Odysseus145 on 3/26/2010 1:07:49 PM , Rating: 3
Karl Marx hadn't even been born yet when the constitution was written. The founding fathers were more interested in keeping out monarchy than a political system which hadn't even been invented yet.

RE: More evidence...
By MrBlastman on 3/26/2010 1:21:48 PM , Rating: 2
True, Marx had not even been born yet but they more than understood the dangers of giving the public a free reign in running our country without the checks and balances we have built in to our system.

RE: More evidence...
By awaken688 on 3/26/2010 2:10:20 PM , Rating: 4
Just because it has a formal name now doesn't mean they weren't aware of it happening.

When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic. - Ben Franklin

There is no kind of dishonesty into which otherwise good people more easily and more frequently fall than that of defrauding the government. - Ben Franklin

Nothing is new really and even back in the day, they were aware of what would happen in the end.

RE: More evidence...
By Kary on 3/26/2010 4:32:21 PM , Rating: 2
If you assume he meant that those statements were about the general populous, OK.

If you assume they are about politicians, then no.

Politicians just come to mine first when reading those for me. The republic will end when the representatives can vote themselves money. Good people..that parts a stretch for a politician, but defrauding the government seems to fit.

RE: More evidence...
By porkpie on 3/26/2010 5:12:02 PM , Rating: 2
"Politicians just come to mine first when reading those for me"

There is no room for doubt. Franklin -- and other great thinkers of his time -- were talking about the people, and the dangers of "mob rule", or unrestricted democracy. Not politicians.

RE: More evidence...
By knutjb on 3/26/2010 2:12:48 PM , Rating: 2
Show me where Marxism or any other of its derivatives have succeeded, i.e. the ability to succeed using their own ideas regardless of what class they started from worker or leadership.

RE: More evidence...
By fc1204 on 3/26/10, Rating: -1
RE: More evidence...
By porkpie on 3/26/2010 5:09:21 PM , Rating: 3
"cuba? they seem to be doing fine... "

Exactly! What else explains why millions of Floridians flee in boats to Cuba each year?

Oh wait...

RE: More evidence...
By knutjb on 3/26/2010 5:34:30 PM , Rating: 2
1)and i don't think they are having as terrible a time as 2) the other countries that actually believed in mortgage-backed-securities...

1) Ahh yes Cuba that Bastian of Free Speech! Oh, you go to jail for saying something bad about the government? Its hard for Cuba to get much worse since they are already at the bottom. If we keep spending the way Obama wants we'll be with them soon.

2)Since Chris Dodd, Barney Frank, and a few others filled up the once reliable mortgage backed security market with millions of loans to people who would never pay them back but made it possible for them because they wanted the American Dream of a home too. Understand the problem and how it started rather than taking a simplistic political sound bite of the resulting train wreck. The mortgage problem originated with Jimmy Carter, more or less.

RE: More evidence...
By Lerianis on 3/28/2010 10:20:58 PM , Rating: 2
Wrong. The fact is that those people pushed for REASONABLE LOANS to lower income people. The problem was that banks went hog-wild (perhaps with a scheme in mind) and gave loans in large amounts to people who they KNEW would never be able to pay them back.

Unfortunately, Fannie and Freddie didn't catch that because the regulators were taken out by...... BUSH! So, it's not Dodd, Frank, etc.'s fault, but the fault of no regulation under B U S H! Not the democrats to blame, to say it one more time: BUSH AND THE REPUKIANS!

RE: More evidence...
By porkpie on 3/28/2010 11:57:42 PM , Rating: 2
Can such ignorance actually exist? The "regulators" of Fannie Mae are Congress: specially the Senate Banking Committee and the House Financial Services Committee. . . headed by Chris Dodd, and Barney Frank.

Top 5 recipients of campaign contributions from Fannie Mae:

1. Dodd, Christopher J (Democrat)
2. Kerry, John (Democrat)
3. Obama, Barack (Democrat)
4. Clinton, Hillary (Democrat)
5. Kanjorski, Paul E (Democrat)

Dodd and Frank both supported Congressional legislation letting Fannie Mae into the subprime market, and both opposed Bush efforts to regulate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

What did Frank say the reasons FM didn't need to be regulated were?
I do not think we are facing any kind of a crisis. That is, in my view, the two government sponsored enterprises we are talking about here, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are not in a crisis . We have recently had an accounting problem with Freddie Mac that has led to people being dismissed, as appears to be appropriate. I do not think at this point there is a problem with a threat to the Treasury.

The more people, in my judgment, exaggerate a threat of safety and soundness, the more people conjure up the possibility of serious financial losses to the Treasury, which I do not see. I think we see entities that are fundamentally sound financially and withstand some of the disastrous scenarios. And even if there were a problem, the Federal Government doesn’t bail them out. But the more pressure there is there, then the less I think we see in terms of affordable housing.

Now, we have got a system that I think has worked very well to help housing. The high cost of housing is one of the great social bombs of this country. I would rank it second to the inadequacy of our health delivery system as a problem that afflicts many, many Americans. We have gotten recent reports about the difficulty here.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have played a very useful role in helping make housing more affordable, both in general through leveraging the mortgage market, and in particular, they have a mission that this Congress has given them in return for some of the arrangements which are of some benefit to them to focus on affordable housing, and that is what I am concerned about here. I believe that we, as the Federal Government, have probably done too little rather than too much to push them to meet the goals of affordable housing

RE: More evidence...
By chunkymonster on 3/29/2010 12:02:02 PM , Rating: 1
cuba? they seem to be doing fine...
Cuba?! Are you for real?! Castro maintains a socialist regime second only to China when it comes to civil rights violations!

RE: More evidence...
By Reclaimer77 on 3/26/2010 2:07:40 PM , Rating: 2
You're saying we can't trust democracy.

Except we don't have a true Democracy, we have a Republic.

I would actually prefer a true Democracy after seeing the lengths our so called "representatives" will go to defy the people they claim to represent.

I wonder how a up or down vote of this Health Care "reform" would have gone if the citizens were allowed to actually vote on it.

RE: More evidence...
By Kurz on 3/26/2010 2:16:11 PM , Rating: 2
Still there will be a huge stop gap until the populace is educated enough to make proper decisions.

We are in a lose lose situation in this case.

RE: More evidence...
By Reclaimer77 on 3/26/2010 2:33:52 PM , Rating: 4
People are usually intelligent enough to make the proper decisions once they are informed. The problem is they just aren't being informed right now. Turn on the news or pick up a newspaper, you know what I mean.

RE: More evidence...
By Kurz on 3/26/2010 2:56:19 PM , Rating: 2
Very true.

RE: More evidence...
By MadMan007 on 3/26/2010 3:44:15 PM , Rating: 3
You're correct. All the FUD (in its most literal meaning) and lies about what was contained in any form of the heatlthcare reform bill completely failed to inform people about the facts.

RE: More evidence...
By room200 on 3/26/2010 3:00:38 PM , Rating: 1
You mean without all of the ploiticians of one side talking about killing grandma, armageddon, and death panels? I'd like to have seen that vote too.

RE: More evidence...
By knutjb on 3/26/2010 2:26:44 PM , Rating: 1
For those who want said larger government: you want people who put programs like this in place with all the good intent one could want, saving the consumer some money. Then said politicians turn around and decry it terribly flawed and must be fixed. You want them to be in charge of your health care? Or any other aspect of your life for that matter. If so, you should seek counseling immediately. There are plenty of free services out there, after all you've paid for them.

RE: More evidence...
By Solandri on 3/26/2010 4:03:25 PM , Rating: 2
That a larger government does not benefit us at all. You can have all the fancy programs you want, but, they ultimately cost all of us our own money and many of them are just a complete waste.

I'm generally against bigger government (or rather, against government intervention in things which could be better handled by the private sector). But I think the EnergyStar program serves a valuable function in our economy. It does things like list how much an appliance is expected to cost you per year of operation. I think that's incredibly valuable information which saves people and companies millions if not billions of dollars every year. Kinda like the EPA gas mileage ratings for cars, or the FDA labels on food help people make better buying decisions.

You have to keep in mind that the larger anything gets, the more chance there is for something to slip between the cracks. You have to keep failures like this in perspective. There's a huge difference between a company with 10 employees with 3 employees stealing, and a company with 20,000 employees with 3 employees stealing. Condemning the entire EnergyStar program because of a weakness detected in its certification process is throwing out the baby with the bathwater IMHO.

RE: More evidence...
By corduroygt on 3/26/2010 4:40:18 PM , Rating: 3
A big government is actually a good thing, IF you could trust it to look after its citizens' interests, which doesn't happen in practice.

The problem is the voting system, have a SAT-like test before voting to weed out the unqualified voters and it will improve.

RE: More evidence...
By MrBlastman on 3/26/2010 4:48:38 PM , Rating: 2
SAT-like test before voting

While that sounds like an intriguing idea, it sounds tremendously reminiscent of the Jim Crow laws of the 19th and 20th centuries but in a different context. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 ended these practices and for good or worse, made voting a fairer system.

I don't think your idea has a chance at flying. In counter, I would suggest that our electoral college engage in more prudence when they make their selection rather than in complete submission to their district. Prudent is subjective to whomever is reading the verdict however.

A big government is actually a good thing, IF you could trust it to look after its citizens' interests, which doesn't happen in practice.

This will never happen. Government will always lean towards their own interests over time, and, if permitted, individuals who are left within it will become entrenched and find ways to live off of the fat that it produces for them.

The only thing keeping us free at the moment is our right to bear arms. Without it, the government could do whatever they wished--and they know this.

RE: More evidence...
By MadMan007 on 3/26/2010 5:01:04 PM , Rating: 3
RE: More evidence...
By porkpie on 3/26/2010 5:44:45 PM , Rating: 2
"The Voting Rights Act of 1965 ended these practices and for good or worse, made voting a fairer system."

It made it a different system. "Fair" is a term open to interpretation. Is it fair that a 17 year old genius cannot vote, but a 30 year old with severe mental retardation can? Does it lead to better candidates being elected, or worse?

RE: More evidence...
By MrBlastman on 3/26/2010 10:42:30 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, indeed, the fairness is open to interpretation and that is exactly what I meant in for good or bad. I feel bad that a 17 year old genius can not vote but a 30 year old that can not think hardly for themselves can--but, the seventeen year old is still a minor under law, and, due to being a minor, they are not granted full adult privileges yet.

I suppose, voting is a slippery slope. You and I might understand that it is indeed logical for the seventeen year old to vote and the thirty year old to not, but, if we establish that what we feel actual is so, then we have to barter for a system that justly finds a youngster fit while an older individual unfit. As the past has shown, those that are in power will learn to slant and abuse that "litmus test" to their likes.

The Voting Rights Act has had no bearing at all over whether better or worse candidates have been elected. I suppose it has been a wash, as we have had Reagan, arguably the greatest president in the last fifty years easy, and Carter, one of the worst, and then Clinton who was a mockery and Bush that was just meh. No, I think the system works, but the outcome is not how we would always like it to be.

The only way we can change that, the outcome, is by getting our kids involved at an early age with the process of presidential selection, how our political system works and infuse inside them the ideals that we feel are right--while allowing them to make their own interpretations. It is better to get them informed and active early on, then allow them to be oblivious and lead to the slaughter like many of the youth in our nation were in this last election when they voted for Obama.

RE: More evidence...
By muckymuck on 3/27/2010 12:01:52 PM , Rating: 2
Well Said !

RE: More evidence...
By Reclaimer77 on 3/27/2010 2:30:53 PM , Rating: 2
I feel bad that a 17 year old genius can not vote but a 30 year old that can not think hardly for themselves can--but, the seventeen year old is still a minor under law, and, due to being a minor, they are not granted full adult privileges yet.

There is a huge difference between intelligence and wisdom. Young people are mostly, for lack of a better word, ignorant.

It is better to get them informed and active early on, then allow them to be oblivious and lead to the slaughter like many of the youth in our nation were in this last election when they voted for Obama.

Bingo. Could not have said it better myself.

RE: More evidence...
By porkpie on 3/27/2010 2:54:24 PM , Rating: 2
Given the relative dangers of drinking vs. voting, I've long felt we should raise the voting age to 21, and lower drinking to 18.

RE: More evidence...
By Kurz on 3/26/2010 5:19:46 PM , Rating: 2
They did that before and found out blacks were completely unqualified no matter what they scored.

RE: More evidence...
By chunkymonster on 3/29/2010 11:49:05 AM , Rating: 2
A big government is actually a good thing, IF you could trust it to look after its citizens' interests, which doesn't happen in practice.
Big government is NEVER a d good thing under ANY circumstances!

The problem is the voting system, have a SAT-like test before voting to weed out the unqualified voters and it will improve.
There are so many things wrong with this line of thinking. Just plain wrong!

The program...
By R6Raven on 3/26/2010 11:47:43 AM , Rating: 2
is run by a government agency and terribly flawed?!? Say it isn't so!

RE: The program...
By reader1 on 3/26/10, Rating: -1
RE: The program...
By blueeyesm on 3/26/2010 12:19:28 PM , Rating: 2
More like he's cynical with the way his government procedes with an idea.

You're mis-comprehending his comment.

RE: The program...
By Reclaimer77 on 3/26/2010 2:13:15 PM , Rating: 1
You hate the government and that means you hate democracy. Feel free to suggest a better form of government or just leave.

Again, we don't have a Democracy, we have a Republic. The citizens of this country no longer have ANY say in what happens.

When governments no longer fear it's people, it stops respecting them. We no longer have the respect of our government, and if you don't think that's painfully obvious in light of recent events, then I'm sorry.

RE: The program...
By Kurz on 3/26/2010 2:18:38 PM , Rating: 2
Some people can't see the atrocities that unfold right in front of their eyes. Or they choose to be blind by stabbing out their own eyes.

RE: The program...
By Despoiler on 3/26/2010 2:30:45 PM , Rating: 1
Wait so now .0003% is deeply flawed? Apparently neither the author or all of the conservative sound bite machines on this thread bothered to do this thing called math. 12/40,000 This provides the context that you can label the degree of flaw.

RE: The program...
By Kurz on 3/26/2010 2:36:22 PM , Rating: 2
The question being raised is the accuracy and compentency of the people running the show. The fact a gasoline clock got energy star rating shows there is little oversight there. Plus we have to do some serious research in the thousands of products that were also given the energy rating.

Despoiler you actually spoiled your argument.

RE: The program...
By porkpie on 3/26/2010 5:07:49 PM , Rating: 2
"neither the author or all of the conservative sound bite machines on this thread bothered to do this thing called math. 12/40,000"

Can someone in this day and age actually be as ignorant of "this thing called statistics" as to post what you did?

If you submit 12 bogus products, and all 12 are certified, that's a failure rate of 100%. That allows us to conclude that any product submitted for certification will receive it, whether or not it actually qualifies.

RE: The program...
By Despoiler on 3/26/2010 9:34:45 PM , Rating: 2
No actually it's not. Only if you concluded that 12 is the total sample size, which it's not. 12 is the amount of defects they have found since last June. You don't know that they are the only products.

In the context of the article we only have 2 numbers. 12 flaws and 40,000 products. As it stand right now the amount of known failures is .0003% of the total. My point is valid and yours is not.

RE: The program...
By porkpie on 3/26/2010 10:29:30 PM , Rating: 2
After a little investigation (which DT should have done), the actual numbers are:

- The GAO submitted four bogus firms, all 4 of which were able to receive "Energy Star Partner" status
- The GEO submitted 20 bogus products. 15 were approved, 2 were denied, and 3 had not yet received a response:

Further, at least one product was approved within 30 minutes of being submitted, and other products (such as the headliner gas-powered alarm clock) are obviously non "energy saving" on their very face.

If that doesn't indicate a problem to you, I don't know what will.

RE: The program...
By Kurz on 3/27/2010 9:03:29 AM , Rating: 2
He believes in politician statistics.

That's unfortunate.
By MrPeabody on 3/26/2010 11:43:00 AM , Rating: 4
The most disappointing part about this story is that gasoline-powered alarm clocks don't actually exist.

RE: That's unfortunate.
By cochy on 3/26/2010 11:50:19 AM , Rating: 2
I second that.

RE: That's unfortunate.
By Motoman on 3/26/2010 12:24:02 PM , Rating: 2
No, but you can buy a gasoline-powered margarita blender. So it's all OK.

RE: That's unfortunate.
By Tanclearas on 3/26/2010 1:07:14 PM , Rating: 3
Sure it does! Just buy a generator and plug a clock into it!



RE: That's unfortunate.
By fc1204 on 3/26/2010 5:09:14 PM , Rating: 2
yeah, i was hoping to get my tax credit for buying one of these suckers... technically, the clock in my car is powered by gas... can i get my credits now?

Anyone surprised?
By JonnyDough on 3/26/2010 6:59:20 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not.

I worked at a job selling windows for a short while, and while most walls are around nine to eleven R-value (depending where you live), it only takes an R-value of about TWO to get an energy star rating! Some companies do make windows with R-values up to about eleven.

U-Values are a measure of heat conductance

R-Values are a measure of heat flow resistance

Typical R-values range between 0.9 and 3.0. Remember that you want a high R value and a low U value.

Anyway my point is that in the cold Michigan winters an R value of 2 on a window means you're pretty much going to be losing most of your heat through your windows. Always remember to fluff the insulation in your attic now and then, as AIR is what insulates, while insulating materials are actually thermal CONDUCTORS. This means that sometimes adding insulation can have a detrimental effect - and doubling insulation will not necessarily double its effectiveness. Pay attention to the TYPE of insulation you get, and if you can get it layered so that it doesn't collapse. Insulation is one place where pockets of trapped air are a good thing.

Hope that helps educate anyone who is thinking of buying a first home. :)

RE: Anyone surprised?
By porkpie on 3/26/2010 7:27:50 PM , Rating: 2
", it only takes an R-value of about TWO to get an energy star rating!"

For a window. A single pane, non-treated window has an R value of one, so a value of two is actually good by comparison.

"Some companies do make windows with R-values up to about eleven."

Sure. With four panes, low-e coatings, and krypton gas filling. Not something your average home can afford...and given the reduced light transmission, not something some people even want.

RE: Anyone surprised?
By JonnyDough on 3/28/2010 3:13:15 AM , Rating: 2
R-values have nothing to do with how many panes of glass there are. While a basic window might net you a rating of one its downright foolish to assume that two panes equal an R value of two.

The type of gas its filled with, along with how much space is between the panes makes a difference in rating, and although Krypton is the best gas in wide use Argon is nearly as good and is quite a lot cheaper.

You can get a good window made with three panes that uses an argon/krypton gas mix - and vinyl spacers (aluminum is a poor insulator and a great conductor of thermal energy). While it may be more money up front it can be worth the investment, but do your homework and research.

If you own a fairly new home (built within the last twenty years and not a crappily built foundation) with good insulation and you live in a zone that has somewhat extreme temperatures (Such as the cold northern US, or the southern states like Texas or the tip of Florida) it is likely to be well worth replacing your cheaper double pane windows. Windows on new houses are often touted as being energy friendly when in fact they're not much better than a single pane.

Find out what you have currently before deciding. If you plan to own the home for around ten years or more then it is likely to be worth the cost if you live in a fairly hot or fairly cold region and don't have low-e windows. That said, this is an industry that loves suckers too - so do your homework and don't trust the salesman. They make a killing off windows.

RE: Anyone surprised?
By porkpie on 3/28/2010 9:04:04 AM , Rating: 2
"R-values have nothing to do with how many panes of glass there are...While a basic window might net you a rating of one its downright foolish to assume that two panes equal an R value of two."
Someone who sold windows knows so little on the subject? By DOE definition, a single-glazed window is defined as R-1. A double-glazed air-filled window is R-2, triple-glazed is R-3, and so on.

Yes, you can increase those values by using low-e glass, krypton or argon filling, or other means, but the primary mode is still the number of panes. A plain air-filled, untreated soda glass four-pane window is going to outperform a double-paned one, no matter what.

RE: Anyone surprised?
By JonnyDough on 3/30/2010 5:27:56 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry. There's not even any logic to your argument. You're just wrong, like so often you are here. I think maybe you're becoming senile old man.

RE: Anyone surprised?
By porkpie on 3/30/2010 12:57:44 PM , Rating: 2
Unfortunately, I am not wrong, which even 5 minutes of investigation would have convinced you. See:

Use the table values for windows with thermal break (embedded air). Take the reciprocal of the U values given to convert to R values:

Single pane window: R-1
Double pane window: R-2
Triple pane window: R-3
...and so on...

The sequence would remain perfect up to dozens of layers, were it not for boundary effects due to panes not being infinite in extent, so that rule of thumb starts to break down after about 5 panes.

I could explain the thermodynamic reasons why this is true, and why the actual thickness of the trapped air makes (almost) no difference, but I strongly suspect you're not interested in facts.

my ES-labeled dehumidifier
By Stacey Melissa on 3/26/2010 1:06:04 PM , Rating: 2
My ES-labeled room dehumidifier from LG got permanently unplugged after I hooked up my Kill-A-Watt meter and found it sucked down a continuous 450+ watts. And I already knew about its raucous cacophony and the absurd amount of waste heat for the A/C to further deal with. I'll just put up with a little extra humidity. If 450 watts is compliant, I'd hate to think what it takes to make a non-ES-compliant dehumidifier.

RE: my ES-labeled dehumidifier
By porkpie on 3/26/2010 3:03:40 PM , Rating: 2
Average power consumption for a room dehumidifier: 785 watts. Yours was doing fairly well, actually:

The only practical way to install these things is outside the insulated space of your home, otherwise the waste heat will nearly double their effective power consumption.

RE: my ES-labeled dehumidifier
By Solandri on 3/26/2010 4:09:20 PM , Rating: 2
Just to add for the record, heating and air conditioning are the biggest sources of energy use in the home. (Yes, dehumidifying is air conditioning. Without it, an air conditioner is just a swamp cooler, which are much much cheaper to operate than a real air conditioner.)

RE: my ES-labeled dehumidifier
By knutjb on 3/26/2010 5:09:21 PM , Rating: 2
Swamp coolers are only effective in extremely low humidity environments, worthless in humid areas since there is nowhere to evaporate the moisture to.

A/C units don't have swamp coolers inherent climate flaw, they can work in wet or dry climate. They are not same-same in operation. Look at natural gas AC units, they are far more efficient the all electric ones.

Look at what can happen if you don't dry out a home, mold and with that serious illness. Swamp coolers have been the source of illness if not setup or maintained correctly. Some A/C units can have similar problems if not setup or maintained correctly too.

In the end it could cost less to run a dehumidifier than not because of what can propagate in a closed, humid, environment. Consider what it will cost to fix mold since homeowners insurance will not cover it. Your choice...

I wonder if …
By Zandros on 3/26/2010 11:56:59 AM , Rating: 2
… the investigative team included a wild card.

RE: I wonder if …
By fic2 on 3/26/2010 12:15:09 PM , Rating: 3
The audit itself was flawed. What they should have done was take real, non-energy star compliant products and relabel them and submit bogus data.

Although submitting bogus products just shows what a laughing stock the EPA is.

RE: I wonder if …
By nafhan on 3/26/2010 12:59:38 PM , Rating: 2
Since real companies were already doing this, they didn't need to do it. The bogus products were just to make a point.

Hey now...
By cochy on 3/26/2010 11:48:52 AM , Rating: 3
If NASA can crash a lander onto Mars because someone forgot to convert feet into meters than I'm not surprised that another government agency can claim that a gasoline-powered-alarm clock is energy efficient :)

RE: Hey now...
By awaken688 on 3/26/2010 2:12:47 PM , Rating: 2
If you ever had worked on a NASA project, you'd be more surprised that it actually even got there in the first place. There is a good reason why Orion is so far behind schedule and over budget. But yeah, the whole story is not surprising at all.

By Abrahmm on 3/26/2010 11:39:19 AM , Rating: 4
Deeply flawed program fails to prevent fictitious disaster. More news at 10.

Well represented?
By peldor on 3/26/2010 12:42:26 PM , Rating: 2
The problems run far beyond mere submissions, though, Congress found. Companies with approved EnergyStar products could freely download the logo and paste it on any of their products -- even those which had not been certified.

You'd think people would understand by now that digital files are easy to copy. But then there's Congress. They just 'found' this.

Wait til they hear about PhotoChop! You mean the above-average moron could fake a picture?!? What what??

RE: Well represented?
By PitViper007 on 3/26/2010 2:17:58 PM , Rating: 2
I just did a quick Google Image search...I found LOADS of hi-res (1000+ x 1000+ dpi) Energy Star logos out there. I don't even have to have a current approved product to get the logo on to one of my doohickies......

Not the politicians, the EPA
By trisct on 3/26/2010 3:18:12 PM , Rating: 2
The comments are turning into a lot of politician-bashing, not EPA-bashing like it ought to be. This is an example of an EPA 'epic fail', not corrupt politicians. In fact the politicians are the ones who uncovered the problem.

Complain about the lack of EPA authority or funding handed down by legislators, if you will, but this is an example of taxpayer money wasted by an incompetent bureaucracy. It isn't a corruption problem.

By whiskerwill on 3/26/2010 6:08:57 PM , Rating: 2
The point is the politicans created the problem in the first place. They made the program, they set the rules, and hired the people who issue the certifications.

Yeah, its a problem of incompetent bureaucracy. But bureaucracies are ALWAYS incompetent. Thats why the government should think three times before creating more of them.

By fic2 on 3/26/2010 12:10:58 PM , Rating: 3
Since companies self test products for Energy Star ratings I am not surprised at all by this.

So, what is the penalty for falsely labeling a product as energy star? What is the penalty for submitting fake data to gain energy star rating?

It should be that all your other products get their energy star rating yanked for 1 year for a first offense. But I would guess it is probably more in line with "don't do that again" and if you do it again we will up the penalty to "we really mean it this time".

It only took 18 years?
By Mahazy on 3/26/2010 1:42:13 PM , Rating: 3
Wow, it only took 18 years for this very small government program to break - or at least for someone to confirm it was broken. How long can we expect our new enormous program for healthcare to last before it breaks? Not including the four years they will be using to put it into full effect while still collecting all the new taxes and fees to pay for it.

This is the genious of our country's founders. They (those primitive, old men) understood that our money is better spent in the free market than in gigantic government programs that don't care about efficiency and accountability.

Uh oh...
By th3pwn3r on 3/26/2010 12:34:17 PM , Rating: 2
It's time to break out the DMM, O-scope, clamp meters and everything else you can think of. Better get to testing those appliances ladies! :D

Green Man Sad
By Steven Morgan on 3/26/2010 1:00:28 PM , Rating: 2
This makes me so mad. How hard is it to test the energy consumption of an appliance!? And the excuses cited are so inane!

I hope this embarrassment forces the EPA to change the Energy Star program. I would hate to see it axed because some inept bureaucrats failed. If implemented correctly it's a great benefit to consumers. I like the ability to easily see which appliances use less energy. Nobody wants to spend more on their electricity bill.

By damianrobertjones on 3/26/2010 3:03:46 PM , Rating: 2
Just right clicked on the anand link and changed tab to be greated by 'your computer may not be safe' etc.

PLEASE stop the damn re-direction problem. Others have the same problem, you've admitted it's a problem yet it keeps happening?


By assemblage on 3/30/2010 9:38:07 AM , Rating: 2
They could make a new Clerks movie out of this gov dept. Wonder how I can work at this place. I could probably surf the internet all day. Fed Gov jobs are the best!

Gas Powered Clocks!
By Shig on 3/26/2010 12:47:32 PM , Rating: 1
lol I got a kick out of that

Where can I buy
By Bioniccrackmonk on 3/26/2010 3:23:15 PM , Rating: 1
A gas powered alarm clock, f'ing A.

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