Remember the TV commercial a few years back: "You can't fool Mother Nature."
Americans are likely to hear that refrain quite a bit as an effort to extend daylight-saving time picks up steam in Congress.
A plan to start DST three weeks earlier (second Sunday in March) and end it a week later (first Sunday in November) has found its way into the federal energy bill.
How is changing DST related to energy? During World War I, people used less fuel in the evenings of longer sunlight that came with year-around DST. Saving energy was an important wartime consideration. In 1973, Congress authorized DST for an entire year as the nation struggled with oil shortages. Later it was determined that we really did use less energy. So some federal legislators see the energy bill as the logical way to extend DST.
But there is considerable opposition to DST. Farmers, airline schedulers and parents to school-age children are among those who would rather see less DST, not more.
Of course, everyone affected negatively by DST has an easy solution at their disposal: Switch your schedules by one hour. Start school an hour later. Set flight departures to match convenient connection times in airports outside the country. Get up with the sun instead of setting an alarm clock.
Perhaps the biggest objection to DST in this country is the fact that clocks have to be reset twice a year. The plan afoot in Washington might save some energy, but it wouldn't remove the hassle of "spring forward, fall back."
Both proponents of DST and those who don't like it would probably agree on one thing: Make whatever plan we adopt year-around instead of switching back and forth. USA Today's Web site makes an argument for getting rid of DST and sticking to standard time all the time. Others make their case for using DST exclusively.
If Congress wants to do something worthwhile, it could pick one or the other and make it permanent. DST? Or standard time? Talk to your U.S. senators and representatives.