In other news... (humorous news items)

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Thesh » Thu Jun 26, 2014 7:11 pm UTC

Yablo wrote:This is a good thing. Presidential power has been growing at an alarming rate in recent years. Not to say Congress is any more responsible, but the three branches of American government can only function properly if there's a reasonable balance.


Well, in theory, it's a good ruling. Under the current system of government, the end result is bad rather than good, simply because of the refusal of Congress to cooperate. Also, I'm not so sure that Presidential power has been growing that much. NDAA aside, there doesn't seem to be much growth in power, just a lot more objection to the use of power.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Heisenberg » Thu Jun 26, 2014 7:21 pm UTC

Military action doesn't require Congressional approval anymore, according to the President (Libya).
Executive spy agencies can spy on Americans, despite being explicitly forbidden from doing so (NSA).
Suspension of Habeas Corpus. Torture. (Gitmo/Bush)
Denial of Due Process to American citizens judged guilty by the President. (al-Awlaki & son)

Executive power is creeping along, as usual. Seeing it hit a couple bumps in the road is nice.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Jun 26, 2014 7:27 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:Executive power is creeping along, as usual. Seeing it hit a couple bumps in the road is nice.


Agreed. In this particular incident, I expect nothing more than naked partisanship, mind you, but the overall long term effect is probably positive. Balance of power is vital.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Thesh » Thu Jun 26, 2014 7:35 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:Military action doesn't require Congressional approval anymore, according to the President (Libya).
Executive spy agencies can spy on Americans, despite being explicitly forbidden from doing so (NSA).
Suspension of Habeas Corpus. Torture. (Gitmo/Bush)
Denial of Due Process to American citizens judged guilty by the President. (al-Awlaki & son)

Executive power is creeping along, as usual. Seeing it hit a couple bumps in the road is nice.


Well, I was talking more about the last five years - there was not nearly as much concern before that. Al-Awlaki is really covered under the NDAA. Presidents have been taking military action without congressional approval for decades. There's evidence that the NSA has been "accidentally" spying on Americans pre-internet. Torture was illegal, it was not in the President's power to do so - Bush could be prosecuted for it.

Out of all of the powers, I think this case is the least important one - and I don't think it will lead to other reductions in power in the future.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby addams » Fri Jun 27, 2014 6:53 am UTC

KrytenKoro wrote: Can we talk about funny news now?

Seeing time freeze = World's worst superpower?

Funny?
Maybe.

This part is serious, sort of.
He remains remarkably upbeat about his condition, pointing out that in some ways it has actually been of benefit. Beforehand, he had been somewhat taciturn, particularly around strangers – a tendency that had even been labelled a disability by his school. But today, his shyness has gone – a fact that is clearly evident as he chats happily during our telephone conversation. “It was more than just feeling a little more forthcoming – I suddenly felt compelled to talk,” he says. Ovsiew has verified the report with Baker’s wife. “She confirmed that he was calmer, more talkative, and more friendly in social situations,” says Ovsiew.

Head injuries can and often do cause unpredictable changes in personality.
Not everyone can get along with all of their old friends, after a head injury.

ok. That can be funny.
I don't know how.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby sardia » Fri Jun 27, 2014 2:37 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Hmm. Perhaps only advantageous in remembering it afterward, then. Which is a plus, though granted, only if you survive.

I might have to dig into this more later, I'm getting curious about more elements of the time dilation effect.

It's hard to tell if it's an evolutionary advantage or quirk. I think it's a quirk of the recall. Things you remember vividly are viewed as taking longer duration. The advantage is the heavy emphasis that dangerous equals important.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby operagost » Fri Jun 27, 2014 3:50 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:
bigglesworth wrote:The association between the supreme god of the Arabs and the Abrahamic god was formed long before Mohammed was born.


Indeed. Abraham is a holy prophet for Muslims. They don't consider Jews or Christians to be "of the book" per se

Actually, that is EXACTLY what they consider them. This is a basic theological concept in Islam, and it comes straight from the Qur'an. Of course, the Qur'an contradicts itself internally, so while it speaks of People of the Book in the third Surah, in others it demands subjugation of Christians and Jews and, in the latter case, advocates violence upon them.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby KrytenKoro » Fri Jun 27, 2014 8:58 pm UTC

Can we please stop the religious debate? There are whole threads for that kind of stuff.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Crissa » Fri Jun 27, 2014 9:51 pm UTC

This is the most polite discussion on the topic I've ever seen.

Yeah, there's some internal contradiction, but that's because even in a book written in one person's lifetime there's going to be contradictory times.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby elasto » Sat Jun 28, 2014 2:29 am UTC

Massachusetts police swat teams claim they are private corporations in order to skirt open record laws

As part of the American Civil Liberties Union’s recent report on police militarization, the Massachusetts chapter of the organization sent open records requests to SWAT teams across that state. It received an interesting response.

As it turns out, a number of SWAT teams in the Bay State are operated by what are called law enforcement councils, or LECs. These LECs are funded by several police agencies in a given geographic area and overseen by an executive board, which is usually made up of police chiefs from member police departments. In 2012, for example, the Tewksbury Police Department paid about $4,600 in annual membership dues to the North Eastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council, or NEMLEC. (See page 36 of linked PDF.) That LEC has about 50 member agencies. In addition to operating a regional SWAT team, the LECs also facilitate technology and information sharing and oversee other specialized units, such as crime scene investigators and computer crime specialists.

Some of these LECs have also apparently incorporated as 501(c)(3) organizations. And it’s here that we run into problems. According to the ACLU, the LECs are claiming that the 501(c)(3) status means that they’re private corporations, not government agencies. And therefore, they say they’re immune from open records requests. Let’s be clear. These agencies oversee police activities. They employ cops who carry guns, wear badges, collect paychecks provided by taxpayers and have the power to detain, arrest, injure and kill. They operate SWAT teams, which conduct raids on private residences. And yet they say that because they’ve incorporated, they’re immune to Massachusetts open records laws. The state’s residents aren’t permitted to know how often the SWAT teams are used, what they’re used for, what sort of training they get or who they’re primarily used against.


The fear of transparency by those in authority stands in stark contrast to the faith we are supposed to give them in not objecting to their practice of automatically vacuuming every morsel of info they can lay their hands on...

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Djehutynakht » Sat Jun 28, 2014 3:01 am UTC

Okay... thank you for informing me of that. I honestly wasn't aware, and will now have to act on it.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby addams » Sat Jun 28, 2014 3:08 am UTC

sardia wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Hmm. Perhaps only advantageous in remembering it afterward, then. Which is a plus, though granted, only if you survive.

I might have to dig into this more later, I'm getting curious about more elements of the time dilation effect.

It's hard to tell if it's an evolutionary advantage or quirk. I think it's a quirk of the recall. Things you remember vividly are viewed as taking longer duration. The advantage is the heavy emphasis that dangerous equals important.

Yes.
I can't remember the words to use for Searching.

Humans have a very fluid sense of time.
How we remember is part of that.

Studies. What were we studying?
I remember an Important Conclusion.

We are Horrible Witnesses.
We can be trained to be better than average.

One of the methods used to train witnesses is to train them to calm themselves down.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby WilliamLehnsherr » Sat Jun 28, 2014 6:21 am UTC

I'd feel really safe flying with that name. What are the odds that two Amelia Earharts would disappear while flying?


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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Thesh » Sat Jun 28, 2014 10:43 am UTC

Then gets executed... Poor thing :(
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby SlyReaper » Sat Jun 28, 2014 12:52 pm UTC

At least it got a good last meal... :cry:
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby addams » Sat Jun 28, 2014 2:31 pm UTC

Did I ever tell you about the bear that tore the Kitchen Door Off?
The people and dog ran in the House. The Bear followed them.

They went up in the Loft and pulled the ladder up after them.
I was not there. I was where they first told the story.

That was an upset bunch of people.
Well...The children were having a Great Time.

The adults were Upset.
They said they had to carry the dog up the ladder.

The Bear Destroyed the Kitchen.
The Woman was so angry at The Bear, she would have killed him with her bare hands, if she could.

They moved away from the Forest.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Coyne » Sun Jun 29, 2014 1:16 am UTC

My Father related a story about an incident in Yellowstone National Park.

Everywhere you go in the park (even then, circa 1955) there are signs that say, "Don't feed the bears."

So, of course, here is a tourist offering to feed an adolescent bear. The tourist, who was wearing a long-sleeved shirt, was holding a jelly doughnut high above the bear, trying to get the bear to stand.

The bear reached up and (accidentally) hooked a claw in the sleeve of the shirt; then pulled downward, instantly slitting the sleeve from wrist to armpit.

The tourist backed off for a moment, looking at the bear warily; but then went back to teasing it...risking having his arm slit just as easily as the shirt.

(But of course, if the bear had hurt him...destruction for the bear.)
In all fairness...

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby CorruptUser » Sun Jun 29, 2014 1:34 am UTC

The worst part is that this dumbass would get someone ELSE killed when that bear saw some kid and started ripping him up for food.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby addams » Sun Jun 29, 2014 11:10 pm UTC

My Uncle BullDog had a pet Bear.
It was gone before I was born.

There were photos of it.
He said it was dumb.

He said he liked it a lot.
It was like a Dog, but Dumb.

Like a Dumb Dog.
It behaved its self.

He said it was Strong, but not mean.
Like any animal they each have a personality.

Some are Dumb and some are Mean.
None are Smart. Bears do not Reason, much.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Yablo » Tue Jul 01, 2014 5:25 pm UTC


Hey, that's my town. As far as I know, this wasn't in our paper, but I'm not surprised. It's tourist season, and the police and media don't like to report anything that might scare off money. We do get some pretty strange bear-related incidents here, but if there's ever an injury or death, it's the bear; never the people.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby addams » Wed Jul 02, 2014 2:07 am UTC

Yablo wrote:

Hey, that's my town. As far as I know, this wasn't in our paper, but I'm not surprised. It's tourist season, and the police and media don't like to report anything that might scare off money. We do get some pretty strange bear-related incidents here, but if there's ever an injury or death, it's the bear; never the people.

That, My Darling, is interesting.
I have experienced that sort of thing, myself.

I saw it with my own eyes.
Then the TV said something different.

I understand not wanting to freak out the Locals.
I understand not wanting to frighten the Tourists.

Still....Shall we talk about Censorship?
In the Land of The Free, are we Censored?
Is our News Censored?

Spoiler:
Of Course it Is!
Are we free to discuss it?
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
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Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby addams » Fri Jul 04, 2014 3:25 pm UTC

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/05 ... es-try-to/
Does it matter who is telling the story?

http://www.wxyz.com/news/detroit-water- ... r-shutoffs
Is it funny or tragic?

What is True?
Is it a battle between the Big Boyz and the people are getting in the way, as usual.

Are the shut offs, a PR stunt?
Are the shut offs, a lie?

No running water indoors is such an inconvenience.
Inside a City? GROSS!

The United Nations experts are also weighing in on roughly 3,000 shut-offs a week. In a statement, they say "Disconnection of water services because of failure to pay constitutes a violation of the human right to water and other International human rights.

The US is being accused of Human Rights violations.
Funny or Tragic?

Today is The Fourth of July.
It is the proper day for such conversations.

Or; Will you be Drunk by Noon in Celebration?
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We are all in The Gutter.
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Some of us see The Stars.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Coyne » Sun Jul 06, 2014 6:28 pm UTC

addams wrote:http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/05/29/water-woes-detroit-losing-millions-as-neighboring-cities-and-counties-try-to/
Does it matter who is telling the story?

http://www.wxyz.com/news/detroit-water- ... r-shutoffs
Is it funny or tragic?

What is True?
Is it a battle between the Big Boyz and the people are getting in the way, as usual.

Are the shut offs, a PR stunt?
Are the shut offs, a lie?

No running water indoors is such an inconvenience.
Inside a City? GROSS!

The United Nations experts are also weighing in on roughly 3,000 shut-offs a week. In a statement, they say "Disconnection of water services because of failure to pay constitutes a violation of the human right to water and other International human rights.

The US is being accused of Human Rights violations.
Funny or Tragic?

Today is The Fourth of July.
It is the proper day for such conversations.

Or; Will you be Drunk by Noon in Celebration?


Usually, if you don't pay your bill, you get your service shut off. Here in Florida, I once neglected a gas bill to 7 days past the due date and...*bam*...shut off. (It wouldn't have been so bad if the shut-off hadn't corresponded with arrival of a cold snap...5 shivery days to get it turned on again.)

Detroit is only turning off water if you're 60 days or more in arrears. Not arguing fair or unfair; just reality. Hard reality is: Pay your service bill or service stops.

But there's also another reality happening here. They've shut off 12,500 homes in a 3 month period, have 10,000 at least that have asked for water assistance, and are trying to get 90,000 past due people to pay up. This in a city with a population of, well, less than 700,000, since people are leaving like rats deserting a sinking ship. (So, revisiting: 12,500=1.8%, 10,000=1.4%, 90,000=12.9%.) Think about those facts for a while and...well...it don't look good for Detroit.

(I wonder how many of the houses being turned off are abandoned, or occupied by squatters? Does a squatter have a human right to city-supplied water?)

And it will get worse with the loss of the Flint income. Next year, the water bills will jump, probably from $65 to $85-$95, due to the loss of income. Maybe even higher, since they're losing money at the current rate.

I am relieved I don't live there.

(Also: Rarely drink; last drink last year at a dinner; one glass of wine then; so...not drunk by noon on the 4th. Concede that I was not out of bed by noon on the 4th, since I stayed up until 5am.)
In all fairness...

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby addams » Mon Jul 07, 2014 6:29 am UTC

I am relieved I don't live there.


Yes. I am relieved I don't live there, too.
I don't have good survival skills for that environment.

This sort of thing is what Americans are to read about in the Newspaper and cluck about over brunch.
When it happens in a 3rd World Country.

Where are the deserters going?
There was a Toxic Spill in one of the Virginias.
The Refugees came to where I am.

There was a Storm named Katrina.
The Refugees came to where I am.

Will the Detroit Refugees start showing up?
If they are looking for water, we have water.

That could make some funny news.
But; It is usually not funny.

The stories of the US Refugees are heart breaking.
Some come with half a million dollars as cash in the bank.

Some come with only the clothes on their backs.
Often those clothes are worn and dirty.

What I am seeing is a wave of people from ElseWhere.
These people are like an echo of the ones that came before.

In the 1600's they were fishermen and fur trappers.
In the 1700's they were Adventurers and Pioneers.
In the 1800's they were Loggers and Settlers.
In the 1900's they were Hippies and Tourists.
In the 2000's they are Refugees and Retirees.

People don't set their sights on Detroit with the Hope of The Promised Land.
People do that with California, to this very day.

It makes me so sad that people come here with Hope for something Better and all they get is the same Shit with a Great View.

oh. To answer your question:
Yes. I think all people should get Hand Outs from the Government in the form of Clean Safe Water.

The Executives from the Virginias don't stay there.
The Executives that make these choices come here.

That Retirement Money they earned came from the Government.
They mismanaged our common resources, made a profit and moved to where the Environmentalist Won one round.

It is infuriating.
Is there one thing funny about a city with water problems?

The individual stories will make good Family FolkLore.
How awful! You think a city full of people without water is OK??

No water=No Flush.
They can't Go Wild.
There is no wild.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Diadem » Mon Jul 07, 2014 7:57 am UTC

Coyne wrote:Detroit is only turning off water if you're 60 days or more in arrears. Not arguing fair or unfair; just reality. Hard reality is: Pay your service bill or service stops.

This is one of those statements that sounds logical but is actually meaningless. You're begging the question. It's only a 'hard reality' because you think it should be one. You might as well say "Hard reality is: Deal with the fact that water is a human right, or don't try to be a water company".

I think it's a very good idea to ban utility companies from shutting down their service, except in the most extreme of cases. But you do need a good legal framework if you do that. There needs to be a reliable and relatively cheap way for utility companies to go after non-payers, to force them to pay. And I suppose you need a society where the overwhelming majority of people are actually able to pay for their utilities.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Crissa » Mon Jul 07, 2014 8:17 am UTC

Has it been pointed out that all these people owe less in aggregate than any one of the top three accounts in arrears? There are apparently alot of commercial/industrial/governmental customers who are late in payments. Accounts which are 'in negotiation' and not 'being shut off'?

-Crissa
Last edited by Crissa on Mon Jul 07, 2014 9:36 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Thesh » Mon Jul 07, 2014 8:36 am UTC

I think water is a fundamental human right, but up to a point. Having unlimited water for free, if people are using it for running sprinklers an hour a day and stuff like that is a bit ridiculous. However, I wonder it would be possible to implement an hourly cap or something like that. So instead of shutting off service, you get limited to maybe one gallon in any given hour.

Of course, that would require significant investment in an impoverished city, so for this particular case we should be looking for a solution to solve the underlying problems; I suspect we won't, however, since Detroit needs outside help, and the state and congress are unwilling to do anything because the right wants to use Detroit as a political talking point. Seriously, politicians are fucking scumbags - who gives a shit about human beings, you have elections to win.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Jul 07, 2014 12:26 pm UTC

Wait, isn't the water to your house controlled by a valve? That is, currently, you can turn the water down to a drizzle rather than off entirely? So a person would be able to flush a toilet twice a day and get enough drinking water by leaving a jug under the faucet for a half hour, but not take a shower or clean dishes?

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Jul 07, 2014 1:35 pm UTC

Coyne wrote:Usually, if you don't pay your bill, you get your service shut off. Here in Florida, I once neglected a gas bill to 7 days past the due date and...*bam*...shut off. (It wouldn't have been so bad if the shut-off hadn't corresponded with arrival of a cold snap...5 shivery days to get it turned on again.)

Detroit is only turning off water if you're 60 days or more in arrears. Not arguing fair or unfair; just reality. Hard reality is: Pay your service bill or service stops.


At the end of the day, SOMEONE has to pay for services. Detroit is rapidly running out of someones that can/will pay. 7 days is indeed pretty short, but 60 days is more reasonable. And you need some kind of cutoff for unoccupied homes and what not...otherwise, leaks and drips will just eat at your capacity(and possibly cause damage to homes) as things deteriorate.

Crissa wrote:Has it been pointed out that all these people owe less in aggregate than any one of the top three accounts in arrears? There are apparently alot of commercial/industrial/governmental customers who are late in payments. Accounts which are 'in negotiation' and not 'being shut off'?

-Crissa


What is owed may not correlate to what is used. It's rather common for water to be fairly inexpensive up to a fairly decent quantity to residential locations...it often isn't cost effective to meter/pay by the gallon until large levels. Thus, heavy users may be paying a substantially higher price per gallon than residential customers. Additionally, it is much more difficult to negotiate with thousands of individuals than one company, and probably less cost effective.

The same issue likely arises for any interesting technical solutions...installing them on thousands of homes would be sufficiently costly as to not be a practical option for Detroit right now.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby nitePhyyre » Mon Jul 07, 2014 6:41 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:I think it's a very good idea to ban utility companies from shutting down their service, except in the most extreme of cases. But you do need a good legal framework if you do that. There needs to be a reliable and relatively cheap way for utility companies to go after non-payers, to force them to pay. And I suppose you need a society where the overwhelming majority of people are actually able to pay for their utilities.
We have that here in Quebec. Most people heat with electricity. Power can't be cut off, and has to be restored if its already been cut off, for basically the entire winter. Which is from September to like mid-June.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Crissa » Mon Jul 07, 2014 6:55 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:What is owed may not correlate to what is used. It's rather common...

    Look, none of your argument supported your argument:

  1. Metering is irrelevant to whether they cut off the water. There's still a bill, and a shut-off valve.
  2. You provided no evidence of the pricing scheme. It could be that large users pay less per gallon (which is almost always true for industrial users).
  3. Nor have you said why they shouldn't shut off the big fish before the little ones.

Do you even know where Detroit gets its water?

-Crissa

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby DSenette » Mon Jul 07, 2014 7:53 pm UTC

Crissa wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:What is owed may not correlate to what is used. It's rather common...

    Look, none of your argument supported your argument:

  1. Metering is irrelevant to whether they cut off the water. There's still a bill, and a shut-off valve.
  2. You provided no evidence of the pricing scheme. It could be that large users pay less per gallon (which is almost always true for industrial users).
  3. Nor have you said why they shouldn't shut off the big fish before the little ones.

Do you even know where Detroit gets its water?

-Crissa

every home I've ever lived in (none of them being in Detroit) has had a water meter (just like the electric meter) that someone comes around and checks once a month...which is how they bill you for water.

as an industrial customer (or someone that works for one) I can assure you we pay far less per gallon for water than the trailer park in the lot behind us does. our water prices were negotiated 12 years in advance when we signed the contract on the property

as for shutting off the big fish first....it's much more feasible to assume the big fish has more of a chance of paying SOMETHING on the big bill, than the little fish has of paying anything on the little bill.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby addams » Mon Jul 07, 2014 10:33 pm UTC

Detoit is one of those places with four seasons.
That means summers are Hot.

What were those numbers?
http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/06/24/un ... rs-report/

One hundred and fifty thousand people without water?
For Fucks Sake. In the Heat of the Summer. Fuck!

The Refugee Camps in the MiddleEast are doing better than that.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m648v4s5sFc
The night does not give relief to people that can't shower.

Detroit must be like a War Zone.
Basic necessities of civil live are denied to the people.
The people are in danger from Violence both from uniformed persons and irregular persons.

That sounds like the sort of situation people walk away from.
The ones that can't walk away may die.

http://www.wnd.com/2014/06/u-n-to-inter ... -shutoffs/
It is nice to know the UN, at least, listens to us.
Even to us. That is nice. I hope they can help.

It's only 81 F in Detroit.
It can easily get into the nineties

The lake makes it humid.
Not too bad, if you can take a shower.


I know for a fact, because I have experience,
Living without water is harder than living without electricity.

Well...We had wood heat.
Wood heat will not work in cities.

Remember the Smog of London?
Coal and wood did that.

Poor Detroit.
http://www.dwsd.org/pages_n/billpay.html
Someone has been telling the people Mr. Obama will pay their bills.


Maybe, the UN will help. Mr. Obama can't.
Mr. Obama does not have the power to help.

Mr. Obama is the president of one of the world's poorest nations.
4 Trillion dollars in debt is not Rich.

When George II was criticized about Executive Policies,
He said, "Let History Judge."

Hell-o! History as arrived a little earlier than expected.
Most of those guys expect to be dead of natural causes before Detroit runs out of water.

The Policy makers that ran the ship into the rocks got off board with enough cash to buy security.

The poor people of the US are suffering.
Not just in the North East.

The North East has a rough climate.
Their suffering is highly noticeable.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Coyne » Mon Jul 07, 2014 11:58 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:
Coyne wrote:Detroit is only turning off water if you're 60 days or more in arrears. Not arguing fair or unfair; just reality. Hard reality is: Pay your service bill or service stops.

This is one of those statements that sounds logical but is actually meaningless. You're begging the question. It's only a 'hard reality' because you think it should be one. You might as well say "Hard reality is: Deal with the fact that water is a human right, or don't try to be a water company".

I think it's a very good idea to ban utility companies from shutting down their service, except in the most extreme of cases. But you do need a good legal framework if you do that. There needs to be a reliable and relatively cheap way for utility companies to go after non-payers, to force them to pay. And I suppose you need a society where the overwhelming majority of people are actually able to pay for their utilities.

No, actually hard reality arises in the fact that Detroit has to pay to deliver the water. It can't pay unless it has income. You can pay your water bill to provide that income, or it might be paid as part of your taxes, which we will just jack up to cover it (then no one needs a bill). The service could be provided by a company, but then the company would want paid and would turn the service off if it isn't. Or maybe we could just double the bill of everyone who is paying, in order to cover the bills of those who aren't.

(I note that I made an error in my figures last message: I compared people to bills. Better figures would go like this: There are 700,000 people in Detroit, as of 2014, and a family is 4.5 give or take. So there are 155,555 family homes, presumptively, and of those, 90,000...58%...are in arrears. I'm sure you could get more precise figures, but how are you supposed to pay to operate a water system when 58% don't pay on time?)

Since no one has to pay (your view) then I guess the water system will just shut down, since there's no money to pay for infrastructure or consumables (power) to run the system. So how about that? Detroit should just pull the plug, since no one wants to pay, and tell everyone, "Get a bucket...there's the lake." I'm sure companies would rise up to carry buckets or even use water trucks in that case...but then those companies would have to be paid or would not deliver water.

There are many cases where I agree with you as far as right to water. The idea of companies taking over a water system with a promise of improvements, jacking the rates up 400% to return a good profit, and then doing nothing comes to mind. But delivering water is not free; some payment has to be made by someone, even if it's only the effort of carrying a bucket.

But this is not one of those cases. Even "rights" must yield to reality. It appears to me that Detroit is in the position of arm-twisting or else turning off the whole shebang. Even confiscating houses for non-payment wouldn't help them with the problem, at this point. There's no money in houses there; the median price is $40,000, holding at the moment but there are few takers.

Basically, we're watching the disintegration of a city; with a diaspora in progress.
In all fairness...

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Adacore » Tue Jul 08, 2014 12:21 am UTC

Coyne wrote:Since no one has to pay (your view) then I guess the water system will just shut down, since there's no money to pay for infrastructure or consumables (power) to run the system. So how about that? Detroit should just pull the plug, since no one wants to pay, and tell everyone, "Get a bucket...there's the lake." I'm sure companies would rise up to carry buckets or even use water trucks in that case...but then those companies would have to be paid or would not deliver water.

But it's not that people don't have to pay, it's just that they can't be shut off. The company can still bill for water used, can still send a debt collection agent to get the money owed, can still prosecute for non-payment. I don't think most people would go that route. I think most people would pay their water bill, which would, as you say, be slightly higher to cover those who do not.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby morriswalters » Tue Jul 08, 2014 1:45 am UTC

Adacore wrote:
Coyne wrote:Since no one has to pay (your view) then I guess the water system will just shut down, since there's no money to pay for infrastructure or consumables (power) to run the system. So how about that? Detroit should just pull the plug, since no one wants to pay, and tell everyone, "Get a bucket...there's the lake." I'm sure companies would rise up to carry buckets or even use water trucks in that case...but then those companies would have to be paid or would not deliver water.

But it's not that people don't have to pay, it's just that they can't be shut off. The company can still bill for water used, can still send a debt collection agent to get the money owed, can still prosecute for non-payment. I don't think most people would go that route. I think most people would pay their water bill, which would, as you say, be slightly higher to cover those who do not.
What makes you assume that people would pay the bill? I pay the bill every time it's due, and thank the water company for providing me some of the safest water in the world. Give me a realistic way of doing it that doesn't impact quality or increase the cost so much that marginal people who can pay today are left in the position of not being able to pay in the future and we can talk.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby addams » Tue Jul 08, 2014 2:18 am UTC

Mismanagment comes to mind.
That is not a problem the people of Detroit can tackle at the moment.

A Human Right?
Fancy Human Rights?

If you have money, you buy water.
If you don't have money, you die.

Survival of the Richest.
Darwin would understand.

In his day, people did not get an MRI on the Government Tit.
In his day, people did not take water for granted.

Bill Gates and Co have come up with a way to combat Cholera.
That is good news. When municipal water is fouled Cholera shows up.

It does not bother you to know the US, as a matter of policy, does not provide essential goods to her people?
Why? It, sort of, bothers me.

Who can feel safe when Money is the only Real Value a person has?
Who can feel proud?

The people in my nation live in a Caste System.
A really bad one, too. A change in Caste can come unexpectedly.

No one is safe.
You may think you are safe.

What? You think your money will keep you safe?
It might. It might not, too. No one is safe in this environment.

If it were you, who would you turn to?
Does anyone remember why we have Governments?

To make War and To....anything else?
The US used to make Roads and Bridges.

We don't do that as well as we once did.
How can we spend money on fancy bridges when we can't give our people water.

The People act horrible. They complain.
Some will waste water like immature children.

Still...The people of Detroit are People and by virtue of their inclusion in our species, they should have their basic needs met.
By who? Me?

I have some water.
It is darned hard to transport.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

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Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Coyne » Tue Jul 08, 2014 3:28 am UTC

Adacore wrote:
Coyne wrote:Since no one has to pay (your view) then I guess the water system will just shut down, since there's no money to pay for infrastructure or consumables (power) to run the system. So how about that? Detroit should just pull the plug, since no one wants to pay, and tell everyone, "Get a bucket...there's the lake." I'm sure companies would rise up to carry buckets or even use water trucks in that case...but then those companies would have to be paid or would not deliver water.

But it's not that people don't have to pay, it's just that they can't be shut off. The company can still bill for water used, can still send a debt collection agent to get the money owed, can still prosecute for non-payment. I don't think most people would go that route. I think most people would pay their water bill, which would, as you say, be slightly higher to cover those who do not.


So you're saying it's fair that the people who do pay, to have to pay a little more because their neighbors won't pay?

Billing has already been tried; that's why they're getting turned off, because they were billed and won't pay. Debt collection won't help; even if a debt collector will buy the debt, they'll want a 40% discount from the city...and will offer that only if they think they can get money from the debtor. Prosecute for non-payment? Are you honest-to-goodness recommending debtor's prison? That we lock up Dad and then Mom for nonpayment and throw the kids into foster care? (Well, I guess that does mean Detroit can turn off the water to the house.)

You didn't suggest foreclosing or condemning the house; those, too, would allow Detroit to turn off the water. Foreclosure isn't likely to recover much money with 180 homes a month being sold, at $39,000 median. (Emphasize that: Median $39K and no takers.) Condemnation doesn't help at all; it leaves the city with a house to destroy.

Frankly, looking at the situation as an outsider, I don't see any way out for Detroit. Flint doesn't trust Detroit's ability to continue to operate their system; that's why Flint is disconnecting. There's no one left to pay. The fundamental problem is that there's no work (14.5% unemployment) and the population that peaked at 1.85 million in 1950 was down to 714,000 in 2012 (Wikipedia says 681,000 in 2013).

There's always a minimum cost just for maintenance of a water system; for pipelines, valves, pumps, and etc. If Wikipedia is right, they've lost 33,000 people--4.6% of the population--in a year; I don't see how the people remaining can even pay the infrastructure costs. When Detroit can't do that anymore...no water for anyone.

Where do they go from here? Federal subsidy?

ADDENDUM: One of the problems I've heard that they have is that people are scattered out. Maybe they should pay people to move, to consolidate or leave so they can turn off whole areas of the city, to reduce costs.
In all fairness...


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