Re: Things

1

3. Guessed eight of those before I even looked at the list, and I'm not even American.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 8:29 AM
horizontal rule
2

South Dakota is an outlier in their region. John Emerson told med they were corrupt there, and also very racist against their Indians. This is maybe a reach, but I wonder if the two are connected, South Dakota having more race baiting and identity politics.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 8:30 AM
horizontal rule
3

That was me.


Posted by: David the Unfogged Commenter | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 8:31 AM
horizontal rule
4

1 is correct.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 8:40 AM
horizontal rule
5

Wow, good ol' Kentucky. I had no idea.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 8:42 AM
horizontal rule
6

I didn't realize South Dakota was still like that. When I think of South Dakota corruption I think old timey Deadwood, Black Hills, etc. and my mental image of modern South Dakota is mostly bison and Mt Rushmore.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 8:55 AM
horizontal rule
7

They gave tax breaks and exemptions from usury laws to get a bunch of banks to move in.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 9:05 AM
horizontal rule
8

Reading about Detroit has the feel of news from Somalia or the Middle East, "oh hey, that far off place is totally fucked".


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 9:06 AM
horizontal rule
9

Yes.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 9:18 AM
horizontal rule
10

#1. Even the annual northeast L.A. time-lapse? I love it so.

Last year when φ was not four months old we got home from our friends' party, driving under a gentle freeway Fallujah of unofficial celebrations, to find out that our next-door neighbors host our block's own fireworks. Last night we came home a little earlier, since a 15-mo-old's bedtime is less flexible than a 3-month-old's. Φ was entranced by the fireworks, saying "Whoa. Whoa. Whoa" and signing "more" over and over again. We held her loveys to her ears for the bigger booms and our neighbor drunk-apologeticly filled us in on her lifelong neighborhood tradition while a series of twelve-year-old boys lit Roman candles in the street.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 9:24 AM
horizontal rule
11

Huh the html greek letter knows from capitalization.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 9:25 AM
horizontal rule
12

My guess of "PA and a bunch of Southern states" was close enough.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 9:31 AM
horizontal rule
13

I was a little relieved that Texas wasn't on the list. I didn't quite expect it to be there, but I don't expect us to fair well in general.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 9:36 AM
horizontal rule
14

Every time I read about Detroit I'm like "so this was the new bohemian paradise?"


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 9:39 AM
horizontal rule
15

Huh the html greek letter knows from capitalization.

Of course! Gotta distinguish your Γ from your γ. We can also distinguish between σ and ς!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 9:45 AM
horizontal rule
16

We can also distinguish between σ and ς!

Would you please point this out to the Oxford University Press, who have decided (some time ago) to use a lunate sigma throughout, possibly because they want me to hunt them down and kill them.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 9:56 AM
horizontal rule
17

Half the people I know write xi and read it aloud as "zeta" or vice versa. It's one of life's minor annoyances.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 10:06 AM
horizontal rule
18

14 -- your bold stance of finding Detroit overrated is truly contrarian.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 10:17 AM
horizontal rule
19

I realize the city of Detroit is in an impossible position, but cutting off water to people who cannot afford to pay seems like a human rights violation. Does any other level of govt (state? federal?) have any sort of obligation here?


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 10:56 AM
horizontal rule
20

I have a real hard time with the human right to water. Water delivery and treatment is expensive! Those costs don't go away if people can't pay them. American standards of "can't pay" don't seem right to me. A district delivering drinking water quality water, pressurized, on demand is expected to keep those costs under 2 to 3% of the local median income. If it is more than that, water rates are "unaffordable".

But if it legitimately costs more than that, what should districts (or cities) do? Take it from property's taxes secretly, so that it is not transparent in the water rates? Soak the rich? (I could be persuaded of this without much persuading.)

Release one of the constraints? Water could come on a scheduled rotation? The quality could be worse (not meet odor or taste standards but still safe)? Not deliver to every house, but get a supply within a quarter mile? Americans won't accept that either, but they won't pay what it takes to keep the level of service they are used to.

The other thing I don't like about ex human right to water is, do we have to supply every human with water no matter where they want to be? You have to get a lateral out to some fucking hermit ten uphill miles away with no neighbors, just because it is her right to have water? What if that hermit is poor and can't afford the exceptional costs of that delivery?

Unless the human right to water includes socializing the costs of delivering water, it doesn't make sense to me. Far as I know, those are decoupled right now, leaving situations like Detroit.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 11:17 AM
horizontal rule
21

18 jeez, who pissed in your morning stein of bacon grease?


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 11:19 AM
horizontal rule
22

Water could come on a scheduled rotation?

Like my dad's lawn sprinkler system.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 11:26 AM
horizontal rule
23

Your other human rights (to gather, to worship as you please, to spread information) don't require expensive infrastructure that someone must pay for. (They could get organized into something with those costs, but don't have to be that to grant the right.). Unless the human right to water means "we will collectively cover the costs of water deliver to everyone", it poses a lot of real problems. Right now it isn't explicitly that declaration. It just says you have a right to water, as if that will summon the unicorns with the freshwater flow from their horns.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 11:29 AM
horizontal rule
24

The only reason why this is even an issue on Detroit is (like everything else there) the jurisdictional boundaries of the city don't match the economy of the region, with the city left to pay off legacy costs (which as the article says means that Detroit residents are forced to pay very unusually high costs for water despite being very unusually poor). You could solve this problem in 10 minutes at not huge cost with a law requiring regional financing for water, a merger of the city and suburban delivery systems, and subsidies for low income customers.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 11:35 AM
horizontal rule
25

Politically speaking, that's less realistic than somebody with no actual authority declaring water a universal human right and expecting it to work out.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 11:38 AM
horizontal rule
26

22. Yes, probably. In some developing countries the water supply to whatever the polite local term for unplanned slums is consists of a standpipe that works for an hour twice a day, or something like that. You stand in line. If you can't get there or you don't have a jerry can or whatever, you're shit out of luck. Water shortage, coming soon to a suburb near you.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 11:40 AM
horizontal rule
27

When everybody knows that the only thing that summons the unicorns is pouring fresh cement for new dams.

What will have to happen is for a municipality forced to provide expensive water for free or nearly free to sue the state for the costs (California passed a right to water law.) so it becomes clear where the money for this comes from.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 11:43 AM
horizontal rule
28

25 -- don't necessarily disagree, just pointing out that this isn't a situation where you need to talk about "rights" at all, just marginally better regional government.


Posted by: Roberto Peron | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 11:43 AM
horizontal rule
29

Water on rotation, if it really comes, doesn't seem unendurable. But it isn't a first world standard of living.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 11:44 AM
horizontal rule
30

But it isn't a first world standard of living.

Hasn't been hitherto. I rather think we (our children?) are all going to have to adjust our expectations or else reach for the pitchforks. Actually, never mind the pitchforks, it's too late for that. Buy real estate on Ellesmere Island.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 11:53 AM
horizontal rule
31

Speaking of moving north, I was checking out the pictures and maps of Gimli, MB the other day. Had not realized it was a fancy beach town. The Gimli Community Medical Center is also bland and corporate-looking, not uncanny at all.

Maybe I can get rich in the financial industry and buy some land up there and get a big enough investment in a Canadian business that I can immigrate. That would be nice. Then Catstock can come visit! We'll be Canada buddies, eh?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 11:59 AM
horizontal rule
32

Isn't he from the fancy part of Canada and you'd be moving to the Greater North Dakota part?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 12:13 PM
horizontal rule
33

Well, surely he drives back and forth between the fancy parts quite often.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 12:25 PM
horizontal rule
34

Then Catstock can come visit!

I imagine that would be a nice thing: maybe Castock would like to get out of town more often. I suspect you two would like one another.

If this is the general Things thread, I found this item on an academic exercise in women not shaving most entertaining.

The norm of women shaving body hair dates back to an effort by Gillette to expand their market for razors. Starting around 1915, Gillette started a campaign "denouncing the (previously inoffensive) female underarm hair as 'unsightly', 'masculine' and 'unclean'." In the 1920s, they expanded their efforts to leg hair, glamorizing "a smooth, silky leg."
Still, "[b]efore the first world war, virtually no American woman shaved her legs. By 1964, 98% of women under the age of 44 did so."

Fascinating!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 12:29 PM
horizontal rule
35

23: Healthcare is a human right.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 12:38 PM
horizontal rule
36

Your other human rights (to gather, to worship as you please, to spread information) don't require expensive infrastructure that someone must pay for.

I take it you don't acknowledge a human right to education? food? shelter?


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 1:02 PM
horizontal rule
37

Halford is clearly right on this matter, though I'd be inclined to insist that the human right to water* requires regional financing: thereby neatly addressing both issues.

* Granted, Megan's note in 20,

do we have to supply every human with water no matter where they want to be? You have to get a lateral out to some fucking hermit ten uphill miles away with no neighbors, just because it is her right to have water?

is well taken. Probably best to consider this a community right to water, or some such.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 1:24 PM
horizontal rule
38

Or due process of law?


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 1:24 PM
horizontal rule
39

||
Is rolling coal a real thing, or one of these trend stories where some journalist is picking up on something that basically never happens?
|>


Posted by: sral | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 1:33 PM
horizontal rule
40

Either way, it's a solid effort to keep this the dumbest country on earth.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 1:42 PM
horizontal rule
41

Halford is sorta right on this issue and maybe he is right about Detroit, which I don't know much about. But the human right to water in California mostly involves poor Central Valley towns, where there isn't a rich jurisdiction for 150 mile radius. A regional approach isn't a cure-all. The regional entity that could spread those costs out in a way that wouldn't cause immediate counter-pressure is pretty much the State.

Maybe that's what the State meant when we passed a human right to water. And that's much more how I think of public education, less as a right than as a declaration that it is so important to us that the populace be literate that we will pay for it for everyone. That isn't what the state said, though. They said "human right to water", leaving much undefined, and the magic part about supplying it to people who can't afford the infrastructure was left as an exercise for the reader.

Maybe we meet that need by moving those people to a city with a better supply and existing infrastructure? But no one ever says that.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 2:44 PM
horizontal rule
42

I take it you don't acknowledge a human right to education? food? shelter?

For free to them? No matter where they are? If they can't spread the costs over their broader community? For whatever they can pay, no matter how expensive it is to provide? I mean, towns in CA could put wellhead treatment devices on their wells for, I dunno, half their income all the time. This is water we're talking about, so maybe that's worth it? Should we require that because they have a right to water and we're going to enforce it? Or we pay it, because that community is so important that we want it to persist in the absence of locally available potable water?

I dunno. Unless the issue is so black and white and abstract that it overrides all physical considerations, I don't believe in a human right to water.

Or maybe it is a right like the ones you name (food, shelter) and equally ignored in real life.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 2:55 PM
horizontal rule
43

Lest you think there is some gotcha about Los Angeles in that last sentence, I point out that whatever else you think of the city, it can afford and does pay for the supplies it needs.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 3:03 PM
horizontal rule
44

Seriously, in a country as rich as this, it is ludicrous to imply there's a meaningful cost barrier to education, health care, legal , water, shelter, etc. By all means water rights are probably screwed up for reasons I don't know, but access to clean drinking and washing water is not that.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 3:20 PM
horizontal rule
45

In the specific case of Detroit, Halford is totally correct that the easy fix is to regionalize the water system. I think the only government with the power to do that would be the state. It would drive up suburban water rates, so presumably it's not going to happen.

On the general issue, there's a big difference between "water" and "treated water piped to every house."


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 3:28 PM
horizontal rule
46

I'm very fond of having treated water piped to my house. I don't give a shit about anyone having a lawn, but hands off my functional sink.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 3:54 PM
horizontal rule
47

I'm fond of my decorative sink, but guests keep saying they'd rather be able to wash after they use the toilet.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 4:00 PM
horizontal rule
48

Megan is being unusually unreasonable on this. Yes, other human rights require a very expensive infrastructure to enforce. Your right to a fair trial requires, eg, courtrooms. And the solution to the hypothetical poor hermit, who can afford to build a house ten miles from the nearest road but is still somehow poor, is to tell her: we will not pass that house as legally habitable unless you also build a water supply.

Cutting people off from water is just not acceptable. If you want their money, get a lien on their assets or garnish their wages. The legal system of the US has many tools available for this problem. And making someone liable for the debts of a previous owner of their house is utterly nuts.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 5:00 PM
horizontal rule
49

And making someone liable for the debts of a previous owner of their house is utterly nuts.

Water bills (and property taxes) are always like that. I assume the person in the story was defrauded by a realtor or the previous seller.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 5:07 PM
horizontal rule
50

Basically, the way the handle it is, like you said, get a lien on their assets. The asset being the house.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 5:10 PM
horizontal rule
51

"the way they"


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 5:11 PM
horizontal rule
52

There are a non-negligible number of impoverished communities in California's central valley without access to safe drinking water or sanitary sewage disposal that are well within 150 miles of communities able to pay for the necessary infrastructure. There are areas where the municipal limits have clear doughnut holes cut in them specifically in order to deprive poor neighborhoods of access to municipal services. Megan, you are absolutely correct that there are many, many egregious examples in CA of unsustainable communities that never should have been built that are clearly without any means of paying for their infrastructure - often mid-20th c "get away from it all" ranchette type subdivisions marketed to the middle/lower-middle class. BUT anyone living in North America and not growing all their own food or getting it exclusively from local CSAs should acknowledge that their cheap produce is produced on the backs of an immensely impoverished workforce living in substandard, unstable housing with a highly precarious water supply that is in most instances untreated, often polluted with nitrogen from fertilizer contamination leading to "blue babies" and in some areas contaminated with naturally occurring arsenic (there is a big belt of it running through the southern San Joaquin valley). Also, no or failing septic systems so that children play with raw sewage lying on the ground around them.

Bon appetit and hope you enjoy your rock bottom food bill, North America!


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 5:30 PM
horizontal rule
53

Don't utilities have to keep residential heat on during winter even if people can't pay the bill?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 5:32 PM
horizontal rule
54

Certain winter conditions, I mean. Not places with relatively warm winters.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 5:34 PM
horizontal rule
55

Most of the people who are confronted with this situation in California (can't speak to Detroit) are people who are already there, but their water supply is changing away from them. They are in a small town in the foothills served by a fractured rock well and with less snowfall from climate change, their community well is drying up. They drink well water in the Central Valley and nitrates have accumulated so much from over fertilization for the last forty years that their community well now doesn't meet quality standards. They have been poor and haven't paid for maintenance on their drinking water delivery system for four decades and it needs a total replacement now.

They exist. They can't pay what it would cost to have first world service. There aren't close rich suburbs to tap into, even if that were politically possible. I don't see any evidence that anyone is willing to release the unspoken constraints (quality, service levels, location) and I see no source of the money that can meet the constraints. I am completely on board for the pitchforks option, that would be fine. But the Stqte didn't say it would cover those costs, and they would be really phenomenal. Given that, I don't see how saying there is right to potable, delivered water wherever you are is anything more than a magic incantation.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 5:36 PM
horizontal rule
56

53: There are some additional rules, but basically no.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 5:38 PM
horizontal rule
57

I'm very fond of having treated water piped to my house.

Are you willing to pay for it?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 5:39 PM
horizontal rule
58

I don't understand exactly what you're getting at. That the water shortage is so severe that we can sustainably afford drinking water as a nation but should require ourselves to have to buy it at the grocery store?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 5:43 PM
horizontal rule
59

Just to be clear, I'm fine with tapping regional wealth if it is there. But it isn't always. It can be a source of injustice too. If you are in a fiscally solid district that paid high rates for the last fifty years so you could do timely maintenance and you learned that your district is forced to annex the district over that gloried in cheap rates and deferred maintenance, and now your rates would triple to cover the new costs of replacing the delivery system the neighbor district, you have been screwed.

This sort of forced annexation (to the great relief of the fuckup district and the detriment of the responsible district) is on the table as we try to figure out what to do abut the incredible liability of failing districts. It may be aligned with poverty and wealth in a sympathetic way, but it isn't always that clearcut.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 5:44 PM
horizontal rule
60

If there's one thing government definitely should not be doing, it's keeping people from dying for easily preventable reasons.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 5:50 PM
horizontal rule
61

Pittsburgh has a law about when you can't tear down your house if it shares a wall with another house.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 5:50 PM
horizontal rule
62

The cost of the water itself is rarely the expensive part. The expensive part is collecting, treating and delivering it. Those are really super pricey and Americans recall water district boards and defer maintenance if they rise above about 3% of median income. They have been fundamentally unwilling to pay more so far. Given how important it is, I am not very sympathetic with that, but what should it be? Half your paycheck to have it arrive at your house, clean whenever you want? A quarter? Fifteen percent? Doesn't sound that unreasonable, but that's five times more than you pay now, and I bet a mayor would fall if he proposed it. Or the district Board would get recalled.

I don't see a solution space within the current constraints, which is why I think that declarations that it should magically be different are pretty pointless.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 5:50 PM
horizontal rule
63

58: What? No. There's no water shortage, at least on a national level, though there are of course places that are undergoing severe droughts. My point is that treating water and piping it to every house is expensive, even if the water itself is plentiful, and someone has to pay those costs. Traditionally in the US that's been the end user, and fixed costs have been spread among the customers of local water utilities. The problem the city of Detroit is facing, as a local water utility, is that many of its customers are too poor to pay their share of the costs of the system, and the city itself is too broke to pay those costs out of other revenues. There's no easy solution to this from the city's perspective, so if it is going to be solved fairly it probably needs to be done at a higher level.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 5:52 PM
horizontal rule
64

I'm not sure what the exact criteria is, but we're allowed to have a untreated shit flowing into the rivers after heavy rains because nobody could afford the bills necessary to repair the sewers all at once.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 5:53 PM
horizontal rule
65

Megan is being unusually obtuse and offensive here. The state passed a good law declaring a right to clean water, which is indeed a basic human right in a rich country. The bill didn't provide a specific funding source, but does require all state agencies, including hers, to consider that right in setting their own policy. While this isn't easy to do, the fact is that it's perfectly possible to design and fund potable water for most Californians and the measure was designed to prompt better enforcement and to direct government attention to precisely the kinds of problems Dairy Queen is talking about -- to the extent the bill does this, it is a good and necessary thing. Does the bill solve all possible problems? No. Is the state of California rich enough to provide potable water to all or nearly all of its citizens? Absolutely, and the fact that bureaucrats in the implementing agency are whining about having to implement this basic right is a good thing, not a bad thing.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 6:19 PM
horizontal rule
66

There are about 10-20 tiny communities that were built in such a way as to now in the drought be at serious risk of running out of water, and it is indeed hard to solve that problem (within bureaucratic and fiscal constraints, not actual constraints). But that's a very small scale problem. By far the bigger problem are as Dairy Queen says Central Valley towns that completely unjustifiably, and due in large part to just plain poor regulation, have nonpotable or affirmatively toxic water supplies for poor people, which is precisely the problem the bill Megan is complaining about was designed to help address.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 6:27 PM
horizontal rule
67

63: so you're asking me if, at a national level, should I be willing to pay for clean, piped water to all people living in houses which have been deemed habitable? Yes. As a nation, we should do so.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 6:29 PM
horizontal rule
68

Why are we getting hung up on the fact that some regions are dirt poor? We all think that wealth and resources ought to be redistributed more fairly.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 6:30 PM
horizontal rule
69

Right, and god forbid that we should try to make a move towards more equitable funding of a basic human need by describing it as a human right.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 6:32 PM
horizontal rule
70

I agree with Megan. People who want to isolate themselves and live in small communities off in the mountains should have the right to do that, but they don't have the right to spew out negative externalities by making everyone else pay for their water..


Posted by: dz | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 6:33 PM
horizontal rule
71

I agree with Megan. Colonizing Mars will be completely impractical if they demand fresh piped 7-up on tap.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 6:37 PM
horizontal rule
72

70 -- Megan is perhaps deliberately misframing the issue. The problem is almost entirely what to do with poor people, mostly poor rural Mexican farm workers, who have been zoned out of having access to clean and non-toxic water. There are a fee other issues with towns that have existed for a while and were long since accepted as habitable that are having problems with their water supply (though this is a much smaller problem). No one is suggesting that you can build literally wherever and have an automatic right to 100% free water, just that we can and should provide water to already existing (in most cases long existing) communities and that state agencies should direct policy towards that goal.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 6:38 PM
horizontal rule
73

Really what we're seeing with this issue is yet another example of the problems that arise from having so much of our governmental system operate at the local level.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 6:47 PM
horizontal rule
74

I don't know what the problem is in California, but I know the problem here is no one is willing to pay for the necessary infrastructure because everybody thinks water should be free.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 6:47 PM
horizontal rule
75

Let's all post our local water and sewer rates.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 7:14 PM
horizontal rule
76

$80/month, and I barely shit at all and don't have a lawn.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 7:16 PM
horizontal rule
77

Well, your state IS awfully corrupt.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 7:21 PM
horizontal rule
78

I think we're about $50/month, with two adults an a toddler. The marginal rate is about $13/hcf for combined water and sewer. That means about 96 gallons a day? When I put it that way, it suddenly seems like a lot, especially since we don't water anything outdoors.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 7:22 PM
horizontal rule
79

Ours is also combined with electricity, but I'd guess the sewer/water portion is over $100/month. Maybe $130ish? And we have drought resistant grass and rain barrels, so the yard isn't using hardly any because we're super virtuous.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 7:26 PM
horizontal rule
80

76: way to drive up health care costs and/or contribute to the heat island effect.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 7:28 PM
horizontal rule
81

Also we're in a slow recovery from one of the worst droughts we've faced. Not as severe as CA I think, but pretty bad.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 7:28 PM
horizontal rule
82

I think ours is the minimum residential rate.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 7:42 PM
horizontal rule
83

80: If it makes you feel better, my lot is small and mostly overshadowed by trees. And I just had a slice of blueberry pie.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 7:48 PM
horizontal rule
84

Hopefully with a scoop of ice cream.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 7:53 PM
horizontal rule
85

Yes, but I don't see how that helps Sifu's worries.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 7:56 PM
horizontal rule
86

But blueberry pie doesn't taste good without ice cream.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 7:58 PM
horizontal rule
87

||

Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you. Jesus Christ and the American soldier. One died for your soul. The other died for your freedom.

Thanks, Facebook!

|>


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 7:59 PM
horizontal rule
88

87: Which of them do you scorn more, heebz?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 8:00 PM
horizontal rule
89

86: I'm sure Sifu would be concerned about the quality of your dessert experience. Pie without ice cream is pathetic. Or at least sub-optimal.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 8:00 PM
horizontal rule
90

88: neither exactly? The premise that dying for someone else is a super awesome way to solve a problem?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 8:01 PM
horizontal rule
91

Bye, bye Miss Sub-optimal pie.
Try to find a way where nobody must die.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 8:12 PM
horizontal rule
92

But good old boys will still a-prosylethize.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 8:18 PM
horizontal rule
93

It's a song: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/jamesotto/soldiersjesus.html

(maybe not originally)


Posted by: ogged's southern cred | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 8:28 PM
horizontal rule
94

I'm wondering, what, theoretically, does it mean to some of you to be an industrialized country?

IMO, if I had to state a tangible difference between life in a developing country like China vs. a 'developed' country like the US, I would say a sense of security knowing there's a safety net would be a key difference. Particularly for the working poor in China, there's a very real fear that one major catastrophe could leave one on the streets. Another difference is that most Chinese people feel kind of like the system is corrupt and doesn't care about them or about any sort of abstract principles of justice or fairness, so there are no real means of redress. I think that Americans really still do have faith in the system.

For those who don't think potable water is a right, what is reasonable? Running non-potable water that people treat at home? Potable water stands people line up to get drinking water from? No running water at all? The system as is with no leniency and a yet another reason for a higher mortality rate for poor people?


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 9:44 PM
horizontal rule
95

Am I misunderstanding something? I live in a developed country where potable water is delivered to my house, but I have to pay for it, and, contra ajay at 48, if I fail do do so the supplier will eventually cut off my supply. Moreover, if I build a house in the wilderness where no water supply infrastructure exists, my right to a water supply stands, but the supplier will demand that I pay for them to build the infrastructure before they commence delivery.

Is it different in America?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07- 6-14 3:43 AM
horizontal rule
96

re: 95

Although I believe they probably wouldn't cut off the water in certain circumstances. Young children in the house, for example.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 6-14 4:14 AM
horizontal rule
97

I sometimes feel like I'm not an industrialized country at all.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 6-14 4:22 AM
horizontal rule
98

96. True. Then they'd get an attachment of earnings/benefits.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07- 6-14 4:23 AM
horizontal rule
99

95: That something is dreadfully broken if 12,000 people in Detroit have lost their water in the middle of the summer?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 6-14 5:22 AM
horizontal rule
100

I live in a developed country where potable water is delivered to my house, but I have to pay for it, and, contra ajay at 48, if I fail do do so the supplier will eventually cut off my supply

You also live in a developed country that has, by American standards, generous subsidies for those who cannot afford to pay for basic utilities. Would a city in your country cut off water to 12,000 low-income people in the heat of the summer?


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 07- 6-14 6:39 AM
horizontal rule
101

We get to decide on a state by state basis whether we want to have civilization or not. Here's what it looks like in Mass: http://www.masslegalhelp.org/special-protections-against-shut-offs


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07- 6-14 6:41 AM
horizontal rule
102

I remember that in Michigan it is illegal for them to shut off your heat in the winter. So they're familiar with the reasoning.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 6-14 6:50 AM
horizontal rule
103

Here's a table for electricity/gas shut off limits in various states. http://liheap.ncat.org/Disconnect/disconnect.htm These rules typically don't apply to municipal systems, so there's a different layer there too.

Water rules are probably spottier.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07- 6-14 6:51 AM
horizontal rule
104

Here in Deep Redstatia, I have been recently reminded that provision of water here is by necessity a matter of self-reliance, as the ongoing drought has left a lot of local water sources even more foul-smelling than usual.

My late grandmother had a particularly harsh malediction for a neighboring family she considered improvident (among the worst vices in her eyes) and a little stupid: "They're the kind of folk who'd build a house and then go lookin' for a spring".


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07- 6-14 8:22 AM
horizontal rule
105

I should have my basement well tested to see if it is safe.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 6-14 8:29 AM
horizontal rule
106

Would someone with the book care to comment on DeLong's Graeber latest criticism here? The quote DeLong put up doesn't give enough context to tell if he is being fair.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07- 6-14 12:24 PM
horizontal rule
107

Attacking fellow commenters as purposely "obtuse" and "unreasonable" doesn't meet the standards of polite conversation you guys normally have here...


Posted by: Noumenon72 | Link to this comment | 07- 6-14 1:06 PM
horizontal rule
108

Hey Noumenon72, go fuck yourself.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07- 6-14 1:21 PM
horizontal rule
109

The problem is that not having clean drinking water in communities is a serious problem and declaring a human right to water is not a serious response. There are two potential serious responses:

1. Saying who will fix it and with what money.
2. Releasing some of the constraints that make it too expensive for poor communities to do.

You can do both or a combination. But if you don't do either, you aren't actually handling the problem. Saying 'fix the problem' with undefined money and no commitment to funding it is pretty meaningless. A human right to water also creates the other problems I described above (does it commit a district to serve the hermit? How could it not, if it is a fundamental human right?).

It isn't necessary to do what needs to be done. What needs to be done isn't practically addressed by creating the right. It creates side problems. It is a feelgood magic incantation, no more.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07- 6-14 3:08 PM
horizontal rule
110

Like I said, the only way I see it being useful is for a municipality/district forced by a lawsuit under this right to provide water it can't afford to in turn use the State. That could create a chain of money. Without that chain of money, though, magic isn't going to provide drinking water treatment plants and pipes under streets.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07- 6-14 3:11 PM
horizontal rule
111

I'm never sure what anyone means by a "right" anyway.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 07- 6-14 3:12 PM
horizontal rule
112

111 is basically correct, but is true of all rights. In a modern state, all "rights" require resources of the state to be made effective (at a minimum, courts) and careful elaboraion of theor boundaries. That doesn't make them meaningless or unimportant. In the specific case of the law Megan is talking about, there is a statute that creates a universal "right" to clean water and requires state agencies to take this into consideration in their regulatory activities -- but that doesn't create a private right of action, establish specific new obligations on water districts, or apply to new developments. The primary idea was to spur better enforcement by state agencies of the toxic water conditions that prevail in part of the Central Valley, at the expense of purely agricultural considerations, plus to provide a legal background for decisions that actually can provide clean water to those who need it. That's far from meaningless. Everyone understands that infrastructure can't exist without implementation, but the creation of a statutory "right" to water can and should affect the implementation for the better.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07- 6-14 3:24 PM
horizontal rule
113

111: me either.


Posted by: dz | Link to this comment | 07- 6-14 3:43 PM
horizontal rule
114

Ah, 112 makes a lot of sense. If I understand right, you're saying that the "rights" language is a way that the legislature can grant broad powers to the courts on a specific issue if they trust the courts to deal with that issue better than the political branches.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 07- 6-14 3:53 PM
horizontal rule
115

OT: The tweeted tale of a wedding where the tables are named for Republican politicians. The tweeter was seated at George W. Bush.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07- 6-14 4:20 PM
horizontal rule
116

114: Like ensuring everybody has healthcare coverage?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 6-14 4:50 PM
horizontal rule
117

115 is pretty good.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 6-14 4:59 PM
horizontal rule
118

It is.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 6-14 5:07 PM
horizontal rule
119

Not great or anything.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 6-14 5:17 PM
horizontal rule
120

No Coolidge, Hoover, or Harding?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 07- 6-14 5:17 PM
horizontal rule
121

No Lincoln because he invaded the south.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 6-14 5:19 PM
horizontal rule
122

I think Lincoln was represented.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 6-14 5:46 PM
horizontal rule
123

On the Detroit water shutoffs, there are a couple points that haven't been mentioned that show up in coverage from the Free Press. I'll link an editorial that has most of the facts that I think complete the picture of what a mess the situation is. Detroit has about 90,000 residents in default, owing a total of $90 million. (Not addressed in this editorial, but these are largely not folks who've bought a home that should have had a lien placed for the previous owner.) The shutoff conditions are: owing more than $150 and no payments for the past 60 days. After a shutoff begins, 76% of customers paid or set up a payment plan within 48 hours (I strongly suspect the vast majority of these are not paying in full, but I couldn't find the breakdown because it's DWSD numbers). John Conyers is trying to get Obama to sanction use of a multimillion dollar grant for keeping people's water on, particularly because the city is not making exceptions of hardship cases. Finally, the UN has issued a statement saying that they are risking a public health crisis (think cholera) as well as disproportionately punishing African Americans, in violation of non-discrimination treaties ratified by the US.

So, a complete mess that's been decades in the making.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 07- 6-14 6:48 PM
horizontal rule
124

What would happen if a municipality decided they were too broke to provide, say, trial by jury?

If we start having numbers of poor people die of cholera, do we still get to call ourselves a developed country?


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 07- 6-14 9:47 PM
horizontal rule
125

a complete mess that's been decades in the making

I think this is where Megan and I frequently piss off y'all; the most likely ways we can think of to fend off such complete messes in the future tend to be kind of unfair, or at least kind of mean, now. And maybe we're catastrophizing, but there are plenty of actual catastrophes as precedent, so...


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 07- 7-14 12:51 PM
horizontal rule
126

(I would like to say that having lots of poor people die of cholera is one of the catastrophes, not a way to fend off messes.)


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 07- 7-14 12:52 PM
horizontal rule
127

Argh. I have been trying and retrying to draft a comment drawn from my professional experience (as in, things happening literally today) on the 'rights' stuff, and have decided I can't within the limits of what I can appropriately talk about. But the treetops level summary is that (1) Halford's kind of right that inchoate declarations of rights can turn into practical good effects down the road, but (2) Megan's right that it's a hell of a way to run a railroad. In a sane world you'd make the plan and allocate the resources when you declared the right, rather than just throwing your hat over the fence and figuring that the political branches will find a way to enforce the right when the courts make them do it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 7-14 1:15 PM
horizontal rule
128

Strategy (2) in 127 is terrifying for resources we can effectively run out of.

(Tangentially, the novel The Martian is great.)


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 07- 7-14 1:22 PM
horizontal rule
129

125: I think some of what is happening is that humans are optimized to the old climate, and have used up virtually all the capacity within it. So as the climate changes for the poorer, collections of people are also getting poorer, at the least in terms of being able to use resources without thinking about it and at most in big dollars. When we have conversations like this, I am usually saying things like 'by doing this, we can keep the losses to this minimum.' and the other person is saying 'but this group is really losing out!'. Then it sounds heartless to say, 'yeah, they are, that sucks for them. No, I don't see a win-win solution some other way. No, improved efficiencies don't cover it. No, there aren't untapped resources to fix this for them. Yes, they are genuinely damaged, even in a strategy that minimizes damage.'

I reiterate that I am always happy for a pitchforks strategy to redistribute hoarded wealth.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07- 7-14 2:43 PM
horizontal rule
130

There are specific initiatives afoot to address the particular issues Halford and I have described, and absolutely a legislative statement of intent is important for initiating agency action. There are actual real people within DWR who are more willing to help, and have more help to offer, as a result!

The systematic exclusion of poor communities (essentially, the agricultural work force) from municipal services is not a small problem, CRLA has identified 20 - 28 "islands" within EACH of Fresno, Tulare, Stanislaus and Tulare counties, with unincorporated communities sharing 75% or more of their boundaries with cities. There are many more with 1.5 miles of a municipality.

LAFCOs and other agencies are very well able to distinguish these communities from the foothill ranchette subdivisions with underfunded water districts, at least in communities not completely in thrall to the industry that, as I said initially, we all eat off of.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 07- 7-14 3:52 PM
horizontal rule
131

I think this is where Megan and I frequently piss off y'all; the most likely ways we can think of to fend off such complete messes in the future tend to be kind of unfair, or at least kind of mean, now. And maybe we're catastrophizing, but there are plenty of actual catastrophes as precedent, so...

Interesting. One one hand, that makes perfect sense. On the other hand that sounds like the most annoying sort of realipolitik arguments -- like only you and Megan are clearheaded enough to understand why the suffering is necessary.

On the third hand, this is exactly the sort of reason why people like us are attracted to the promise of good, technocratic governance, because statements of principle aren't a substitute for having somebody understand the issue and craft policy with some understanding of the trade-offs involved.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07- 7-14 3:58 PM
horizontal rule