July 1, 2017

"Turning off the streetlights saved about $1.25 million, but after thieves stole the copper wiring inside, the cost to fix the lights ran to some $5 million."

From "The Short, Unhappy Life of a Libertarian Paradise/The residents of Colorado Springs undertook a radical experiment in government. Here’s what they got" (Politico).

101 comments:

Bad Lieutenant said...

Nelson Muntz, call your office.

Michael K said...

Standard anti-Trump propaganda,

Tucson has streetlights only at major intersections.

The Mayor's mistake, if he made one, is that he should have sold the unused streetlights. Then the copper would have gone with them

Tucson is "a dark city" because of Kitt Peak observatory and the city is run by wild eyed left wingers.

themightypuck said...

It was a weird article since it said a bunch of negative things about Bach, but the upshot was he rode in, saved the city, and left. Call him the libertarian with no name.

mockturtle said...

the mighty puck, I agree. The article is self-contradictory in many ways and, as is common today, is not accurately reflected in the headline.

Fen said...

Disappointing article. I was all set to pour a cup of coffee, sit back and dig into a revealing account of how libertarian ideals dealt with unforseen consequences of reality.

Instead, I got another stale slice of "deplorables got what they asked for". The writer is better than most, but it's still fiction.

Instead of following her along, I found myself fisking: "smells like a distortion, I bet the lady didn't pawn s tv for a shotgun... does that guy really exist?... that kind of incident usually carries more complexity...". And then Murray-Gellman knocked and asked me why I was wasting my time on cheap politico fiction when I have Larry Corriera's latest Monster Hunter masterpiece on my bedside table.

Danno said...

Why would you fix street lights that are not used?

Their only loss from the theft was the net salvage value. Idiots!!

Original Mike said...

I'd adopt my streetlight for $125. Then I'd turn it off.

Fernandinande said...

Someone doesn't know what "libertarian" means.

2017 GENERAL FUND EXPENDITURES $272,625,409

MaxedOutMama said...

Well - of course times are different, so the success the current mayor is having has nothing to do with either Bach's successes or failures. On the balance, I thought the article made the case that Bach did pretty decently in very bad circs.

And although it may not be pleasant to reflect upon, the fact that the system was changed by election to give the mayor much more power seems to indicate that the council was doing stuff it should not have been. In such a situation, conflict between the council and mayor is inevitable!

Overall, less detail than I would have hoped.

Tank said...

@Ferdinande

Lol, really.

BarrySanders20 said...

So when do leftists learn lessons from leftist governing failures? Maybe we just haven't given it enough time. But tighten the budget for a few years in hard times and out come the stories of libertarian failure. Good thing we can stop thinking about anything non-leftist!

Aldo, no mention of dropping insurance coverage to save money. That $5 million theft loss is likely a covered loss.

Fen said...

The author, Caleb Hannon, was recently the subject of a petition demanding an apology for his role in "causing" the suicide of a transgender.

Short version - while writing about the invention of a new golf putter, Caleb's research turned up fraud by the inventer who claimed degrees she hadn't earned. He outed her. Okay fine.

But Caleb also discovered she had once been a he. The transgender begged Caleb not to publivly reveal she had a sex change, but Caleb did so anyway, and shortly after the transgender killed herself.

Fen said...

@ Barry, exactly. If this had been a Leftist experiment, we would have been treated to 20 paragraphs of "not true socialism".

PJ said...

The author intended to slag Trump by showing how a bad personal style in a businessman-turned-government-executive can lead to dysfunction regardless of whether the businessman has some good ideas. Then the headline writer decided to make it about political ideology, and weirdly identified the ideology as libertarian. (I guess just because of the budget cutting?) If your takeaway is "Beware the libertarians!" you'll miss the author's valid point: you may have succeeded as CEO of a company while being an arrogant jerk, but that doesn't map to a tripartite system of government.

Rene Saunce said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
themightypuck said...

There aren't streetlights in my neighborhood. There isn't any crime either (or not enough to make the local paper or for me to notice). I am amazed no one has been killed cycling around after dark.

Rene Saunce said...

We do not have street lights in our neighborhood. It's required that everyone leave one light on. No problem as one light on each house was wired to stay on back when the homes were first built. I cannot shut the damn thing off.

Anyhow- some copper thieves stole the neighborhood copper apparatus that is connected to one of the pumps that is used to pump water into the streams and ponds.

this happened while Obama was president, so it must be his fault.

Original Mike said...

"I cannot shut the damn thing off."

Wirecutters, take out the light bulb, paint the damn thing black, ...

Earnest Prole said...

The obvious problem is that the city failed to outsource its policing with a shoot-to-kill bounty on copper thieves.

Rene Saunce said...

Original Mike.

LOL - I wish. The HOA Stalinists will hunt me down, drag me out into the street and beat me until dead. As an example to others.

rhhardin said...

It's a good thing the streetlights weren't made of ivory.

Quaestor said...

The difference between Colorado Springs and the United States is Colorado Springs is not 20 trillion dollars in debt. Without a revolutionary approach to national government (i.e. a return to first principals, a sort of retrograde revolution) the national "streetlights" are bound to go dark for reasons other than copper theft.

Henry said...

The opening paragraphs tell me this isn't a serious article. Cities and States can't simply run deficits. It's not legal. To say that budget cutting when a city faces a huge shortfall and the voters opposed property tax increases is a "libertarian" idea is like saying the Titanic hit a "libertarian" iceberg.

AllenS said...

Where I live (WI), when you go to scrap any type of metal, you MUST HAVE picture id. Since the place is out in the country that means a drivers license. They take a photo of it. Thieves who show up with a couple hundred pounds of copper are easily apprehended. What's wrong with CO?

rhhardin said...

I just lost a laptop to a failed CPU fan, which idiotically requires the complete disassembly of the laptop to replace. (step 25: replace cpu fan)

You don't mind so much if you lose it to a shorted-out motherboard, but dumb design like inaccessible failure-prone things like fans and batteries is maddening.

Why not replace the fan? Maybe I will someday. The odds of its going well are not high.

The modern trend is if anything fails you have to buy a new one. They glue laptops together, even.

Henry said...

Every city faced copper theft in the oughts. In liberal Providence RI, every historic building had its gutters stolen.

It doesn't happen now. Not because progressives have good intentions. It doesn't happen because the scrap metal market bottomed out.

Michael K said...

"What's wrong with CO?"

Legal maryjane ?

Quaestor said...

“Steve was the ultimate change agent, and they usually have a short shelf life,” Bennett says. “If it weren’t for the lights going out, we might not have had Steve. And if it weren’t for Steve, we might not have John.”

I'm not projecting (but then, would I know if I were projecting if I were truly projecting?) but the description of Steve Bach as the ultimate change agent sounds more like Obama (was not hope and change the theme and unfocused promise of the Obama regime?) than Trump, the MAGA guy? One pointed "foward" to a murky utopian future of abundant free stuff and an unchanging climate, the other wants to restore America to a past lost to Sixties mind rot.

Rene Saunce said...

Colorado Springs = bad.

Illinois and Venezuela = *DNC media crickets*

traditionalguy said...

Copper thieves are really hard workers.

chickelit said...

I wonder if -- as we import more and more copper -- whether we couldn't trace stolen copper like marked bills.

Isotopes, Benjamin, Isotopes.

Let's Take A Closer Look At Those Copper Atoms.

Original Mike said...

"The modern trend is if anything fails you have to buy a new one. They glue laptops together, even."

I asked at the Apple Store about replacing the battery in my iPad. $99. But they don't replace the battery. The guy claimed since the battery is so hard to remove (because it's glued in), they give you a whole new iPad (same vintage as your old one). I said it must be a refurbished iPad but he said no. Brand new one.

Robert Cook said...

"Why would you fix street lights that are not used?"

Because they never intended for the streetlights to be turned off permanently, but only during the fiscal crisis.

Earnest Prole said...

It's kind of a dumb article. Following the 2008 crash and the Great Recession, citizens' appetite (not to mention ability to pay) for tax increases was zero. When the economy recovered, so did tax revenue. If that's supposed to be some kind of profound lesson, sure, why not?

Quaestor said...

Cities and States can't simply run deficits. It's not legal.

Think of Quaestor's avatar as pointing at Illinois. You'e a bad state. You're a VERY BAD state.

We fiscal conservatives may snort derisively at the poor "Land of Lincoln" state, laid low by Democratic Party's half-century monopoly of power in Springfield and Chicago. But it will be the American taxpayer who will foot the bill for their profligacy, and the miscreatants, as usual, will escape scot free.

chickelit said...

In a perfectly green world, the past is recycled and is not allowed to accumulate; even mountains are allowed to erode. Only humans insist on preserving.

Michael K said...

But it will be the American taxpayer who will foot the bill for their profligacy, and the miscreatants, as usual, will escape scot free.

I would have agreed had Hillary won but look at the situation from the POV of Trump. Durbin met with the shooter at the GOP Congressmen. I can see Trump telling them to get lost.

Dave Duffy said...

What was short, unhappy, and libertarian? I missed it.

The city, like most cities, faced financial problems because of the recession. They made some tough choices, made a few mistakes and learned from them, and then got back on track. They made the changes within their political framework that proved successful with a strong mayor to turn things around. Compare to places like Kansas City.

City data shows their crime rate has been on decline, probably because 'dem easily fooled hicks sold their complicated flat-screens to buy shotguns and blasted away at all them mean old copper thieves: BAM! BAM! BAM!--Take that you lousy copper.

Poor Ms. Larsen is probably under the delusion that the turn around happened because the book store sold copies of Noam Chomsky (really? a bookstore in Colorado Springs with books! Are the books thick enough to stop a shotgun blast?).

mockturtle said...

Chickelet suggests: Isotopes, Benjamin, Isotopes.

You would certainly think this would be possible. Or is it too much trouble? The money spent on replacement comes from the taxpayers, after all. For copper merchants, these thefts are a win-win.

Balfegor said...

Copper thievery is one of those things that you hear about in passing in California, that sort of puts the cherry on the dystopian sundae (that and the huge tent cities of the homeless). Surprised to hear it is a problem in Colorado too -- or is it a problem across the US?

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

I love the Gorillas in the Mist reporting.

Wow, a Republican-leaning city has art studios and Noam Chomsky? It can't be! Everyone knows Republicans can't read!!!!

Lewis Wetzel said...

My county's budget grows annually. 25 years ago, we had a pop. of 100k and the county budget was a little over $100 million. Now the pop. is 150K and the budget is north of $400 million (raw dollars).
The article fails because it implies that the money spent by a locality is used mostly or entirely for the services the city provides -- trash collection, street lights, police protection, etc.
In fact a very large part of the tax money collected goes to pay retirement and other benefits to ex-employees. There is, in many localities, only an indirect correlation between taxes collected and services provided. How would you like to see your local taxes going up, inexorably, year after year, at a higher rate than your wages and your property appreciation? While the services provided by the taxing entity stay the same or diminish?

chickelit said...

As more and more people drop their land lines, the copper-based wiring will become redundant. One day we'll read about the elderly rural* citizen keeping alive a 100 mile-long strand of copper because he/she refuses to switch.

*rural, because who better to pick on these days if you're a young urban pundit.

chickelit said...

More likely future headline: "Elderly Harlem Resident Blocks Removal of Last 100 Feet of Overhead Telephone Wire"

Bruce Hayden said...

Interesting article. Note though that a couple of those photos were probably not actually taken w/I the C Springs city limits. Spent 4 formative years there, and get back every several years. Likely this fall. And have fraternity bros in town, including several attys I went to school with. Been a bunch of times to the Broadmoor resort mentioned in the article. CO Bar Convention used to be held there, and my parents would inevitably attend, and since that was around my birthday, we would celebrate it there when I lived there. Promised my partner that we would stay there one time, or at least eat there, and this may be the year. We shall see.

I was there during the Vietnam era, when there were, at one time, maybe 40k soldiers at Fort Carson (as the war wound down), plus the Blue Zoo (aka Air Force Academy), NORAD, ENT AFB, etc. Plus a lot of retired military too, of course. (My uncle picked NORAD as his last AF tour in order to retire in CO). To say that there was a heavy military presence is an understatement. Having cousins in C. Springs growing up meant getting to go to a bunch of Zoomie (I.e. AFA) games. Much more fun than the Buffs in Boulder.

But at some point after that, the city fathers decided to broaden the city's appeal, and hit on becoming the center or headquarters for evangelical Christianity in this country. Or something like that - though there has one been some of that in town, even before that push. A Jewish friend there noted an uptick in antisemitism in town as a result. Maybe, but he has a vivid imagination, as evidenced by all the Trump conspiracy theories he is into.

Still, the Republicans don't have the city to themselves. The former CO state senate president who lost her job (was recalled) after ramming through gun grabbing legislation (such as limiting magazines to 15 rounds) is a Democrat. The area stretching from CO College north by Penrose hospital has probably the nicest neighborhood of beautiful late 19th century houses in the state, and a lot of the people living around the college and up through there are pretty liberal (CC, always very liberal, is one of two schools in CO with a FIRE Red Light warning (for its sexual "harassment" policy) - something that CU Boulder can't even claim).

After that mention above of gun control - it should be noted that the CO "shall issue" CCW law can arguably be claimed to be the result of the conflict between the very permissive views in C.Spgs and the draconian rules in Denver, where the requirement for issue of a permit used to essentially be a close personal relationship to the mayor or a member of the city council. The El Paso Cnty Sheriff took to issuing to essentially all non-felon adult applicants - including some Denver residents.

Darrell said...

Next time, take out the bulbs and leave 600v running through the wires.

Earnest Prole said...

In fact a very large part of the tax money collected goes to pay retirement and other benefits to ex-employees.

Exactly. Anyone who has the slightest familiarity with city and state budgets knows that pensions are the killer expense, yet the word pensions appears nowhere in the article.

Paddy O said...

"We can't find anything."

"There must be something wrong with Colorado Springs. Keep looking! We've already written the story and now need a problem to highlight."

mockturtle said...

Balfegor wonders: Surprised to hear it is a problem in Colorado too -- or is it a problem across the US?

Man convicted of stealing 4.3 miles of copper wire from Seattle transit system

mockturtle said...

Next time, take out the bulbs and leave 600v running through the wires.

I like the way you think, Darrell! ;-)

Michael K said...

"Next time, take out the bulbs and leave 600v running through the wires."

I like it.

Back when I was an engineer, my boss drove a nice Porsche when they were pretty rare.

He got tired of people touching it and even had some vandalism so he hooked a Model T Ford ignition coil to the frame. He could reach under the door and switch it off and on.

The result was 10,000 volts with about 0.001 milliamps of current. It wouldn't kill anybody but it could knock you down.

He finally had to take it off after someone brushed against the car and threatened to sue him.

robother said...

As other commenters noted, this article is generally a nothing burger. But since the City owns the electric utility, I never got how turning off streetlights generated anything more than a paper saving for one part of the city (general fund) at the expense of another city Account (utility electric fund).

Selling off the utility to the highest bidder, like they did Memorial Hospital, however, would've generated huge real revenues. But, libertarians for no that was never on the table.

Hagar said...

Colorado Springs is a university town.

Porsches do not have "frames." At least not post-WWII.

Henry said...

Balfegor wrote: Copper thievery is one of those things that you hear about in passing in California, that sort of puts the cherry on the dystopian sundae (that and the huge tent cities of the homeless). Surprised to hear it is a problem in Colorado too -- or is it a problem across the US?.

Copper thievery is a recurring problem everywhere that takes off when the scrap metal market is booming. It's not now. Gutters from historic buildings is a common target, as well as telephone wire.

One example that I came across unexpectedly. In the Daniel Day Lewis movie Gerry Conlon is first seen (in Belfast, in 1974) stripping lead off old houses.

Henry said...

Which is lead, of course, but the same idea.

Fernandinande said...

"What's wrong with CO?"
Legal maryjane ?


That was certainly an astute analysis, but senile dementia is far more likely:

Recordkeeping [Colorado]
Dealers are required to keep a book or register (a written or electronic record of transactions, including sequentially numbered receipts containing the information required) detailing all transactions involving commodity metals [=copper] with the following information:

• "Record the identification of a seller" and the method by which the Seller verified his or her identity. The Seller must verify their identity with one of the following:
o A valid Colorado driver’s license;
o A Colorado identification card issued by the Department of Revenue;
o A valid driver’s license from another state with a picture identification;
o A military identification card;
o A valid United States passport; or
o An alien registration card.
• A signed statement that the Seller is the owner or is otherwise entitled to sell, sworn
and affirmed under penalty of law.
• License plate number and description of the delivery vehicle.
• Date and place of each purchase.
• Description and quantity of the metal purchased.
• Digital photos or videos identifying the Seller and the commodity ...etc etc..."

MadisonMan said...

My brother in TN lost copper wiring at a house being built/rehabbed.

There are lots of places that buy copper wire across the river in Arkansas.

rhhardin said...

As more and more people drop their land lines, the copper-based wiring will become redundant. One day we'll read about the elderly rural* citizen keeping alive a 100 mile-long strand of copper because he/she refuses to switch.

There's not enough copper in telephone wire to make it worth notice. Very thin gauge.

Bruce Hayden said...

Two more CO peculiarities need to be kept in mind with that article. One is that the CO constitution has required, for several decades now that any tax increases require voter approval. Much more draconian than pretty much anywhere else in the country. It is constitutional because the state legislature had a tendency to override state ballot initiatives (e.g. The ballot initiative instituting the lottery dedicated half the state's revenues to parks and recreation. Next session of the legislature moved those money elsewhere, and so it went back on the ballot making that allocation part of the state constitution). My mother, when she was state legislative chair (and head lobbyist) for the Leage of (Communist) Women Voters hated this aspect of CO politics - she was always complaining about how cluttered the state constitution was. Duh - if she and her buddies in the state legislature didn't keep trying to override ballot initiatives, the voters wouldn't keep moving them into the constitution.

This means that bond issues for new schools or new roads go on the ballot, and more often than not, lose. But it also means that the state, county, and municipal gvts can't just raise tax rates when their expenses grow. Both the state income tax and state corporate tax are below 5%, and sales taxes are also still reasonable. In the last election, CO Care (or whatever it was called) was on the ballot, but would have blown this wide open, so was accompanied by a constitutional Amdt that would remove much of these tax caps. Luckily, they failed, but as the state heads leftward, this may not last.

Secondly, elective office in CO (except for national office) is strictly term limited, which is why you could find the current C. Spgs mayor moving into that slot from being the state AG. It was either that, or run against popular Dem governor John Hickenzooper. Should be interesting to see who the Republicans put up for that post next year when Hickenbooper is term limited and can't run for reelection. Imagine if we had that sort of term limits in Congress - the same Dems seem to move back and forth between committee chair and ranking member for decades. Arguably, they wouldn't have their geriatric problem if there were term limits (Republicans do have such for leadership posts in the House).

David said...

I am involved in a water and sewer utility in South Carolina. We have numerous substations with electrical pumps. Theft of copper wire is a continuing problem. Security cameras have helped but have not eliminated the issue.

Fred Drinkwater said...

Lewis,
In the 80s my father was briefly President of the local residents association (not a Hoa).
One task included researching the Santa Clara CA county budget. Two things stick in my mind.
1. When he called the County to get copies of the previous decade's budgets, the nice lady informed him that "I think those are classified."
2. Eventually, the data showed that the budget had grown 15% per annum regardless of the population or economic trends.
Your public servants at work.

Static Ping said...

Unintended consequences happen. The key thing is to learn from the unintended consequences and avoid them if possible. Colorado Springs seems to have learned that lesson. Baltimore, Chicago, Seattle, etc., not so much. They seem insistent on repeating their own failures, except with more money and self-righteousness.

Best I can figure from the article is the former mayor was elected in the middle of a crisis, he did what he could to improve the situation with hit and miss results, and while he had significant flaws he left the place better than when he started. I wouldn't consider that a failure.

Michael K said...

"Security cameras have helped but have not eliminated the issue."

I still like the 600 volt suggestion.

Michael K said...

"Porsches do not have "frames." At least not post-WWII."

It was a 1959 and I am no Porsche expert. It was wired to the body so that, if you touched it, you got a shock.

poker1one said...

I'm not reading the article from Politico, I never read anything it publishes. If instructions for the second coming were published there I would look them up on archive.org. I don't read anything from NYTimes, Wapo, TheHill, NBCNews, CBSNews, ABCNews, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, The Atlantic, and ...well you catch my drift. I wonder why Althouse feels the need to keep referring to these sources as if they were credible. Yesterday or the day before she quoted CNN as an authority. WTF? Just my limited $.02. Stop reading and watching all this nonsense - starve the beast!

Lyle Smith said...

What is Illinois' story or Puerto Rico's?

Lewis Wetzel said...

Here is a real local problem:
Public schools depend on property taxes, primarily paid by the middle class and businesses. Middle class parents, especially in urban areas, are increasingly rejecting public schools in favor of private schools because, bless their hearts, they love their own children more than the children of other parents, and they want their own kids to have a better education than the public schools provide.
The bad chases out the good. As the best cared for children leave, the public schools become known as the place for poor, less-educated and uncaring people to park their children.
Educating these children is not impossible, but requires more resources. As the quality of education at a public school goes down, the cost to the taxpayers goes up, and a significant number of those taxpayers do not use the public school system, and have no vested interest in its success.
I saw this dynamic myself in the Minneapolis public school system in the mid-70s. The high schools dropped AP courses so they could increase the number of remedial courses. Parents who intended to send their kids to college, and could afford to do so, pulled their kids out and placed them private schools.
You can tell that this is a real problem because there is no readily identifiable group of "bad people" for a journo to point at.

mockturtle said...

poker1one, I totally agree. Sometimes I do read them as a good bloggorino. ;-) The best news sources are, IMO, local ones. The NYT, etc., which never leaves its bubble, is hardly a reliable source of news about say, Texas. Even so, they truly believe they are the LAST WORD on anything and everything. They are a parody of themselves. The
WaPo, et al, are no better.

Gospace said...

Henry said...
Every city faced copper theft in the oughts. In liberal Providence RI, every historic building had its gutters stolen.


Knew someone in Annapolis whose backyard boundary line was the Naval Academy wall. A few houses down from a 24/7 guarded gate. He went on vacation with his family for two weeks and came back to find his copper gutters missing. That was in the 1970s.

rcocean said...

I haven't read the comments, but i fully expect the Libertarians to show up and tell us that this wasn't an example of "true libertarianism"

Whenever someone who's self-labeled as Libertarian says something stupid or crazy, or when some Libertarian position is shown to be wrong, stupid, or crazy, then...

Its never *True* Libertarianism. Its always some other kind of Libertarianism.

rcocean said...

When did cooper become so expensive? And why is demand so high? I thought Cooper demand was going down since cooper wires for landline telephones is almost zero now.

rcocean said...

"One is that the CO constitution has required, for several decades now that any tax increases require voter approval."

This reminds me of Washington State. The liberals would LOVE to get an income tax passed but every time they try it fails either in the legislature or the via voter initiative.

I'm always puzzled why some states can get by without a sales tax (oregon) or an income tax (Fla, Texas, Wa) yet other states like Colorado have Both, and yet still has budget problems.

Friedrich Engels' Barber said...

"...firing longstanding department heads..." and then copper wiring starts disappearing from street lights middle of the day. How conveeeeeenient.

James K said...

"The bad chases out the good. As the best cared for children leave, the public schools become known as the place for poor, less-educated and uncaring people to park their children."

Seems like a perfect opportunity to go to a voucher system.

Achilles said...

""Turning off the streetlights saved about $1.25 million, but after thieves stole the copper wiring inside, the cost to fix the lights ran to some $5 million.""

So the main problem with libertarianism is a bunch of democrats start stealing shit?

Two options:

1. Elect democrats so they can confiscate money legally.

2. Shoot thieves.

Curious George said...

"AllenS said...
Where I live (WI), when you go to scrap any type of metal, you MUST HAVE picture id. Since the place is out in the country that means a drivers license. They take a photo of it. Thieves who show up with a couple hundred pounds of copper are easily apprehended."

Just as there are people who steal copper, there are recyclers who will illegally buy it. Even in Wisconsin.

madAsHell said...

This reminds me of Washington State. The liberals would LOVE to get an income tax passed but every time they try it fails either in the legislature or the via voter initiative.

In 2010, the last time they tried an initiative to implement an income tax. The idea was to collect income tax on those making more than $200,000. They also threw in a decrease of 4% on the property tax. The initiative failed, but it was unconstitutional as well.

From the Washington State constitution......
According to Article VII, Section of Washington’s Constitution “all taxes shall be uniform upon the same class of property within the territorial limits of the authority levying the tax and shall be levied and collected for public purposes only.”

A 1933 State Supreme Court case also struck down the idea of creating an income tax.

Guildofcannonballs said...

"Guildofcannonballs said...
Too bad Bush hated blacks or he would have demanded pre-school and after-school sex education for these gangbangers. Bush probably lynched their fathers with Romney therefore depriving the youths of a chance at hope.

Never having banged a girl (or guy or dog or *^*) with other men, I am sure I would be really confused about the etiquette, like these young men appear to have been.

So, it's George W. Bush's fault, and Focus on the Family in their damn waistoid barren "city" Colorado Springs, the modern day City of Hunger Games and assassinated abortionists.

THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE RICH DON'T SIMPLY AND PATRIOTICALLY PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE.

Cheapies.

12/17/16, 7:56 AM"

0_0 said...

James K; my taxes are not going to pay for your kids' private school. If you want them to be better educated, be more involved in their public school or pay your own self.

David said...

"Security cameras have helped but have not eliminated the issue."

I still like the 600 volt suggestion.


Our Board of Directors determined that it was not part of our mission to kill people. Even thieves.

Michael K said...

Our Board of Directors determined that it was not part of our mission to kill people. Even thieves.

Maybe 300 volts. Have you ever seen an electrical burn ? I have.

Maybe even a sign would help.

"Warning 600 volts."

Guildofcannonballs said...

"If your takeaway is "Beware the libertarians!" you'll miss the author's valid point: you may have succeeded as CEO of a company while being an arrogant jerk, but that doesn't map to a tripartite system of government."

It maps and indeed will map just fine, in Trump's case at least, bank on it. Jerkness is, as beauty, in the eye of the beholder. FDR, LBJ, Clinton, and Obama were all arrogant jerks as, indeed in order to become, potUS, just without the Trump level of business success is all. Tough to argue by their metrics those arrogant jerks weren't successful at governing.

Two out of the three branches composing the tripartite are doing just fine considering reasonable alternatives, not the forever perfection of a divine essence Trump is always supposed to be representing to the childish minds incapable of discriminating between high fiction and reality.

Does anybody wish, as do I at this late juncture in order to help understand past mistakes as a measure we can take to leaven future ones, Reagan would have used his popularity in 1986 to arrogantly tell Tip to shove the anti-European ethnicity-altering amnesty bill up where no sun shines?

And renominated Bork instead of giving the country Kennedy?

I will concede the peanut farmer was a disgraceful failure and perhaps the most arrogant, and biggest jerk, man to have ever at the time and also since hold the office, notwithstanding the rapist Clinton's crimes that far supersede mere arrogance or jerkitude.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004S6UW0U/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1




JaimeRoberto said...

My decidedly non-libertarian Bay Area town turned off the street lights in the industrial parts of town after 7pm during the great recession to, but I never heard of any copper thefts. But if cutting expenses to match revenues is libertarian, then I'm proud to be a libertarian.

gadfly said...

What is wrong with this story? Simply, you can't carry off $5,000,000 worth of copper wire in a day, or even a week or two. So there has to be another shoe to drop. For his scam to work, someone has to be buying the stuff and that means a scrap metal firm.

Copper thieves are well known everywhere but that was particularly true during the Great Recession. Lovely Colorado Springs catches the wrath of Politico but vacant Detroit gets nary a look-see. With apologies to Mel Tillis: "I used to make the cars, now I sit up at the bar. Oh, Lord, I want to go home."

Ralph L said...

In the next county, someone stole a goodly number of $400 bronze plaques from a cemetery. It happened over several weeks, so someone wasn't doing his job. Bronze is mostly copper for you Neanderthals.

My town is replacing existing lights with LEDs as they burn out, but doing all the stoplights at one time, when half aren't really needed at all.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

my taxes are not going to pay for your kids' private school. If you want them to be better educated, be more involved in their public school or pay your own self

Awesome. Does this mean that my taxes aren't going to pay for your kids' public school when I homeschool or private-school mine? Where do I claim my property tax exemption? This is gonna be great!

Also, I have been "involved" in my kids' public schools for many years, as a PTA officer and general volunteer, and guess what: none of the thousands of hours I have contributed had any power to affect poor curriculum, power-tripping administrators, badly compensated and low-morale teachers, and the home lives of kids who come to school not even remotely prepared to learn. Do you know about cities like Detroit and Chicago where parents try to "be more involved" and they are completely powerless against the teacher's unions who don't give a damn about the kids? How would parents being "more involved" solve enormous endemic problems like the cheating scandal in the Atlanta public schools.

I want to have nothing to do with public schools, but I can't afford to send mine to private school *and* pay for public schools. It's immoral to force me to do both.

Lewis Wetzel said...

Blogger rcocean said...
I haven't read the comments, but i fully expect the Libertarians to show up and tell us that this wasn't an example of "true libertarianism"
Whenever someone who's self-labeled as Libertarian says something stupid or crazy, or when some Libertarian position is shown to be wrong, stupid, or crazy, then...
Its never *True* Libertarianism. Its always some other kind of Libertarianism.
7/1/17, 12:47 PM

Another parallel between Marxism and Libertarianism. There is also scientific materialism, and economic determinism.

Libertarian: "People should be free to use drugs! Businesses should be free to hire whomever they like!"

Business Dude: "Fine. You want to work for me, you have to take and pass a test to make sure you are drug-free. Also, you better have the records to show you attend church every Sunday. Baptist, not Papist"

Libertarian: :"But . . . Freedom! My freedom!"

0_0 said...

>Awesome
IHMMP- I have never sent my children to public school.
Public schools are public infrastructure. You might not drive on every road, but our taxes go to the whole system. The vast majority of Americans come from public schools; therefore, it is in our best interests to ensure those schools are the best they can be wiht efficient use of our money.
General volunteer? PTA officer? Shit. Go to the school board meetings, and help hold the line when any criticism of the superindentent's moonbeam policies are greeted with shouts of "Racist!"
Come to California and tell me about the NEA/ CTA.
And the percentage of your taxes going to public schools is miniscule compared to what private schools cost. But you want to subsidize private school! Congratulations, you have found the best way to maximize the tuition increase next year!
Nobody forces you to use private school. Calling it "immoral" helps nothing.

0_0 said...

gadfly-
The $5M isn't the scrap value of the copper. It is the value of the certified wire, connectors, replaced fasteners and cover plates, and the labor hours to repair and reinstall.

Also, as a general note, most scrap places have ID requirements. But when we lose live power wiring (including conduit), aluminum railings, and even manhole covers, the police apparently have other priorities than checking out buyers' records to learn who brought which fungible batch of scrap.

Bad Lieutenant said...

What is wrong with this story? Simply, you can't carry off $5,000,000 worth of copper wire in a day, or even a week or two.

yes, one of the damnably annoying things about vandalism, as with so many kinds of crimes, is that the gain to the thief is so much less than the loss to the victim. It may have cost $5 million to do all the repairs, but the damage could have been done in the theft of only $500,000 worth of wire, or even $50,000 worth of copper, when all is said and done. Like a junkie breaking a $500 window in your car to steal a $50 jacket. Which he can then pawn for $5.

Steven said...

Lewis Wetzel's script, corrected for an actual libertarian:

---

Libertarian: "People should be free to use drugs! Businesses should be free to hire whomever they like!"

Business Dude: "Fine. You want to work for me, you have to take and pass a test to make sure you are drug-free. Also, you better have the records to show you attend church every Sunday. Baptist, not Papist"

Libertarian: "Okay, dumbass. I'll be sure to attend your bankruptcy auction."

---

Businesses that demand irrelevant hoop-jumping from their suppliers are operating at a voluntarily-assumed competitive disadvantage. And that applies as much to the ones who demand the hoop-jumping from their labor suppliers as the ones who demand it from their steel suppliers.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Stephen, it is, how shall I say, ignoble of you to deny agency to your interlocutors.

Why do you assume, if only for the purposes of a knock-down argument against this passage, that the business owner doesn't have reasons, good reasons, for his preferences, that he thinks will rule out bankruptcy, instead of ruling it in?

Maybe he doesn't think drug users will be the best employees, or maybe it's part of his marketing pitch, or they need to drive or use , or just not steal.

Maybe he's Jewish or Chinese or ethnic Ibo and he prefers, and again he may have good reasons depending on his strategy and tactics, to have employees all of that background, or even all family or clan or tribe members. It may be irrational and it may not, perhaps you don't live here but somewhere else where things are like that.

Same thing if you want them all to be blond six-footers who were all Phillips or Andover boys of good family, or maybe you want what counts for good family in Sicily, or any other combinations of factors?

Maybe it's a Hooters clone and you want them all to have big breasts or small breasts or a particular manner of breasts.

Do you really find in your experience that everywhere you go is a random rainbow? Don't you find in the real world that like gathers with like?

Maybe you say, like some Vulcan, Irrational. These days maybe irrational just means can't be replaced by a computer.

Maybe I'm reading you wrong don't jump down my throat but explain it to me. Just academically.

mockturtle said...

Misplaced @ 4:58: Well stated! My sentiments as well. IMO, the public school systems should be scrapped and replaced with private schools that vouchers can pay for. Heaven knows, they couldn't be any more expensive or any less productive.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Stephen, it is, how shall I say, ignoble of you to deny agency to your interlocutors.

Why do you assume, if only for the purposes of a knock-down argument against this passage, that the business owner doesn't have reasons, good reasons, for his preferences, that he thinks will rule out bankruptcy, instead of ruling it in?

Maybe he doesn't think drug users will be the best employees, or maybe it's part of his marketing pitch, or they need to drive or use , or just not steal.

Maybe he's Jewish or Chinese or ethnic Ibo and he prefers, and again he may have good reasons depending on his strategy and tactics, to have employees all of that background, or even all family or clan or tribe members. It may be irrational and it may not, perhaps you don't live here but somewhere else where things are like that.

Same thing if you want them all to be blond six-footers who were all Phillips or Andover boys of good family, or maybe you want what counts for good family in Sicily, or any other combinations of factors?

Maybe it's a Hooters clone and you want them all to have big breasts or small breasts or a particular manner of breasts.

Do you really find in your experience that everywhere you go is a random rainbow? Don't you find in the real world that like gathers with like?

Maybe you say, like some Vulcan, Irrational. These days maybe irrational just means can't be replaced by a computer.

Maybe I'm reading you wrong don't jump down my throat but please, explain it to me succinctly.

gadfly said...

@0_0 said...
gadfly-
The $5M isn't the scrap value of the copper. It is the value of the certified wire, connectors, replaced fasteners and cover plates, and the labor hours to repair and reinstall.


#1 Copper scrap is worth about $2.25/lb, so even if the copper only amounts to half the loss, it still adds up to over a 100,000 pounds of wire. That is one hell of a big pile of twisted-up copper. Somebody had to notice and yes, the police are supposed to visit the yard to check out paperwork and look at the metal.

So my point remains the same. The interesting thing about the scrap metal business is that payment is made in cash.

Henry said...

In Boston, during the (still ongoing) renovation of Longfellow Bridge, two state employees stole 2000 linear feet of historic cast iron coping. Estimated value $500,000. The thieves made $12,000 from a scrapyard.

While it was an inside job, the fact that the thieves stole 50 tons of cast iron is still mind-boggling.

Two DCR employees arrested in connection with theft of historic, cast-iron coping from Longfellow Bridge.

0_0 said...

New copper wire wasn't anywhere near half the repair value. It was less than 5% for sure. Labor is by far the largest part of the total. Remember that there is (probably) at least two people for safety working at a time.
This was probably also a public utility or city workers, and someone is probably counting the truck mileage, fuel, and money going to the employees' retirement and health accounts.

J. Farmer said...

Libertarianism leads inexorably to anarchism, which leads to warlordism. I have a lot of sympathy for libertarian philosophy, but in the real world, it doesn't really work.

PJ said...

It maps and indeed will map just fine, in Trump's case at least, bank on it.

This argument would be a lot more persuasive if Obamacare had been repealed (and no, I do not regard any of the currently pending legislation as repeal). A resistant legislative power in CS refused to pass the business tax reform that might have made the mayor's economic development plan work. According to the article (I do not purport to have any other information), legislative pique at the mayor's arrogant jerkiness was largely to blame.

I completely agree that jerkiness is in the eye of the beholder, but unfortunately for both of us the beholders who matter are all in Congress. Thus the "success" of some people we may behold to be jerks.

As for Reagan, while may differ on which lost possibilities are most regrettable, I do agree (and thought at the time) that he tended his popularity rather too zealously.

mockturtle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mockturtle said...

J. Farmer asserts: I have a lot of sympathy for libertarian philosophy, but in the real world, it doesn't really work.

As a long-time philosophical libertarian, I agree. My realist philosophy always edges out the former. Libertarianism is, ironically, like socialism in that it disregards human nature.