Monthly Archives: August 2018

A human warehouse by any other name would be as bleak

WE ARE NOT CASES TO BE MANAGED, WE ARE PEOPLE WANTING TO BE FREE!

By Max R. Weller

I’m as serious as a heart attack when I say that you could drop me into any of the places I’ve been in the past sixteen years — jail and prison, psychiatric wards, homeless shelters, or nursing homes — and it would take some time and careful study for me to determine which I was living in at that moment . . . True, there is a legitimate purpose for each of these institutions to exist (in theory, anyway); but I believe it’s equally true that all are mismanaged by staff more motivated by $$$ than good works.

Take the Missouri prison-building boom in the 1980s as my first example. When the capacity for incarcerating men and women greatly increased, the threshold for being sent to the DOC was lowered, so that thousands of nonviolent offenders did hard time. People convicted of simple possession of marijuana, multiple DUIs (even if no accidents were involved), and most puzzling of all falling behind on paying court-ordered child support. (Think about the latter: how will the “deadbeat” parent, man or woman, ever be able to pay while locked up in prison earning, at most, $30 per month? It boggles the mind.) What I quickly discovered is that an entire industry devoted to so-called treatment programs for substance abuse, run by outside firms under contract with the Missouri DOC, had come into being at every single camp around the state, and at least one camp had been entirely committed to this bogus money-making scheme, Ozark Correctional Center. It seemed to me that at least half the inmate population was herded into treatment, which consisted almost entirely of the same kind of 12-Step program available for FREE from Alcoholics Anonymous. You can be sure that those running this in the prison setting were making umpteen thousands of dollars for each and every inmate involved, and I never personally knew anyone who gained positive results in the long term. Meds were also prescribed by the DOC physicians for lots of inmates in treatment, and likewise for lots of others not in treatment; sort of passed out like candy. I doubt it had any benefit beyond turning them into docile sheep, easier to control. (Entirely justified in a few cases.)

In late 2004 and again about a year later in late 2005, I sought help for what was diagnosed as Clinical Depression with suicidal ideation. The ER physicians in both instances thought that I should be admitted for inpatient psychiatric care, and I agreed, not having any clear idea of what to expect. What I found was a regimen of group therapy, where a few of us sat around and talked about our circumstances and the very sad feelings we had. A few days away from things that bothered me made me more hopeful, and I think this would have occurred even without the group pity party. (Of course, support groups can be found all over the place for FREE.) I saw a real shrink only once, and he was a legitimate psychiatrist with both M.D. and Ph.D. degrees, but unfortunately with such a thick foreign accent I had great difficulty understanding him. He took about ten minutes to do paperwork about my case, to be submitted to Medicaid for payment of my “care.” He asked if I was an alcoholic, and I admitted to having been a heavy drinker for 15 years, ending when I was arrested and later imprisoned in late 2002. He also asked if I had ever used other drugs; foolishly, I said that I’d tried marijuana a couple of times in high school over 30 years earlier. He wrote down that I was a “polysubstance abuser.” WTF? Although I continue to struggle at times from depression, especially around the Holiday Season from Thanksgiving through Christmas, I’ve learned to cope as well on my own as I would with group therapy and a greedy shrink bilking the government with an inaccurate label. BTW, I always understood that I drank alcohol to excess simply because I preferred being a jolly drunk to the boredom I found in sobriety. Well, duh! When I chose to get sober, I found that all I had to do was NEVER take that first drink and it was easy. The ridiculous depiction by actor Jack Lemmon of someone suffering the DTs in “Days of Wine and Roses” still makes me laugh out loud, because it’s so far removed from reality as I know it:

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What more can I say about the homeless shelter / services industry, including both government agencies and private nonprofits, that hasn’t been covered here already? It’s all about $$$ from both public and private sources, and can be summed up this way: More Homeless People = More Money. Thus, there is no incentive to “end homelessness” nor “address” it except by spending Big Bucks regardless of the easily demonstrated lack of positive results. I have to add that I encountered more violent, dangerous people at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless than I did in Missouri DOC, as well as more crazy people there than I did during my two brief visits to the psych ward.

As I emphatically stated at the beginning of this post, it’s hard to distinguish one human warehouse from the next.

I’m now in a nursing home I call Happy Haven (not its actual name), and have been here since last Christmas. Hell of a gift, eh? This place is much better than Boulder Manor, where I spent five long months back in 2016, and saw many of the same drunks and druggies and perverts I knew from the streets of Boulder, CO. When I discovered how much money Medicaid paid to nursing homes for the most basic care of any resident, about $7,000 per month back then in the case of Boulder Manor and closer to $12,000 per month at Happy Haven today, it’s easy to understand how the riffraff fills up these places to capacity. I was referred to both by Boulder Community Hospital, and the nursing homes send their own people out to troll for would be residents, also. (Happy Haven, to its credit, currently has no registered sex offenders.) Big Money, to be sure, but I’ve not gotten the full value of what Uncle Sugar is paying, that is certain. At $400 per day, I could stay at the St. Julien Hotel & Spa in real luxury.

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I’d be alone, too, with no obnoxious roommate like Jabba the Hutt.

To reiterate, none of these different kinds of facilities are being managed for the benefit of those who live there, but have all become Cash Cows (which is one reason I’ve supported the Libertarians, who claim to be in favor of largely turning off the spigot of taxpayer-funded programs):

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Coming soon:

My commentary on how prison / jail, psychiatric hospitals, homeless shelters, and nursing homes (and there are several different labels for each) are remarkably similar for those living there. Of course, it’s based on personal experience, not on some BS I was taught in a sociology class . . .

BTW, I’ve not been online for about a week because a virus infected this Chromebook. I’m pretty sure it had to be the only other user; I can’t imagine that any of the websites I visit would be the source. (However, I could be wrong about the New York Times.)

This person also left what appears to be the detritus from cinnamon-sugared cake donuts all over the keyboard. I guess I ought to be thankful she didn’t lick it clean.

Ocasio-Cortez walks into a bar and yells, “Free drinks for everyone!” The bartender looks at her and asks, “Who’s paying?” The new darling of the Far Left replies, “Power to the people, free drinks for everyone!” And that’s as deep as her understanding of economic reality goes . . .

— MRW

Longmont’s publicly-owned electric utility is vastly different from what is proposed in the Boulder Muni Scam

DEMAND ACCOUNTABILITY FROM GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS!

By Max R. Weller

See a history of Longmont Power & Communications from the City of Longmont website here.

Copied below:

The History of Becoming a Public Power Utility

Electricity first arrived in Longmont in 1886 from a generator placed in a business owned by N.H. Crocker near Third Avenue and Main Street. This small generator powered three lamps in the Bank of Longmont and five lamps at Persian’s store. Eventually, a steam-powered electric plant was built in 1889 and, a year later, lights were installed on street corners throughout the central business district.

In 1892, Longmont’s electric supply fell short of the community’s needs and
the city granted a 20-year franchise to the Northern Colorado Power Company (NCP). When NCP asked to renew this franchise, citizens protested because they weren’t satisfied with existing rates and service. Their access to electricity was so limited that they could only use their electric lights between 6 pm and 8 pm, and homeowners who needed extra light bulbs had to obtain permission from city council. They believed they could do better.

Longmont Self Reliance: Municipal Power

In April of 1911, a proposal to form a city-owned utility in Longmont was put to a vote and passed by an overwhelming majority. Almost immediately, construction began on a hydroelectric power plant and transmission system to bring electricity from the plant and into Longmont. This plant is located just west of Lyons and is still in use today.

Longmont’s vote was not well received by NCP which actively tried to stop the process. When NCP refused to sell its infrastructure, 63 of Longmont’s citizens pledged $1,000 each toward the project to complete the needed funding.

In November 1911, when work on the new plant was nearly complete, NCP obtained a temporary injunction to keep Longmont from issuing bonds to further pay for the new plant. A grassroots movement to protest NCP began. As part of this movement, many citizens stopped using NCP electricity and used only kerosene lights until the connection to their municipal utility became available.

Longmont: City of Lights

Despite these struggles, on January 5, 1912, Longmont received its first power from the new hydroelectric plant. NCP continued efforts to stop Longmont until March 7, 1912, when Longmont won a final district court injunction suit and was allowed to provide service. By the next day, approximately 125 new connections to the service were established. Within a week, that number increased to around 600 connections.

In appreciation of the sacrifice and support of the effort to municipalize,  Longmont called itself “The City of Lights” and the city council declared that all customers would have a free, unmetered porch light. That tradition continues today, though many neighborhoods receive free pedestal lights or street lights instead of the porch lights their predecessors received.

Increasing Electric Demands

Population growth made demands for more electric power inevitable. With monthly expenditures for power to supplement the Hydroelectric plant exceeding $20,000, the City decided to build its own auxiliary power plant. In November 1930, City Council Authorized construction of a new diesel-powered generation plant.

The Longmont Municipal Light and Power Plant, located near the area of First and Main Street, began operation the next year and tripled generation capacity. About that time, the distribution system was also rebuilt with heavier transformers and trunk lines. Eventually, however, increasing diesel fuel prices made the diesel plant impractical to retain, even for emergency power. It was dismantled and sold in July, 1967.

By the mid 1940’s the City’s growing electrical needs again exceeded existing capacity. To fill this extra demand, the Terry Street Substation was completed and, in 1946, the Bureau of Reclamation built transmission lines to carry electricity to Longmont from federal power sources.

The New Era of Power Management

In the 1960’s, the Bureau of Reclamation notified the City that it would no longer be building hydroelectric dams. The announcement and continued population growth in Longmont prompted city leaders to continue their search for new sources of electric power.

In 1973, the City joined three other front range communities (Fort Collins, Loveland and Estes Park) with municipally-owned utilities to create Platte River Power Authority (PRPA). Platte River would act on behalf of the communities to obtain additional electric power and to create its own power sources. This decision ushered in a new era in power management for Longmont, one that has become instrumental in providing for growth while retaining low rates.

PRPA explored ways to meet the continually growing power needs of its four member cities. It began building the coal-fired Rawhide Power Plant in the town of Wellington just north of Fort Collins in 1975. In 1983, the plant began providing power to the four cities. For more information: https://www.prpa.org/

 

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Historic Longmont Hydroelectric Plant

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Compare this Longmont, CO history with the smoke and mirrors approach of Boulder city officials who do NOT propose to generate so much as a watt of electricity, but will instead purchase it from an investor-owned utility, Xcel Energy, then add on their own charges which could be substantial. (Regardless of what happens with the Muni Scam, Xcel will continue to provide natural gas to Boulder, CO consumers.)

It’s like comparing a new SUV built by a capable and experienced company to a broken-down VW bus tinkered on by a shade tree mechanic . . .

Can’t you envision the likes of Sam Weaver and Suzanne Jones restoring electricity after a damaging storm?

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“Mayor” Suzanne Jones, elected by Boulder City Council behind closed doors.

What would Frederick Douglass say to Colin Kaepernick, who doesn’t bother to vote?

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Frederick Douglass 1818-1895

“If the negro knows enough to fight for his country he knows enough to vote; if he knows enough to pay taxes for the support of the government, he knows enough to vote; if he knows as much when sober, as an Irishman knows when drunk, he knows enough to vote.”

— MRW

‘Double Religious Jeopardy’

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Read the commentary in the Wall Street Journal here.

Copied below in its entirety:

By The Editorial Board

Maybe it’s baked into the cake of modern American progressivism. What else could drive Colorado to go after the same Christian baker less than a month after losing a similar case against him at the Supreme Court?

In Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that the commission violated Jack Phillips’ free-exercise rights when it sought to punish him for refusing on religious grounds to bake a custom cake for a gay couple’s wedding. That decision was handed down June 4 after six years in which Mr. Phillips was dragged through the courts.

On June 28 the state found probable cause that Mr. Phillips had unlawfully discriminated in another case—by refusing to bake a custom cake (blue on the outside, pink on the inside) to celebrate the transgender transition of Autumn Scardina from a man to a woman. The Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented Mr. Phillips in his first case, is now suing Colorado’s Governor, attorney general, Civil Rights Division and Civil Rights Commission for what it says is Colorado’s “continuing persecution” of its client.

In finding for Mr. Phillips in June, the Supreme Court said the commission had exhibited “clear and impermissible hostility” toward the baker’s religious beliefs, which included unequal application of the law. But Justice Elena Kagan wrote a concurring opinion essentially saying that the state could win the next time if it disguised its anti-religious bias. Colorado appears to be taking her invitation.

But to pursue Mr. Phillips so quickly, and with a made-to-legal-order plaintiff, Colorado also seems to be showing its animus again. Nobody knows how a Supreme Court with Brett Kavanaugh seated in place of Anthony Kennedy would rule. But if Mr. Phillips ends up back before the Court, let’s hope the majority this time lays out clear guidelines protecting his religious and speech rights.

The alternative is what we are seeing in Colorado, where progressives appear bent on making a literal federal case out of every cake in America.

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Common sense should tell anyone that the First Amendment’s guarantee of the right to free exercise of religion must override the latest hip and trendy notion(s) of civil rights. Autumn Scardina wants a special cake to celebrate the transition from man to woman? Okay, she is free to shop around and find a baker who is willing to make a suitable cake; I’m guessing most probably would. She should not be able to compel Jack Phillips to do so! Common sense is in short supply these days, however.

Think this persecution of the Christian baker is unusual? Wait until Jared Polis is elected governor of Colorado; it may become the order of the day.

— MRW