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  #101  
Old 10-21-2019, 03:51 PM
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We're told to expect an 18-24 hour cutoff tonight, comencing in about 4 hours. Lows tonight are mid-40s F so we can tolerate one heatless night, but any longer and we're outa here, maybe into well-lit Nevada. A generator dealer will arrive in an hour, trying to sell us one, but demand is high, so nothing will be installed before January.

PG&E directors and managers should be tried, executed painfully, and their family wealth confiscated. That's a start.
  #102  
Old 10-21-2019, 03:58 PM
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We're told to expect an 18-24 hour cutoff tonight, comencing in about 4 hours. Lows tonight are mid-40s F so we can tolerate one heatless night, but any longer and we're outa here, maybe into well-lit Nevada. A generator dealer will arrive in an hour, trying to sell us one, but demand is high, so nothing will be installed before January.

PG&E directors and managers should be tried, executed painfully, and their family wealth confiscated. That's a start.
Think of all the carbon footprints that you aren’t leaving.
  #103  
Old 10-21-2019, 04:08 PM
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Dude, you're a dick.
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  #104  
Old 10-21-2019, 04:47 PM
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Dude, you're a dick.
Hey now! Im not the one calling for torture over a problem the state is in part responsible for.

But I can tell the misanthropes around here are glass half empty types.
  #105  
Old 10-30-2019, 12:48 PM
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Now there is even more stink to this affair.

Southern California Edison equipment was responsible for the Woolsey fire which destroyed 1643 structures, killed three people, and forced the evacuation of more than 295000 people.

Additionally, they and Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) are being investigated for charging customers during the time their power is shut off.

So besides being thieves, they have money for parties and lavish offices and obscene pay to the top guys but no money to maintain equipment.

I think i's time to END this government sanctioned private monopoly of utilities and take them over. It isn't working. Socialize them and ramp up the oversight.

And maybe start locking people up for negligence and dereliction of duty.
  #106  
Old 10-31-2019, 02:44 PM
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Hubby and I traveled to California at the end of September. Drove from Auburn, CA (north of Sacramento) to San Diego. Beautiful drive. However, much of it was a tinderbox waiting to be lit. Irrigation is clearly allowing millions of people to live in places where they couldn't otherwise; the downside is this constant threat of wildfires.

Since telling people to leave isn't a plausible solution, IMO burying the lines is the only solution. Our subdivision has buried lines, and it's not only more beautiful, but we are rarely without power when the rest of the city is.

Burying lines is going to cost a ton of money, tear up a lot of vegetation, and take a lot of time. But they need to come up with a Plan B. PG&E should invest its profits into making this happen. And customers should pony up some more, too.

P.S. Oh, and speaking of those irrigation channels, they should eventually be enclosed, too. I cannot imagine what percentage of water is being lost to evaporation. Works now but won't work forever.
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  #107  
Old 10-31-2019, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by PunditLisa View Post
Since telling people to leave isn't a plausible solution, IMO burying the lines is the only solution. Our subdivision has buried lines, and it's not only more beautiful, but we are rarely without power when the rest of the city is.

Burying lines is going to cost a ton of money, tear up a lot of vegetation, and take a lot of time. But they need to come up with a Plan B. PG&E should invest its profits into making this happen. And customers should pony up some more, too.
Yes, but buried transmission lines also cost more money every day they are in use, for the decades they will be used.

Buried lines are less efficient than overhead lines (mainly due to capacitance effects, with some minor effect from overheating). This results in higher transmission loss -- this is electricity wasted in the transmission grid. This is already 10-15% wasted in the existing mainly-overhead transmission system; converting to buried transmission lines would waste 2-5% more electricity.

When we are all making efforts to conserve energy, like replacing incandescent light bulbs & adding light timers, we ought to look twice at changes that will cause a 33% increase in transmission line wasted electricity.

Last edited by Tim@T-Bonham.net; 10-31-2019 at 05:47 PM.
  #108  
Old 10-31-2019, 05:50 PM
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Now there is even more stink to this affair.

Southern California Edison equipment was responsible for the Woolsey fire which destroyed 1643 structures, killed three people, and forced the evacuation of more than 295000 people.

Additionally, they and Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) are being investigated for charging customers during the time their power is shut off.

So besides being thieves, they have money for parties and lavish offices and obscene pay to the top guys but no money to maintain equipment.

I think i's time to END this government sanctioned private monopoly of utilities and take them over. It isn't working. Socialize them and ramp up the oversight.

And maybe start locking people up for negligence and dereliction of duty.
You think the current batch of workers and managers are useless? Have the state take it over and fill it with unionized government workers and you’ll need to prepare for real Armageddon.
  #109  
Old 10-31-2019, 05:57 PM
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You think the current batch of workers and managers are useless?
Who said anything about the workers?
  #110  
Old 10-31-2019, 06:15 PM
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You think the current batch of workers and managers are useless? Have the state take it over and fill it with unionized government workers and you’ll need to prepare for real Armageddon.
I grew up on a farm near a small town. Everyone got their electricity either from the rural co-op or the city municipal electricity. Both of those were effectively government workers, an they did a good job. (Both had crews that regularly trimmed trees, so they didn't interfere with the power lines -- something PG&E seems to have neglected.) And the electricity prices there were (and still are) cheaper than what I pay to the private electricity company in Minneapolis.

Besides, isn't this problem related to PG&E management, not their workers?
The management decided not to do the needed maintenance work but instead spend the money elsewhere (management bonuses, profits for stockholders). If the workers had been assigned to do the maintenance, it would have been done. I haven't heard complaints about the quality of their work, just that they weren't assigned to do the work.
  #111  
Old 10-31-2019, 06:56 PM
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Yes, but buried transmission lines also cost more money every day they are in use, for the decades they will be used.

Buried lines are less efficient than overhead lines (mainly due to capacitance effects, with some minor effect from overheating). This results in higher transmission loss -- this is electricity wasted in the transmission grid. This is already 10-15% wasted in the existing mainly-overhead transmission system; converting to buried transmission lines would waste 2-5% more electricity.

When we are all making efforts to conserve energy, like replacing incandescent light bulbs & adding light timers, we ought to look twice at changes that will cause a 33% increase in transmission line wasted electricity.
Seems to me that the fires are costing more than burying them would. YMMV.
  #112  
Old 10-31-2019, 06:56 PM
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You think the current batch of workers and managers are useless? Have the state take it over and fill it with unionized government workers and you’ll need to prepare for real Armageddon.
Speaking as a unionized government worker...

..it probably isn't worth getting into it with you. Suffice it to say I think you have either an entirely exaggerated view of how useless government workers are or a hugely inflated view of how comparatively competent private employees are. I work in close contact with a gigantic multi-national corporation - they do not conspicuously cover themselves with glory.

At any rate PG&E employees mostly are unionized and as a utility can effectively be considered quasi-governmental. The fault isn't with the employees, it is largely with inadequate staffing and invested resources and the inappropriate pressures put on them by that inadequate staffing. And that all comes down to money.

Which to be fair is also a problem with fully government-owned utilities - we're always under the gun in terms of funding, as there is a political cost to higher utility rates and taxes. But the profit motive adds a whole 'nother layer of complications.

Last edited by Tamerlane; 10-31-2019 at 07:00 PM.
  #113  
Old 10-31-2019, 08:29 PM
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Seems to me that the fires are costing more than burying them would. YMMV.
Yeah, but the crucial point is that they're not costing PG&E more than burying the lines would.

PG&E is offloading a lot of the cost of the fires on taxpayers (not just California taxpayers, but all American taxpayers). Burying the lines, on the other hand, would cut into the funds available for executive salaries and bonuses, lavish parties, and so on.
  #114  
Old 10-31-2019, 10:45 PM
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I stand corrected! That’s the third time this month.
  #115  
Old 11-01-2019, 07:07 PM
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Gov. Newsom threatens possible PG&E takeover if no plan is made:
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California’s governor on Friday threatened a possible takeover of the troubled utility blamed for sparking deadly wildfires across the state with its outdated equipment unless it can emerge from bankruptcy ahead of next year’s wildfire season with a plan focused on safety.

Gov. Gavin Newsom called all sides to a meeting early next week, saying he would personally try to mediate a solution involving Pacific Gas & Electric.

But if an agreement can’t be reached, Newsom said, “then the state will prepare itself as backup for a scenario where we do that job for them.”
Quote:
“This is not the new normal,” Newsom said. “There are things that can be done immediately and will be done immediately.”

Last edited by Snowboarder Bo; 11-01-2019 at 07:08 PM.
  #116  
Old 03-23-2020, 04:06 PM
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PG&E to plead guilty to lethal crimes in 2018 wildfires.
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Pacific Gas & Electric will plead guilty to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter for a swath of death and destruction left behind after its fraying electrical grid ignited a 2018 wildfire that decimated three Northern California towns and drove the nation’s largest utility into bankruptcy.

The plea agreement announced Monday resolves the charges facing PG&E as part of a previously sealed indictment in Butte County. It marks the second time this decade that the company’s neglect has culminated in it being deemed a criminal. PG&E already is serving a five-year criminal probation imposed after it was convicted of six felony counts for falsifying records and other safety violations underlying a natural gas explosion that blew up a neighborhood and killed eight people in San Bruno, California.
If I pled guilty to 84 counts of manslaughter while I was on probation for similar safety violations, I would never be allowed to work in that industry again AND I would serve many years in jail. But corporate people are different than people people, and so no one will serve any jail time and they'll still be in the same business.

Corporate personhood is a fucked up concept that the US should do away with.
  #117  
Old 03-24-2020, 02:38 AM
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Abolishing corporate personhood would just mean that each individual shareholder was personally liable for corporate debts. Like, if your retirement account owned shares in PG&E, PG&E having no corporate personhood would mean that your personal property would be sold to pay for PG&E's debt.

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 03-24-2020 at 02:40 AM.
  #118  
Old 03-24-2020, 05:36 AM
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Corporate personhood and limited liability are two separate concepts.
  #119  
Old 03-24-2020, 05:39 AM
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Abolishing corporate personhood would just mean that each individual shareholder was personally liable for corporate debts. Like, if your retirement account owned shares in PG&E, PG&E having no corporate personhood would mean that your personal property would be sold to pay for PG&E's debt.
Of course! That is entirely obvious. But perhaps you could explain the inevitability to some of our slower members.

Last edited by elucidator; 03-24-2020 at 05:40 AM.
  #120  
Old 03-24-2020, 09:20 AM
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Abolishing corporate personhood would just mean that each individual shareholder was personally liable for corporate debts. Like, if your retirement account owned shares in PG&E, PG&E having no corporate personhood would mean that your personal property would be sold to pay for PG&E's debt.
No; it wouldn't necessarily mean that unless we said it meant that. There are more options available than you list. For instance:
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Originally Posted by David Law
It is quite popular in other countries to have some kind of restriction in the constitution on property rights, how property can be used. Property rights have to be consistent with social welfare. You can’t use property in such a way that it harms society. If you think of a corporation as a bundle of property rights, those specific clauses provide a basis for regulating corporations.
Corporations can exist, they just shouldn't be considered to be people. They aren't people; they are property. Granting them legal personhood was a stupid, short-sighted shortcut for legislators and the unforeseen repercussions are awful for society.

Last edited by Snowboarder Bo; 03-24-2020 at 09:21 AM.
  #121  
Old 03-24-2020, 12:10 PM
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Granting them legal personhood was a stupid, short-sighted shortcut for legislators and the unforeseen repercussions are awful for society.
Actually, corporate personhood in the United States is more of a creation of the courts than of the legislature.
  #122  
Old 03-24-2020, 12:32 PM
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Actually, corporate personhood in the United States is more of a creation of the courts than of the legislature.
How so? Courts passed the Dictionary Act? Courts signed it into law?
  #123  
Old 03-24-2020, 01:03 PM
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How so? Courts passed the Dictionary Act? Courts signed it into law?
It was the court reporter's interpretation of the SCotUS ruling on Santa Clara County v Southern Pacific RR in 1886. The infamous headnote, authored by one J. C. Bancroft Davis, reads
One of the points made and discussed at length in the brief of counsel for defendants in error was that 'corporations are persons within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.' Before argument, Mr. Chief Justice Waite said: The court does not wish to hear argument on the question whether the provision in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which forbids a State to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws, applies to these corporations. We are all of the opinion that it does.
It might be worth noting that the guy who wrote that had been president of the Newburgh and New York Railway Company, but he passed a memo to Chief Justice Morrison Waite who replied that it looked about right to him.

It is upon the basis of Davis' headnote that SCotUS rulings have borne forward with corporate personhood.
  #124  
Old 03-24-2020, 01:13 PM
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Wasn't the Dictionary Act passed by the 41st Congress 15 or so years before Mr.Davis' headnote was written?
  #125  
Old 03-24-2020, 02:00 PM
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How so? Courts passed the Dictionary Act? Courts signed it into law?
Raise your eyebrow all you want, but if you think it was the Dictionary Act, by itself, that created the modern definition of corporate personhood, all that shows is that you haven't read very broadly on the subject.

The Dictionary Act was originally designed largely as a streamlining measure, with a desire "to avoid prolixity and tautology in drawing statutes and to prevent doubt and embarrassment in their construction." The aim of the Congress itself was not really to give corporations the same legal protections as persons. The most important decisions related to corporate personhood in the United States, particularly regarding questions of rights, come out of 14th Amendment jurisprudence and the application of things like the due process and equal protection clauses, as well as the post-14th incorporation of (some of) the protections of the Bill of Rights for corporations against state actions. Plenty of (probably most) corporate personhood cases never mention the Dictionary Act at all. I'm not arguing that it's completely irrelevant; only that the courts have done considerably more than the legislature to shore up corporate personhood over the last century or so.
  #126  
Old 03-24-2020, 02:03 PM
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Sure; but they could never have done that without the Dictionary Act existing in the first place, could they?

I'm not going to excuse the folks who chose expedience over propriety. Nor do I excuse all the subsequent Congresses that could have changed it but chose not to.

Last edited by Snowboarder Bo; 03-24-2020 at 02:06 PM.
  #127  
Old 03-24-2020, 02:04 PM
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Wasn't the Dictionary Act passed by the 41st Congress 15 or so years before Mr.Davis' headnote was written?
It is kind of irrelevant. SCotUS interprets its rulings in the context of the Constitution, which takes precedence over acts of Congress. The law runs up against the courts, which interpret the full body of law and thus can determine the ultimate meaning of statutory law.

SCotUS has interpreted the law with the S.C.C.v.SPRR headnote in mind, granting civil rights to corporations. Any laws drafted must be considers relative to how SCotUS will rule on the matter, until such time as the big parchment is amended in a way that will clarify the question.
  #128  
Old 03-24-2020, 02:07 PM
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In what way do you think this aspect of the Dictionary Act is unconstitutional?
  #129  
Old 03-24-2020, 02:33 PM
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OK, so if PG&E gets fined, and the fine is beyond the amount of available corporate assets, all of the shareholders have to pay that fine, in proportion to the number of shares that they hold. Why is this a problem?

If you're holding enough shares that that's a significant hardship for you, then you have enough shares to have non-negligible voting power, and so it was partly your decisions that resulted in whatever action the fine was for. Why shouldn't the shareholders be held accountable for their decisions?
  #130  
Old 03-24-2020, 02:51 PM
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Because socialism for the wealthy and capitalism for the rest of us, prolly.
  #131  
Old 03-24-2020, 02:51 PM
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OK, so if PG&E gets fined, and the fine is beyond the amount of available corporate assets, all of the shareholders have to pay that fine, in proportion to the number of shares that they hold. Why is this a problem?
Because it's not legal. Corporate shareholders liability only extends to the value of their shares as it relates to obligations of the corporation.
  #132  
Old 03-24-2020, 08:48 PM
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In what way do you think this aspect of the Dictionary Act is unconstitutional?
I never suggested that the Act itself was unconstitutional. It defines “person”. That is unchanged. Essentially, interpretation of the 1886 ruling simply extends the constitutional protections enjoyed by individuals to include corporations. It does not affect the definition in the congressional Act, it just broadens it.

By analogy, American citizens have all these rights under the Constitution, but the courts have generally ruled that those rights are not exclusive to citizens: visitors who are citizens of some other nation are protected in kind. In the same way, the courts seem to hold that the rights of persons are not exclusive to biological living humans but also extend to cover corporations.

I am not saying this is proper or ideal or makes a whole lot of sense, but the courts are the arbiters of the law, as interpreted by its judges, and as it stands, until the Constitution is amended in a way that changes their interpretation, corporations will continue to enjoy the rights of persons.

Of course, if the benches could be refilled with judges who can find ways to interpret the laws differently, amending the Constitution might be forestalled. At present, it looks like those important courts are being pushed in the opposite direction and will not change for the better in your or my lifetime.
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