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Nevada disengages from constitutional convention movement

Happily, Nevada is now no longer a part of the constitutional convention movement, a misguided, dangerous way to force constitutional change. Only one has been held, and that was in 1787. People on all sides of the political spectrum oppose a constitutional convention because it would be so unpredictable and potentially harmful.

The rules are strict. 2/3’s of the states have to call for a convention and 3/4’s of the states have to ratify whatever the convention passes. So, the process would take years. Still, it’s dangerous. Anything passed by a convention becomes part of the Constitution. A convention could make up its own rules. A convention could be controlled by special interests.

Nevada just said no to being a part of a constitutional convention.

Though the resolution flew largely under the radar, its passage means Nevada has likely untangled itself from rapidly growing national movements to hold a state-led constitutional amendment convention, which could bring up or make constitutionally binding changes to a variety of hot-button issues ranging from restrictions on abortion to requiring a federal balanced budget.

New Mexico, Maryland and Delaware have over the last two years rescinded all official requests for a constitutional convention.

Calling a constitutional convention isn’t a purely partisan debate — Segerblom presented the bill alongside longtime conservative activist Janine Hansen, and said the measure wasn’t “hard to sell” with Republican colleagues given that they share similar fears of a “runaway convention” wreaking havoc on long-established constitutional norms.

Former Chief Justice of the United States Warren Burger wrote in 1988:

“There is no way to effectively limit or muzzle the actions of a Constitutional Convention. The Convention could make its own rules and set its own agenda. Congress might try to limit the Convention to one amendment or one issue, but there is no way to assure that the Convention would obey. After a Convention is convened, it will be too late to stop the Convention if we don’t like its agenda.”

Bad craziness with Facebook login

So… this blog had two posts that weren’t appearing on the home page but were everywhere else. After considerable tweaking, I decided to clear my browser cache going back seven days.

Unfortunately I did this with Facebook open on my laptop. Facebook pitched a fit and locked me out of my laptop account, and said send a photo ID, which I did. (My iPhone Facebook continued to work fine.)

Facebook said I could recover using my email address on Gmail. Unfortunately, it somehow got me mixed up with another Bob Morris on Gmail so none of the email recovery options worked.

Finally, I recovered using my cell phone number which is linked to my Outlook email on Facebook.

And that finally worked.

I am a geek, and this took 30 minutes. Sigh.


Maybe no one wants McMansions anymore?

Boomers are rattling around in their 5,000 sq ft McMansions, eventually planning to downsize into something smaller. That assumes someone will want to buy their ostentatious, high maintenance homes so they can trade down into something cheaper in an walkable suburb or urban area. However, these are precisely the types of homes millennials want too. More and more no one really wants a behemoth McMansion that, as McMansion Hell is fond of saying, was probably built using crappy materials and cheap labor, so things will wear out quickly. McMansions often have multiple, complex roofs because it looks so grand and important, except when you need to replace it, then you’re talking $30,000-40,000. Oh, that.

McMansions will need to be repurposed. Perhaps they could be used as communal living locations, or marijuana grow houses?

Younger and older generations alike are gravitating toward smaller dwellings in more urban, walkable suburbs and cities, with restaurants and coffee shops around the corner. It’s leading to a real estate traffic jam: Increasingly, boomers are getting stuck, because most can’t buy the home of their dreams until they unload their current ones. And many millennials have neither the desire nor the means to help them out.

“What you have is everyone chasing the same type of home,” says Rick Palacios, director of research at John Burns Real Estate Consulting. “More and more buyers of all ages want to avoid having to deal with a huge yard and all the upkeep and the costs to maintain [a larger] home.”

Desalination can’t solve California’s water shortage

Carlsbad CA desalination plant

Many have hoped that desalination plants up and down the coast of California could produce enough water for much of California. Nope. It’s not even close. Were California to build every proposed desal plant, it would account for a mere 1% of what California needs. Plus, there’s no easy way to get that water to where it’s needed which mostly is the Sacramento Delta. Also, the Carlsbad desal plant near San Diego took fifteen years to be built, due to regulatory hurdles and NIMBY lawsuits. New plants won’t happen fast.

There is just one proposed California desal plant that will cut local surface water needs. Only one. Also, desalination is expensive, requires continual maintenance, and uses substantial amounts of electricity which – wait for it – often requires water for cooling. And forget about using solar panels on site to power it on a beach in California. The specter of acres of solar panels on a California beach would cause NIMBYs to wallpaper the project with lawsuits.

There is just one proposed desalination facility that will in fact reduce strain on a local freshwater ecosystem. The proposed California American Water plant near Monterey will directly reduce surface water withdrawals from the Carmel River. Those reduced withdrawals, however, were mandated by the state more than 20 years ago. Such mandates with direct links to meaningful improvements in stream flow should certainly be a factor in deciding whether to build a desalination plant.

While often Californians are persuaded to consider desalination as a way to future water supply security using Israel and Western Australia as examples, one should remember that California is a highly populated state of about 40 million compared to 8 million in Israel and 2.6 million in Western Australia.

Seawater desalination, while can be a very small part of water supply portfolio of some of California’s coastal regions, will not be a significant part of the pie. The math is just not there.

Deeply depressing. Three generations in one house on disability.

WaPo profiles a desperately poor family that lives on disability payments. The ten year old twins, who are the fourth generation in the family on disability, got taken off it because government says they no longer meet the requirements. The family is now unable to meet monthly expenses because of the reduced payments they get.

Yeah, I know. Get a job. Well, the daughter, 32, has a form of Down’s Syndrome, an IQ if 75, and is essentially unemployable. There are four kids. Grandma hasn’t had a job in years. There are no men in the household.

Money management skills? Nope. Cell phones, cable, and internet are $432 a month. Income from disability checks is now $2,000 a month, down from $3,100. The electricity bill is overdue, the furniture was bought on credit with no doubt usurious interest rates.

So grandma tried repeatedly to get the twins back on disability because that’s all she knows how to do. Yes, some super kids can work super hard, maybe get super lucky, and escape this poverty trap. But most can’t.

“Ruth Horn, director of social services in Buchanan County, Va., which has one of the country’s highest rates of disability, has spent decades working with profoundly poor families. Some parents, she said, don’t encourage their children academically, and even actively discourage them from doing well, because they view disability as a “source of income,” and think failure will help the family receive a check.

“It’s not a hard thing to limit a person,” Horn said, adding: “It’s generations deep.”