Morning Links

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011
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49 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  Mike H | 

    As far as the first story goes, that guy sounds like he’s got a couple of loose shingles himself. Put yourself in the position of the folks who’ll buy his house a few years down the road – water isn’t going to stop seeping through his shitty workmanship just because he “served in the military”.

    You wouldn’t put a sloppy coat of primer over a wall disintegrating with mold and expect visitors and buyers to just ignore the hazardous spores, would you?. Same thing here. This isn’t some lemonade stand, it’s a house (and a major investment for unsuspecting potential buyers). Dude should’ve done the job properly himself, or hired someone who could.

  2. #2 |  Samsam von Virginia | 

    Depending on the age of the house, removing old shingles can be very important because fire-retardant plywood from the 1980′s deteriorates rapidly (I’ve just been thru this on a rental I own).

    Of course, the defective plywood was only there because building codes required it.

    Gov’t: making problems so we can legislate solutions!

  3. #3 |  Tommil | 

    I think we can agree that he should have re-shingled in the correct manner. But, jail time?!!

  4. #4 |  TomG | 

    Mike, don’t jump to conclusions – the story doesn’t say whether the old shingles the guy covered were in terrible condition. It sounds like he took some old ones off, but left others on. I’m not about to assume that he did the repairs improperly.

    If we are going to have “building codes” you have to follow when making repairs, perhaps the city should make them much easier to find and understand, so that you would follow them. Not only that, but that much jail time for a violation that can so easily be remedied is ridiculous. Make the guy do it right if you have to, but don’t put him in jail.

    (Some people will argue that codes are too much of an infringement, and that new buyers should do due diligence on houses to find any bad repairs. I’m not trying to argue that point here, just saying that if you don’t trust owners to keep their houses safe without codes, be reasonable and non-punitive about any infringement.)

  5. #5 |  JS | 

    So can we all agree that in America there really is no such thing as personal property or freedom anymore?

  6. #6 |  Highway | 

    From a roofing standpoint, it’s not a slam dunk whether he was right or wrong with putting a second layer of shingles over an older one. If the roof isn’t leaking, just worn out, then putting a second layer of shingles on is generally an acceptable practice, and saves a significant amount of money. It’s not necessarily ‘sloppy’ or ‘negligent’, it’s just a choice. And given that he had removed shingles from other areas of the house, he probably had a good idea where they needed to be removed, and where he could leave the old ones on at this time. There are plenty of roofs that go 15 years after a reshingling with two layers with no problems.

    But that’s what government does: It takes choices away. And nearly every time, their taking choices away results in cost, not for the government, but for the citizen. I also wouldn’t put it past the inspector to have started hassling this guy because he was doing the work himself, not using a (government licensed) contractor, even though plenty of licensed contractors do a crappy job, too.

  7. #7 |  Ben | 

    Mike, you are making quite a few assumptions here. First of all, you are assuming that putting new shingles over old ones is always bad, which it most certainly isn’t. Depending on the type of shingle and whether the roof had a leak problem before, it might not have any ill effects at all. Secondly, what do you think disclosures are there for on P&S agreements? What makes you think he’s going to withhold this information, and an “unsuspecting buyer” will get stuck with it? And even if he was, he could then sue the seller for withholding material disclosures about the condition of the house. You are just assuming a huge string of facts that are not in evidence.

  8. #8 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Man jailed for shingling his own roof.

    Don’t be fucking ridiculous. No one owns their roof. The roof is part of the house and houses are all rented from the government. If you think otherwise, deprogramming might be an option worth exploring.

  9. #9 |  abhisaha | 

    I am no expert on roofs, and so can’t say whether the repairs performed by the gentleman in question were a good idea.

    Having said that, one should be allowed to make any changes or repairs to a house one owns. (And yes, if a house is re-sold, there should be a full disclosure of any “non-standard” repairs/installations to the next buyer. There are already laws about material disclosures on the books.) Putting someone in jail for shingling his own roof is terrible. I wonder if the IJ can get involved in this one.

  10. #10 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #5 JS

    So can we all agree that in America there really is no such thing as personal property or freedom anymore?

    Correct.

  11. #11 |  Mattocracy | 

    The government is going to waste taxpayers dollars punishing a guy a fro crime that had no victim. There is as much a war on do it yourselfers as there is on drugs.

  12. #12 |  marco73 | 

    Construction codes are in place to protect homeowners from shady contractors. If the roof in question was leaking, then a better method of correcting the problem would have been to remove all the shingles, find the leak, and make necessary corrections.
    That sort of work can be costly. Sounds like the homeowner just reshingled over a section where it would have been troubesome and much more expensive to remove the old shingles.
    When it comes time to sell the house, any inspector would be able to spot the section with the double layer, and allow a buyer to make their own decisions; maybe take a couple dollars off the purchase price to pay for a reroof job.
    But all of the above is a civil matter, not criminal. The government should not be throwing homeowners in jail for making repairs to their own home. At worst, a notice should be attached to the property records, so that a record of the inspection would point out any defects to the construction code. That would provide additional protection to a potential buyer, while still respecting the rights of the homeowner from instrusive government meddling.
    Of course, that probably makes too much sense, so yeah, let’s throw old guys in jail for violating the building code. Must keep the peasants in their place.

  13. #13 |  JS | 

    I was in Colombia South America a few years ago and I met this old man who was adding a room on to his house. He had never heard of a building code or a building permit. He was greatly surprised to find that in America you can’t do whatever you want with your own property. Pretty sad huh? Land of the free.

  14. #14 |  DoubleU | 

    re story #1: Having dealt with the codes department, I can tell you the codes department doesn’t know or understand the codes.

  15. #15 |  SamK | 

    I’ll throw my two cents in on roofing…I’ve done my fair share and the two concerns I’ve always heard were that additional layers of shingles eventually change some aspect of how the building will burn in a fire and that the additional weight can cause structural faults if the rafters aren’t strong enough (when you add in snow/precipitation/other stresses). I don’t have a serious problem with criminal charges for actions that can affect others significantly, such as roofs caving in or ejecting flaming debris that sets other homes on fire. That said, this story feels incomplete. A single extra layer of shingles isn’t a problem anywhere I’ve ever lived so I think it’s likely that his roof has more issues that aren’t documented here or that the municipality has it out for him…or both.

    Also, I don’t have to think that people withhold information when they sell houses. They do. Even when they’re trying awfully damned hard to tell you the truth they forget things they did ten years ago. I purchase about one new rental property a year and I dial in an extra $5k-$10k for the crap we missed when we inspected it prior to purchase. The number of layers of shingles is fairly easy to determine but if the roof is new and doesn’t look like shit/no leaks, I don’t always remember to check.

  16. #16 |  derfel cadarn | 

    Mike H`s comments are moronic the government has no right to arbitrate on this. About the catholic churches problems with child porn the pope should be strung up by his balls,if he had any and the church needs to be hounded into extinction and its buildings and temples pounded into dust. These creatures warrant no better treatment themselves. If this world ever wishes to achieve peace then ALL religion MUST be abolished!

  17. #17 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    “Man jailed for shingling his own roof.”

    Maybe it’s that we’re a young nation, but I’m convinced the US doesn’t truly understand “war” or “jail.”
    These are considered avoid-if-you-can necessary evils, failures in diplomacy, expensive last-ditch measures, in other countries, but are the default pathway (2.3 M behind bars) or Big Business (Halliburton, Raytheon) or entertainment (Casey Anthony)–in the land of the ‘Phree.

  18. #18 |  Dave Krueger | 

    The question shouldn’t be whether or not it’s a good idea to double up on shingles. The real question is whether it should be a crime. There are plenty of civil remedies for consumer fraud and there would be plenty of pre-purchase evaluation options available to home buyers if the government wasn’t in the business of giving people false confidence.

    The real question is whose house is it? If it’s your house, then you get to make the decisions. If the government charges you rent (aka: property taxes) and gets to make decisions like this, then it’s delusional to think you own your house. And keep in mind, the realm of government power is always increasing, so even the decisions the government still leaves to you can be taken away whenever it wants.

  19. #19 |  Deoxy | 

    don’t have a serious problem with criminal charges for actions that can affect others significantly, such as roofs caving in or ejecting flaming debris that sets other homes on fire.

    That is the justification for building codes, and I generally agree with it. The idea here is that fire is a serious social/communal danger (in a city, where buildings are close together), and I agree with that. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_historic_fires

    That said, 90 days in jail seems insanely harsh, especially when the jurisdictions I’m familiar with all allow at least 2 layers of shingles (some of them allow 3).

    I was in Colombia South America a few years ago and I met this old man who was adding a room on to his house. He had never heard of a building code or a building permit. He was greatly surprised to find that in America you can’t do whatever you want with your own property. Pretty sad huh? Land of the free.

    Land of Not-having-100,000-people-homeless-from-one-fire (example from China, 1949 http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=5NYMAAAAIBAJ&sjid=SWoDAAAAIBAJ&pg=6219,1671151&dq=chungking+fire but other examples are available)

  20. #20 |  Highway | 

    The problem with criminal charges for things like building code violations is the same problem that most laws have: the degree is hard to determine, and the harm is not really equivalent. Locking all the exits to a club from the outside is treated the same as ‘second layer of shingles’. And why is ‘violating a stop work order’ a criminal charge at all? It’s a completely civil matter, and even if you violate it, that’s not going to harm someone else (since the continuing building code violation doesn’t go away).

    This man was jailed for ‘Contempt of Bureaucracy’.

  21. #21 |  cryingAces | 

    @JS

    Feel free to move on out to Columbia so you can enjoy their freedoms. Building codes, who needs ‘em!. I love those skyscrapers in second and third world countries so much more than ours.

  22. #22 |  Michael Pack | 

    My two cens,IT’S HE’S DAMN HOUSE AND HE CAN ROOF IT AS HE PLEASES.

  23. #23 |  2nd of 3 | 

    A house down the street from my parents place hasn’t even got a roof over most of it – it has caved in over large parts. It’s still lived in though (two of the local meth heads) but the city doesn’t mess with the guy for some reason. My parent mind their own busines, and since I don’t live there I figure it isn’t my place to say anything either, but I have to wonder why a city would jail a guy for attempting to improve/repair his house while houses in complete disrepair are left alone. Granted this a different city, but I’m betting you could drive around and find housing falling down around that guy’s city too.

  24. #24 |  Mannie | 

    #14 | DoubleU | August 3rd, 2011 at 9:45 am

    re story #1: Having dealt with the codes department, I can tell you the codes department doesn’t know or understand the codes.

    My late father used to eat code inspectors for lunch and pick his teeth with their ribs. He new the National Electrical Code inside out. :-)

    On the shingles, the various codes are not in agreement on overlaying. Here, you can overlay twice. After that, the nails get too long. The MN code sounds like a sop to the roofing industry, to generate work.

  25. #25 |  JS | 

    #21, I am. Soon as I can scrape together some money I’m am leaving this country. Nothing personal, I just would rather live in a freer country.

  26. #26 |  EH | 

    Colombia: Come for the lack of building codes, stay for the death squads.

  27. #27 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Oh, I so love the “America, love it or leave it” mentality. It immediately makes me want to dress up in colorless ill-fitting clothing and monotonically recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

    I have to admit, it never occurred to me that building codes are responsible for our skyscrapers. Silly me. I always thought that skyscrapers are a byproduct of economic prosperity and that building codes mostly did nothing more than codify practices invented by construction industry architectural engineers.

  28. #28 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    “#21, I am. Soon as I can scrape together some money I’m am leaving this country. Nothing personal, I just would rather live in a freer country.”

    Classic. Wasn’t this the lament of the poor and/or oppressed in Russia, Greece, Ireland about a hundred years ago, talking about rags-to-riches America?

  29. #29 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #26 EH

    Colombia: Come for the lack of building codes, stay for the death squads.

    The death squads will be a thing of the past once we win the drug war (which should happen any day now) and restore order to the world, remaking all other nations in our own peaceful image.

  30. #30 |  Dave Krueger | 

    I’m not ready to leave the country yet. We’re still the freest country on the planet as measured by our complete lack of any prison camps (within our national boundaries anyway) and the fact that our police can’t just go around executing people at will (at least when there are cameras around).

    Remember, it’s not oppression when they outlaw something you didn’t want to do anyway (and even if you did want to do it, it’s usually a simple matter to convince yourself that you really didn’t).

  31. #31 |  DoubleU | 

    #24 Mannie
    He knew the National Electrical Code inside out.

    What about the local codes? ;)

  32. #32 |  JS | 

    Yizmo Gizmo “Classic. Wasn’t this the lament of the poor and/or oppressed in Russia, Greece, Ireland about a hundred years ago, talking about rags-to-riches America?”

    Yea only they weren’t considered traitors because they choose to go from spot A on planet earth to spot B. But it’s different if an American wants to emmigrate. American exceptionalism and all that don’t you know old chap.

  33. #33 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    I was never concerned about the US Government actually reducing spending or seriously addressing debt reduction (both would potentially devastate my investment portfolio).

    True to form, you can always bet/invest on the USG to never get off the spending pipe. It is a clear course toward crash city from here.

    But remember, I’m the asshole for profiting from them (USG) spending wildly.

  34. #34 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Building codes maximize the Authoritarian stance of the state (tell you what to do, fine you, throw you in jail) while also minimizing the state’s liability (not responsible for thorough inspections, not liable for bad codes, no guarantees, no claim of best practices).

    Let’s put them in charge of health care!

  35. #35 |  JS | 

    Boyd, if by asshole you mean smart guy.

  36. #36 |  the innominate one | 

    About the woodpecker:

    USFWS definitely overreacted. The woman should have been protected on good Samaritan grounds, if not just common sense. At least the agency apologized (admittedly belatedly). It does appear to be the mistaken or overzealous actions of an agent, not agency policy.

    To clarify one minor point (nitpick, if you prefer), although Radley refers to the woodpecker as “endangered” the article and video refer to it as “protected” and never identify the species. From the video, it looks like a downy or a hairy woodpecker, which are not endangered species, but are protected under the Migratory Bird Act, rather than the Endangered Species Act.

  37. #37 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    As a participant in backyard bird surveys, I’d say the pecker was hairy.

    They are plentiful, protected, and not endangered.

  38. #38 |  tumble | 

    ALL YOU SUGGESTING THE GUY DID A POOR SHINGLING JOBS ARE IGNORANT FOOLS. Asphalt 3-tabs are designed to go up to 3 layers deep. No problem with doubling up. You people will shove your judgment and opinions into whatever hole you think you can fit it into.

  39. #39 |  KBCraig | 

    Totally unrelated to shingles: news on the Texas Innocence front.

    http://gritsforbreakfast.blogspot.com/2011/08/innocence-roundup.html

  40. #40 |  gersan | 

    “Allegedly extremist budget deal doesn’t actually cut government spending.”

    Glad to hear it, Radley. I’m glad that millions of poor and elderly people will not starve to death or get kicked out of their homes or die of preventable diseases due to narcissistic libertarian philosophy.

  41. #41 |  Medicine Man | 

    The woodpecker story reminds me of the term “Lawful Stupid” for some reason.

  42. #42 |  Buzz | 

    I helped my dad re shingle our house’s roof back in ’85. We pulled all the shingles where we needed to replace the plywood and shingled over the old shingles where we didn’t. Having two layers of shingles has nothing to do with it being more or less susceptible to fire. That roof is still solid after 26 years. As far as I can tell, the only reason to pull the old shingles is to inspect the plywood under the roof, and that double shingles might look funny, depending on how you do it. Not sure how either is the governments business.

  43. #43 |  Highway | 

    Buzz, other reasons to pull off the old shingles include mold on the shingles, curling, and excessive damage or wear, but generally if a roof is in good shape, you can’t really tell that there is a second layer of shingles.

  44. #44 |  Nancy Lebovitz | 

    US weapons are getting sold to Somali terrorists at least partly because of one of those “we’re in charge and we mean well” decisions. Instead of paying soldiers directly, the money– all the money– was sent to their families. Actually, there are things the soldiers quite reasonably want and need to buy, and there are all those valuable weapons just sitting there….

  45. #45 |  Windy | 

    OT but right up our alley, it’s an update on a puppycide last year:
    http://www.king5.com/news/local/Protesters-to-show-support-for-owners-of-dog-killed-by-police-126582708.html

  46. #46 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #45 Windy

    OT but right up our alley, it’s an update on a puppycide last year:
    http://www.king5.com/news/local/Protesters-to-show-support-for-owners-of-dog-killed-by-police-126582708.html

    From the article: The City of Des Moines conducted its own internal investigation and found no wrongdoing in the shooting of the dog.

    That’s ’cause a cop wouldn’t be able to detect wrongdoing by another cop if it climbed up and took a big ol’ steaming dump in his lap.

  47. #47 |  Cyto | 

    #30 | Dave Krueger | August 3rd, 2011 at 11:52 am
    I’m not ready to leave the country yet. We’re still the freest country on the planet as measured by our complete lack of any prison camps (within our national boundaries anyway) and the fact that our police can’t just go around executing people at will (at least when there are cameras around).

    Well, unless you are a homeless schizophrenic. Then all bets are off.

    On a more positive note, it looks like the community isn’t going to stand for a whitewash of this one (Kelly Thomas). Maybe they won’t be charged for the murder they committed, but it does look like the complete exoneration that was under way is off the table – as long as the people keep up the pressure.

  48. #48 |  Cyto | 

    #45 | Windy |

    in a related story, a police dog attacked a woman dressed in a blue jumpsuit that resembles the training suit. She was taken to the hospital and treated for her bite wounds.

    Strangely, the officer didn’t feel the need to fire his weapon to prevent imminent bodily harm. Hmmm….

  49. #49 |  Joe | 

    Building department suck. They rarely find bad contractors and often allow unsafe construction to be built. And you can’t sue them when they do screw up.

    But woa to you if you are just some homeowner who crosses their path. Then they figure you can not afford to hire a lawyer and they can fuck with you.

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