It’s that time again, time for the “Book of the Day!”  Today it’s:

Traffic: Why We Drive The Way We Do (and What It Says About Us)

And you can get it at the library or pretty cheap at the abebooks link above!


Perfect for those of us who love the road but can’t get out there as often as we’d like.  Part policy, part psychology, with lots of SOLs!  (that’s SNORT out loud)

There are some great snippets in here.  A favorite part is about traffic calming, what works, what doesn’t.  There was this problem with people going too fast through a deer crosswalk, and they put up signs, and, well, who pays attention.  Sign didn’t slow them, sensors with flashing lights when deer were present didn’t slow them, one thing that did get their attention was that someone dumped a deer carcass by the road, that got them to slow down!

Other ideas to slow traffic down, speed bumps (which tend to speed people up!), put a kids bike by the side of the road, a weird sculpture, “a ‘Street Reclaiming Chair,’ a bright throne of sorts, in the middle of a local street and then, wearing a large colorful crown, chat with passing drivers who, not surprisingly, have slowed.”  And of course, topless Danish models holding speed-limit signs.

Factoids like: The US pays about 1/2 of the fuel taxes of drivers in Canada, 1/4 that of the Japanese, and 1/10 of the English.  Adjusted for inflation, the fuel tax brings in less revenue than it did in the 1960s.  YES, INCREASE THE GAS TAX!!!

Lots on street and highway design.  Can’t get enough!



Today is the Xcel Energy “stakeholder” meeting for “stakeholders” at the PUC.  For the IRP docket, CLICK HERE and search for PUC Docket 15-21.


Here are their scenarios:


Regulatory process and timeline.  January 2 filing, 900 pages, and today between that filing and March 16, 2015 filing.  That March 16 filing will be next piece and will complete filing of plan to Commission, then forward with Information Requests and stakeholder meetings, and then PUC decision within next year or so, depending on what’s happening in stakeholder process.  Three components:

1) CAPCON Order (capacity acquisition process)

  • Aurora Solar
  • Calpine combine cycle expension
  • Black Dog 6 Natural gas

2) Increase small solar forecast

3) Sherco Retirement Scenario

  • Sherco 1 & 2 retirement in 2020
  • Sherco 1 retirement in 2020, Sherco 2 retirement in 2023 (based on capacity acquisition process, retirement, etc. scheduling)

For questions about the IRP, contact Jim Alders

This is on the heels of last night’s meeting of “Citizens League Electric Energy” group.  From the Citizens League site:

And notes from committee meetings:

The January 26 meeting isn’t posted, but I scanned them in and will post later.  They had a charge of the “committee” in the Phase 2 Report to support Xcel Energy’s “e21 Initiative” below:


That charge contained this specific direction:

CitizenLeagueChargeReally, this is what it says:

… the Citizens League Study Committee will be asked to draft both a statement and legislation to direct the Public Utilities [Commission] to convene this public dialogue with the support of external stakeholder efforts.

So we shouldn’t have been surprised…  That charge was pretty much fulfilled and presented to the group last night, BUT the good news is that in addition to Alan and my objections to that endorsement of the “e21 Initiative,” there were several long-time Citizens League members who objected to the way that this was done and the endorsement of the e21 Initiative.  (I’ll insert the draft when I get back)

Short version, the Draft was soundly rejected.  WHEW!

And for those concerned about this e21 Initiative, Intervene!!! Yes, Citizen’s League, that’s something YOU can do!

Just filed Petition for Intervention in Xcel’s e21 Docket

February 4th, 2015

How many of these does it take to buy support for these transmission projects ripping across the Midwest?  Not all that many…

For Center for Rural Affairs, “Clean Energy” means “transmission.”  Look at their site:

“Clean Energy”

And of course Wind on the Wires has always been all about transmission.

So here’s an update on just a few of transmission’s shills from the McKnight Foundation Climate and Energy grants page, and note, this is JUST 2014:


Center for Rural Affairs

Lyons NE

to engage local communities in establishing environmentally responsible siting for clean energy transmission in Wisconsin and Iowa, and to co-support the RE-AMP Rural Communities Caucus leader and staff coordinator

Program Area: Midwest Climate & Energy
Year Approved: 2014
Grant Amount: $150,000


Clean Wisconsin, Inc.

Madison WI

for general operating support

Program Area: Midwest Climate & Energy
Year Approved: 2012
Grant Amount: $75,000


Fresh Energy

St. Paul MN

to expand Midwest Energy News’ reporting on Minnesota’s transition to a clean energy economy

Program Area: Midwest Climate & Energy
Year Approved: 2014
Grant Amount: $75,000

to support collaboration on Minnesota energy policy communications

Program Area: Midwest Climate & Energy
Year Approved: 2011
Grant Amount: $50,000


RENEW Wisconsin, Inc.

Madison WI

to support the expansion of Midwest wind power through clean energy transmission

Program Area: Midwest Climate & Energy
Year Approved: 2014
Grant Amount: $20,000


Rockefeller Family Fund, Inc.

New York NY

to support RE-AMP efforts to promote policies that combat global warming

Program Area: Midwest Climate & Energy
Year Approved: 2013
Grant Amount: $5,000,000

to support RE-AMP efforts to promote policies that combat global warming

Program Area: Midwest Climate & Energy
Year Approved: 2010
Grant Amount: $4,225,000

to support RE-AMP efforts to promote policies that combat global warming

Program Area: Midwest Climate & Energy
Year Approved: 2008
Grant Amount: $2,000,000


Wind on the Wires

St. Paul MN

to support work on Midwest transmission policy and planning

Program Area: Midwest Climate & Energy
Year Approved: 2014
Grant Amount: $250,000


Time for a complaint to the FCC, this is too serious to go unreported.  Here’s the FCC Complaint page, scroll down to “TV File Complaint” and hold WBFF Baltimore accountable.

What’s at issue?  WBFF Fox 45 in Baltimore both edited a protest chant and said in a voiceover that the protesters were saying “so kill the cops.”  And that’s a lie.  And no, it’s not an innocent one. I’ve done a few years in radio, know about editing, and the chant was repeated and repeated, and they had to work to falsely report it, both in editing of the chant, and in the voiceover.  Innocent mistake? NO! WRONG! It wasn’t just once, but TWICE! Someone had to edit it and someone else did the voiceover, and I’d guess that someone else told them both how to do it and what words to use.

Here’s the original FALSE report and note they tie it in to the police assassination in New York:


Shame, shame, SHAME! File a complaint with the FCC:

The WBFF Fox 45 embedded code doesn’t work, so here’s THEIR PAGE ON THIS AND “APOLOGY”, and their link to the WBFF interview:  Fox 45 interviews Tawanda Jones .  There’s a comment section — be sure to tell them what you think!  WBFF stresses that this was an “HONEST error” (emphasis is theirs) but as Tawanda Jones notes, how is that possible?  The chant was repeated over and over and over.  They did a voiceover.  Tawanda Jones, I hope you’re shopping for a heavy hitting attorney to sue them and shut this down.

A compilation of the pieces of this story from TPM:
TPM: Baltimore Fox affiliate edits protest footage to sound like “Kill a Cop”

This is their roundabout admission from Facebook:

Last night on Fox45 News at Ten we aired a story regarding the increased risk in being a police officer in light of recent grand jury rulings and the shooting deaths of two police officers in New York City. We aired part of a protest covered by CSPAN that appeared to have protesters chanting “kill a cop”. We spoke to the person in the video today and she told us that is not what she was chanting. Indeed, Tawanda Jones, says she was chanting, “We won’t stop ‘til killer cops are in cell blocks”. We invited Tawanda to appear on Fox45 News at 5:00 and Fox45 News at Ten tonight for an interview so we can discuss the video and the recent violence in New York City. She has kindly accepted and we will bring you that tonight.

That’s not adequate.  When they’ve reported such inflammatory lies, how can something like that ever be retracted?  Something like this, particularly because the false notion that protestors are wanting to “kill cops” has to be loudly and publicly stopped, with strong action by the public and regulators, with monitoring and correcting each and every instance that protesters are branded, and a lawsuit or two by every protester falsely “quoted” and labeled.  SHAME!  This is false propaganda, abuse of media power at its worst.


Big thanks to everyone who posted photos of yesterday’s action at the MOA. 3,000 or so Minnesotans showed up to demand accountability, professionalism, and basic civil rights — that BLACK LIVES MATTER. ALL LIVES MATTER!

And it’s in the New York Times!
Chanting ‘Black Lives Matter,’ Protesters Shut Down Part of Mall of America

In the STRIB, here’s Keith Ellison:
For Rep. Keith Ellison, recent protests speak of a lifelong struggle

The MOA issued a letter saying that protesters were not to be allowed inside, that they would be restricted to a certain part of a remote parking lot. Bloomington police, MOA and other security were there, looking like they’d just stopped off from the RNC wardrobe warehouse, full riot gear. But that didn’t stop the group from gathering in the mall. They took over the rotunda, and surrounding balconies, and shut it down for a while. YES! Because part of the problem here is that capitalism gets in the way of democracy, so it’s appropriate that one of the biggest shopping days of the year is brought to a screeching halt. A very diverse crowd including a group of Universalist pastors were on hand, a die-in here and there. Demonstrators were joined by shoppers and workers, some of whom were pushed back into a store and the gate slammed down (!). This IS what democracy looks like.

Meanwhile, “Fox News Seizes on NYC Cop Killing to Bash Obama” There’s a particularly slimy post going around equating protesting with police assassination, and police assassination with protesting, with this paragraph in it that… well… here it is:

So while you sit there, sympathizing with the criminals and becoming part of the problem by saying, “Hands up, don’t shoot” or “I can’t breathe” and preaching an ignorant and biased agenda against an individual who would willingly die for you in an instant, no matter if you like them or not; while you sit there with hate and distaste over the fact that they are “all racist” and they can hide behind the badge and without mercy, murder anyone they please-while you sit there and bask in all the hatred that has been ignited this past year, understand that they will ALWAYS be there to help you.

… oh give me a break… are people so incapable of critical thinking? Is it so hard to hold police accountable? To expect them to follow the law like the rest of us? To expect professionalism, that they follow basic policy and procedure in use of deadly force? And if we expect that, if we demand that, then hey, we’re terrorists and assassins? Right…

So on a lighter note, a historical note, is the Maul of America public property? NOT! So says the Minnesota Court of Appeals and the Minnesota Supreme Court. (Did they consider the public subsidies and pork to the Mall, to build it, to expand it, and maybe the protesters were standing on their own piece of the MOA? Naaaah, it doesn’t quite work that way. It’s like transmission lines, even though we pay for it we don’t own it. Go figure…)

Anyway, here are a couple of decisions on that issue, with the Court of Appeals and Minnesota Supreme Court bashing and tossing out the thorough and well-considered decision of Judge Nordby:

Alan says: I highly recommend reading at least the 1999 Final Order from Judge Jack S. Nordby on a demonstration at the MOA and whether it is public property:

Court of Appeals decision

Supreme Court decision