Progress on the home front!

September 23rd, 2012

Well, technically, progress on the home back!


I finally built the railing and posts for the frame for the awning I made, a little 9 x 18 number from a gazebo cover,and it’ll have a conduit frame.  FINALLY, it’s been waiting for months, and now that it’s 30 degrees out, time to get it done!



The awning frame will sit on top of the rail that will soon be connecting the posts, well anchored in, and connected to the house, and the area off to the right, with a rail already there will be the summer kitchen, covered with that corrugated plastic stuff, covering my “Direct Action” stove.  And of course that’s our dear Summer dog, she had a good day today, strolled around the house, spent hours outside, she is one happy pup.  This is what 13.5 looks like in a German Shepherd!


Mudroom bathroom soon!!!

September 10th, 2012

Summer grrrrrrrrrl approves!  From this, when we first looked at the house (Honey Bear’s mom, hang in there, you WILL get your “new” house habitable!):


To this, soon to be the mudroom laundry and bathroom:


And the cute little sink we found will go in the corner under that bag of bags on the right, and maybe another window on that far wall window to open it up, provide a view!  There’s a decent sized window opposite the washer/dryer.  What thrills me most is that the awful laminate crap is GONE, and the vinyl underneath is OK and growing on me.  I’d prefer to get down to the wood, odds are it’s good because the wood has been good throughout this house so far, even if it’s only pine flooring in this part, but it looks from the hole cut for the toilet that it’s a good solid floor.  Anyway, we’ll keep this vinyl.  It’s a cute pattern, seafoam green, light and a medium shade, on off-white, very 60s, not quite as good as the 50-60s nuclear wall paper in my office at the other house, but I can live with this when it’s scrubbed up.  Walls need to be painted, antique white again, or a very light seafoam green and GET RID of the depressing blue, and that will open it up some too.

The worst of this, well, it’s good in that the bad news of this was that we figured the mudroom was essentially an old porch so the plumbing would have to go straight back, through the wall into the cabinets in the kitchen and then down, BUT the good news is that noooooooo, it’s not, there’s a coal bin under there, so it’s INSIDE!  But that meant the bad news of digging all the coal out of the bin, lots of it, bags and bags, and we’re still waiting to hear from the guy who has a steam engine who wanted it, now that it’s all upstairs and outside, he’s disappeared.  Alan’s been spending his days in the coal bin, crawling in the teeny hole, hauling out coal, hauling in equipment and parts and plumbing all of this.  It’s almost good to go, LITERALLY!

Fixing up a house takes a while, but it’s happening, this is a big step.  And then, dormer and bath up in the attic!  Yeah, that’s it.  And sometime, get that awful laminate crap out of the kitchen.  It’s so slippery ol’ Summer can’t stand up on it, it’s like the poor dear is on a skating rink, all 4 feet going in separate directions.

And this wall in the kitchen????  The island is jettisoned (pinkISH cabinets, what WERE they thinking), as is the blue.  YUCK, how depressing can it get, they must have had prozac dispensers at the doors (how bad can it get?  Yes, it does get worse, the dining room, living room, and pantry just through door are DARK DARK green.  The pantry now matches the kitchen, see below, but living room and dining room still need brightening):


That ugly room is now this happy and light room.  I’m trying to put the cabinets back that must have filled that ugly blue wall when the house was built, found two units one free and one for $35 and a butcher block counter and a wall unit from a cabinet surplus place.  Since this photo below, the wall outlet is fixed, there’s a heavy duty Hunter ceiling fan now in the middle, and another pool table light fixture over the sink off to the left, pegboard soon on the wall over the “new” counter, slowly it’s happening, and as you can see, Summer is so happy (as Kate quietly practices her 2nd position ballet steps in the background):


An August Weds & Thurs at MPCA

September 10th, 2012


Wednesday, August 29th and Thursday, August 30th at the MPCA were days focused on the Range.  (yes, it’s taken forever to get this posted)

Wednesday, August 29th was the “Haze Day” at the MPCA, a hearing held by the federal Environmental Protection Agency because it wants to take back the MPCA’s haze regulatory authority and adopt rules.  The MPCA has had a very, very long time to deal with this, and hasn’t done the job.   Here’s the MPCA page:

MPCA’s Minnesota Regional Haze Plan

Comments are due

Meanwhile, in a different venue, there’s a federal lawsuit afoot:

Lawsuit challenges wilderness haze plan

And then on Thursday, August 30, it was all about greenhouse gas emissions, but for only a handful of facilities, taconite plants on the range.  This one was really bizarre.  It started with the MPCA’s Ass. A.G. running down the “jurisdictional” exhibits to enter into the record.  Alan and I were the last in, and signed on page 3 of the sign in sheet.  They had much needed coffee, and some great macadamia nut white chocolate cookies.  The Asst. A.G. noted in his presentation (and he seemed to have zero familiarity with the exhibits) that it did not meet the notice requirements but that he regarded it as harmless error and wanted a finding from the judge to that effect.  I was in the back of the room, and noted more empty chairs than there were the day before, and got to wondering…

Starting at the beginning, here is the MPCA page for the greenhouse gas rules for taconite plants on the Range:

Air Quality Rules; the MPCA Proposes to Adopt Permanent Rules Implementing Federal Air Permit Thresholds for Greenhouse Gases (GHG — Temporary Rules in Effect Since January 24, 2011)

When I testified, I had a few questions, and learned that the Notice and list of those receiving notice, and some of the other “jurisdictional” documents were not available online.

If notice was not adequate, as the Asst. A.G. stated, twice, maybe more, then they’ve got a problem under Minnesota’s admnistrative law:

Subd. 1a.Notice of rule hearing.

(a) Each agency shall maintain a list of all persons who have registered with the agency for the purpose of receiving notice of rule proceedings. Persons may register to receive notice of rule proceedings by submitting to the agency:

(1) their electronic mail address; or

(2) their name and United States mail address.

The agency may inquire as to whether those persons on the list wish to remain on it and may remove persons for whom there is a negative reply or no reply within 60 days. The agency shall, at least 30 days before the date set for the hearing, give notice of its intention to adopt rules by United States mail or electronic mail to all persons on its list, and by publication in the State Register.

…oops… and not only that:


All hearings of state agencies required to be conducted under this chapter shall be conducted by an administrative law judge assigned by the chief administrative law judge or by a workers’ compensation judge assigned by the chief administrative law judge as provided in section 14.48. All hearings required to be conducted under chapter 176 shall be conducted by a compensation judge assigned by the chief administrative law judge. In assigning administrative law judges or compensation judges to conduct hearings under this chapter, the chief administrative law judge shall attempt to utilize personnel having expertise in the subject to be dealt with in the hearing. It shall be the duty of the judge to: (1) advise an agency as to the location at which and time during which a hearing should be held so as to allow for participation by all affected interests; (2) conduct only hearings for which proper notice has been given; (3) see to it that all hearings are conducted in a fair and impartial manner. Except in the case of workers’ compensation hearings involving claims for compensation it shall also be the duty of the judge to make a report on each proposed agency action in which the administrative law judge functioned in an official capacity, stating findings of fact and conclusions and recommendations, taking notice of the degree to which the agency has (i) documented its statutory authority to take the proposed action, (ii) fulfilled all relevant procedural requirements of law or rule, and (iii) in rulemaking proceedings, demonstrated the need for and reasonableness of its proposed action with an affirmative presentation of facts.

Oops again!

Anyway, here is what they sent me in response to my request for the Exhibits (particularly the notice exhibits, 6 and 7):

Minnesota PCA Jurisdictional Document Title Table of Comments

Exhibit 1: Request for Comments Notice (aq-rule4-05a)

Exhibit 2: Revisor’s Extract of Proposed Rules (aq-rule4-05d)

Exhibit 3 – the SONAR and links

List of Exhibits
· Final Prevention of Significant Deterioration and Title V Greenhouse Gas Tailoring Rule, 40 CFR Parts 51, 52, 70, and 71. EPA, docket number EPA–HQ–OAR–2009–0517; FRL–9152–8. (75 FR 31514-31608), June 3, 2010. Follow this link:
· Regulatory Impact Analysis for the Final Prevention of Significant Deterioration and Title V Greenhouse Gas Tailoring Rule, Final Report (May 2010); Linda M. Chappell, EPA, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards. Follow this link:
· Deferral for CO2 Emissions From Bioenergy and Other Biogenic Sources Under the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Title V Programs, 40 CFR Parts 51, 52, 70, and 71. EPA, docket number EPA–HQ–OAR–2011–0083; FRL–9431–6. (76 FR 43490-43508) July 20, 2011. Follow this link:
· Standards of Performance for Stationary Spark Ignition Internal Combustion Engines and National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Reciprocating Internal Combustion aq-rule4-05b 38 June 2012
Engines, 40 CFR Parts 60, 63, 85, 90, 1048, 1065, and 1068. EPA, docket number EPA-HQ-OAR-2005-0030, FRL-8512-4. (73 FR 3567-3614) January 18, 2008. Follow this link:
· Adopted Exempt Rule Relating to Greenhouse Gas Permit Requirements (chapters 7005 to 7007). (35 SR 1097-1108) January 24, 2011. Follow this link:
· Insignificant Activities Assessment – Spreadsheet. MPCA staff (file attached):

Exhibit 4:

Exhibit 5:

Exhibit 6 – Subscribers of Rulemaking: Federal Air Permit Thresholds for Greenhouse Gases Rule:

MPCA Notice List 2 – 5172625

Exhibit 7? – Subscribers of Air Regulatory and Technical Information, Rulemaking: Federal Air Permit Thresholds for Greenhouse Gases Rule:

MPCA email notice list I – 4702381

Exhibit 8: Comments received on proposed Greenhouse Gas Rule (aq-rule4-05r)

Labor Day

September 3rd, 2012

Just the facts, ma’am…


This is a chart showing the unemployment rate from 1948 to 2012, marked every six years.  You can find the numbers for yourself at the Bureau of Labor Statistics Data page, plug in whatever years you want, and there it is:

Bureau of Labor Statistics Data

Take a look at trends.   This is not rocket science…

I’ve been seeing so much, opinions expressed by people who should know better, a handful or more I hear from regularly (maybe not so much anymore!), making statements so far in contradiction to easily discoverable facts, it’s so disturbing, and this mantra of “say it enough and it becomes true” is driving me nuts…

I went on a little Labor Day rant earlier:

Labor Day… Yes, it’s true, my great-grandfather on my mother’s side was a union organizer and buddy of Debs; my father often told us of being a kid hanging at the outskirts of the teamster strike and shootings in his Mpls. neighborhood by Hiawatha-Lake, guns going off and running to safety. Here it is Labor Day, and we should be expressing gratitude for 8 hour days, overtime pay, weekends, minimum wage, elimination of much child labor… and taking a day off! I’m seeing the rants of people clueless of those who gave so much and fought so hard for things today’s workers take for granted, so much so that they’ll roll over and give it up, act against their interests… and then when they’re hit with economic reality, to vilify unions (Wisconsin is just across the Mississippi from here) and blame the current unemployment rates and economic disaster on Obama? Even my life-long Republican father sitting in diapers at the nursing home had the sense to give Bush the finger every time his mug appeared. Repeating the propaganda over and over does not make it true, though it does a lot to keep me outraged and fighting! Dog grant me the serenity…

And let’s be clear — I have a personal and professional disgust about Obama’s support of coal gasification a la Excelsior Energy’s Mesaba Project, and his fast-tracking SEVEN transmission projects, including “my” Susquehanna-Roseland and CapX? 2020 Hampton-Rochester-LaCrosse (What does Obama’s Xmsn push mean?), and then there’s fracking… I spend hours writing the White House (rattling the cage enough to get a call from Lauren Azar!), the campaign, and pieces here, and you all know about that disgust in detail, but the alternative?  Romney is so repulsive, repugnant that I have no words, and I am going to have to hold my nose, and vote for Obama the corporate toady.  But more than that, if there’s any chance Romney could get in, it’s time to act and do what I can to keep that from happening.  It’s time.  I now feel I have to kick into gear and do more, the prospect of Romney getting elected is more than I can bear, and it’s a lot more than Seamus:


It’s a lot more than giving my Social Security to Wall Street, or Romney and Ryan’s desire to eliminate Medicare (though having health care in a few years is something I am so looking forward too).   This is a “Drill, Baby, Drill” guy, a proponent of nuclear power, his Energy Plan is embarassing, that he put something like that out in public, OH MY DOG, and yet, people aren’t rolling on the floor laughing?  WAKE UP!  Read the stupid thing:

Romney’s Energy Plan – much ado about nothing

How is it that someone this monumentally stupid, look up vacuous and there he is, he and his handlers, how can he be deemed Presidential material?  Did you see his facial expressions during his big speech last week?  OH MY DOG!  Scary… utterly phony.

And they’re calling this election close.  How is it that people I know and respect and care about can have their heads SO implanted?  In large part, I think we’re seeing the result of our “educational” system, zero critical thinking abilities…  So it’s time to do more than hitting reply and send the Obama team scathing emails about their horrible policy positions (don’t worry, I’ll be doing that too).  But its time ramp up the challenge to the falsehoods that are being tossed about, over and over, in an effort to make it true. I just can’t stomach it anymore.  I’ve seen one too many “Obama is responsible for this mess” rants.  I’ve had enough.

Again, Dog grant me the serenity… and this situation, yes, we do indeed have a situation, this is something that raises the obligation humans have to change the things we can.  Onward!