March 25th, 2017
How many investigations on Trump, his campaign, and his administration are now in the works? Well, here’s another!
The Investigator General of Department of Health and Human Services has opened an investigation into Trump’s “decision to stop paid advertisements and temporarily suspend other outreach efforts directed at Marketplace enrollment in the final days of the 2016-2017 open enrollment season.” What that means is that tRump stopped advertising and outreach for registration for Obamacare.
Here’s his letter acknowledging the investigation:
When the Inspector General gets going, that’s something to take seriously. There was no authorization to stop advertising, already paid by Obama administration, nor was there authorization to stop free social media/email notice to folks of the deadline. The tail end of the open enrollment period is always when there are the most sign-ups, and reaching people in that time frame is crucial. Failing to advertise, stopping outreach, works against filling the pool to spread the risk. Some call that sabotage. Yeah, that sounds apt.
One more thing to nail tRump and his administration on, it just keeps piling up.
March 25th, 2017
This week in the Republican Eagle:
To the editor:
Sen. Mike Goggin’s SF899 takes advantage of workers’ tenuous H2A status.
No, let’s be clear. What employee wouldn’t prefer overtime? This exemption is for the employer. It legislates lower wages for the employer. Hours and length of employment is specified in the H2A employment contract.
The only “choice” left to employees is to work hours the employer wants or lose their job and leave the U.S. if they can’t find another job immediately. That’s not “choice,” it’s extortion.
Most of us have worked “at will.” Employers set the hours and work is “at will” on the employer’s terms. You are “at will” to comply, quit, or be fired “at will.”
Goggin works for Xcel, which has a high pay rate and likely pays hourly workers overtime for over 40 hours a week. H2A workers must have an employment contract, are covered by federal wage laws, and employers must meet specific employment and reporting requirements to recruit and hire H2A workers, including declarations that they can’t find U.S. workers.
From Leviticus 19:33-34: “When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born.”
The senator should instead promote equity and a legislative mandate of overtime pay for over 40 hours weekly.
Why exploit H2A guest workers? Is SF 899 the Christian thing to do?
Carol A. Overland
March 22nd, 2017
The Great Plains Institute has long been a problem, and it remains a problem, evidenced in today’s missive trying to bootstrap onto tRump’s “infrastructure” agenda, by releasing a “White Paper” “calling on President Trump and Congress to make CO2 pipelines a priority component of a broader national infrastructure agenda and recommending that the federal government support the development of CO2 pipeline networks.” Oh, great… brilliant idea, just brilliant.
Great Plains Institute a problem? Yes. They were paid handsomely to promote coal gasification, projects including but not limited to Excelsior Energy’s Mesaba Project, the boondoggle of boondoggles. For example:
January 18th, 2007
Carbon capture and storage/sequestration was seen by many circa 2005 as a “way forward for coal.” So the Walton’s Bill Grant said. No. It wasn’t.
It wasn’t a “way forward for coal” then, and it isn’t now.
The market has spoken on coal, and it’s clear that coal is on the way out as coal companies go bankrupt, as coal generated electricity languishes on the energy market, and as the inefficient and costly older coal plants have closed, with newer larger plants waiting in queue to be shuttered.
And CO2 capture and storage/sequestration is a farce. Why? Well, we learned a lot about CO2 capture in our fight against Excelsior Energy’s Mesaba Project. That’s where the Public Utilities Commission determined that it was just to expensive and risky to approve a Power Purchase Agreement — go HERE and search for PUC Docket 05-1933. Here’s a rough visual of CO2 capture and storage/use:
So what’s the problem?
- First, capture is costly and difficult, particularly capturing any significant portion of CO2 generated.
- The higher percentage captured, the higher the cost of that capture, and high percentage capture has not been achieved.
- The cost of capture is not only the cost to physically do it, the hardware, technology, and engineering, but there is a high cost in efficiency of the CO2 producer, a parasitic cost, meaning that if you’re capturing that CO2, you’re paying a high price in efficiency of an already inefficient process (burning is always inefficient).
- And another parasitic cost, these pipelines require pumping stations to pressurize andpump it into the pipeline, a pumping station every 75 miles or so to keep that pressure up, and a pumping station at the destination, and those pumping stations require 4-10 MW of power, depending.
- Environmentally, the impacts of digging up land for hundreds of miles is immense.
- These are private projects and for a private project, a private purpose, eminent domain isn’t available for the taking of people’s land.
Yet this CO2 capture and storage/sequestration farce continues, evidenced in the most recent Great Plains Institute missive I found in the inbox, here the missive’s link to CO2 capture and storage for oil extraction, “Enhanced Oil Recovery”.
Here’s their “White Paper” with what they’ll be lobbying for:
Short version: The federal government should make this CO2 pipeline and infrastructure build out happen across the country, a la the Interstate highway system.
In light of tRump’s Executive Order 13766, Expediting Environmental Reviews and Approvals for High Priority Infrastructure Projects, that’s a scary notion.
Check out this site from Global CCS Institute, and note, they talk of benefits, but look for talk of costs. Hmm…
A “way forward for coal?” CO2 capture? Over my dead polar bear.
March 16th, 2017
tRump loses again. Here’s the Order of the Maryland judge:
March 15th, 2017
There are a few articles, but I cannot find the 40+ page court order! Looking… FOUND IT!!
And some articles:
Federal judge in Hawaii puts Trump travel ban on hold