And now for something completely different… Way back a year and a half ago we got our “new” 1997 Palomino Yearling, and it took a awhile to get set up, figure out what we needed, but we’re there.   Little Sadie loves it too:

20151001_104306

We’ve put a lot of miles on it, got to many of the State Parks here in Minnesota.  Nerstrand:

Image may contain: tree, plant, sky, house, outdoor and nature

Even Wisconsin.  Wisconsin State Parks seem to be set up a little better than Minnesota (gasp!), with sites further apart, and much larger, there’d be room for two campers and two cars in most of the Wisconsin sites I’ve seen.  Mirror Lake, the best site — it’s book solid already:

No automatic alt text available.

We also went down to Arkansas and back, out to the Black Hills and Hell Creek State Park in Montana (got to tour the dam while we were out there, how cool is that?!?).  Here’s Hell Creek

Image may contain: tree, sky, plant, grass, outdoor and nature

Hell Creek State Park, MT, in 1966, took 50 years to get back there:

My beautiful picture

And even Ft. Stevenson, North Dakota (no relation to anyone at Xcel Energy):

Image may contain: tree, car, sky, house, outdoor and nature

It’s been a long winter.  As a kid, I remember my father spent the winter with maps, and planning our month of August on the road.  So in that tradition, I’ve spend the winter looking at camp sites, picking out our next trips, campsites, and we’re ready to hit the road… but wait, not so fast.  Over the winter, I also got carried away looking at rehabs on The Pop Up Princess, and the thought of spending another summer with those 1990s maroon and green cushions is more than I can bear.

 

Alan’s been busy working on the camper, well, me too.  And as you can see, it’s good to go.  We’ve already added what we need to camp in comfort, roughing it has no appeal to me anymore, yes, we’re old farts.  We’ve now got a deep cycle battery, new propane tank, Alan scraped and primed the frame, put in bearing buddies of course, new tires too (had a flat in Arkansas, at least we were prepared).  Have wired in outlets and USBs in the small dinette (office!), some other lights repaired inside and out, LED all around, and a 6″ PVC pipe on the back for all the poles so they don’t mar the floor bouncing around, my fridge from the truck to replace the icebox, a toaster, a conveciton/toaster oven and a fold up Coleman oven too, microwave, CampChef storage, and a couple of tables for kitchen duty, YUGE outdoor mat, chairs, and doofy awning lites, and I even sewed a cover for it (to match the air conditioner covers!!):

Image may contain: outdoor

And I gots me a chuckbox, what more could one want in life!

Chuckbox1

Best of all, I’ve now got my Subaruski to pull it!

We’re all set… and we’ve really been getting around!  Yes, it’s just fine the way it is, but…

…but… that inside is SO 90s.  And that’s where The Pop Up Princess comes in.  Check these rehabs, like wow!  And it’s not all that hard.  It can be a real mess if you really want to rip everything up, but a makeover can be done fairly easily.

Image may contain: 1 person, tree, house, outdoor and nature

That fabric, URP!  It is so gross, dark, and scratchy. 

Image may contain: people sitting and indoor

Image may contain: one or more people, plant, car, outdoor and nature

With something different, something cheery and bright, it’s a whole new camper.  And SR Harris had a big sale on fabric, $3.99/yard, so… TA DA!!!!  Cheeriness personified!

No automatic alt text available.

It’s mostly a light blue with tan, brown, and seafoam and green and some off white. 

No automatic alt text available.

Have the cushion fabric riding around in the back of the Subaru, and will pick up some of the cushions to get a start on it this week. The floor, well, we have laminate that came up off the mud room floor, but it is so butt ugly, yes, it would match, but it would also be heavy, a lot more work, so I found a rich brown poly rug to cut and trim with off white twill tape, it’s thin enough to sew, a lot easier than those ($*%)#(* Subaru seat covers I made out of throw rugs!  Cut this to fit, glue the back edges so it doesn’t fray, and sew on twill tape binding all around, and toss it on the floor, take it out to hose it off now and then, how hard can it be?!?!

The off white twill tape arrived last week, and the rug is resting up on the couch. The cabinets will be glaze off white, got the deglosser and found great pulls at Restore $0.25 each, and Rustoleum spray metallic paint so the hinges will match the pulls. Don’t need to redo the curtains because they’re the same seafoam green and dark green of the new fabric, and they will look just fine after those 90s cushions are covered.  The countertops and tables are OK as is, because they’re off white too.  This will be a good project to do so I’m not thinking about tRump at least now and then!

 

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:

2017-3-23_HHS_IG_Letter_re_ACA_enrollment

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.

This week in the Republican Eagle:

Letter: Why an exemption from overtime?

To the editor:

Sen. Mike Goggin’s SF899 takes advantage of workers’ tenuous H2A status.

Goggin argues, “The choice is solely up to the employee; the bill does not require or expect any worker to work overtime.”

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

Red Wing

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:

Great Plains Institute – is Joyce getting their $$ worth?

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.

CO2 sequestration is so… like… not happening!

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:

From Global CCS Institute HERE

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:

21st Century Energy Infrastructure: Policy Recommendations for Development of American CO2 Pipeline Networks

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.

tRump loses again.  Here’s the Order of the Maryland judge:

MD Federal Court_Trump EO13780

Enjoy!