Smoke in our Mississippi River valley

Carol Overland - Legalectric - 2 hours 21 min ago

Photos say it all…

Yes, it’s really this bad.  That’s the sun on a “clear” day.  Air quality is baddest of the bad, “Unhealthy” per the MPCA which isn’t exactly fond of negative declarations like that.  Got a 200 reading at St. Michael, that’s as high as the scale goes, so I’m sure that somewhere it’s off the charts.  It was 193 this afternoon in Prestigious East Phillips, and… well… note how few monitors there are around the state.  We don’t have one here.

Keep in mind this is biomass we’re breathing, and the emissions from trees are pretty awful.  Ask Alan Muller about that.

This is the result of all the fires in Canada added to the baseline pollution of the ND and MN coal plants, the turkey shit burner in Benson, all the garbage burners around the state including here in Red Wing.  We have a microclimate here in the Mississippi River valley, but it’s not just here where it gathers, it’s bad everywhere, the whole state, well, almost.

Don’t deep breathe, don’t do any outside exertion, don’t breathe the air if you can help it.  If you’re like me, you’re probably hacking and wheezing a bit.

Categories: Citizens

Riotgrrravel Reflections

Myrna CG Mibus - Idyllwild - 6 hours 4 min ago
This blog entry also appears on my Writing Space blog as R is for Riotgrrravel Reflections.

Two weeks ago, on June 20th, I rode Riotgrrravel, a gravel race/ride for women and am happy to say that I completed the 30 mile ride. Riotgrrravel is very well organized ride meant to introduce women to gravel racing. The ride is organized and put on by an awesome woman named Ellie and her family. Ellie started the ride just last year (I rode Riotgrrravel last year and wrote about my experience on my Idyllwild blog) and I’m so glad she did it again this year.Here we are at race start just about ready to go! From left to right: Lisa, Joy, Me & Katy. Last year the weather was stellar but the route had to be changed practically moments before race start because of flooding in the days previous to the race. This year the roads weren’t flooded but the morning of the race thunderstorms moved in. We woke up that morning thinking the ride would be cancelled due to the thunderstorms but the rain cleared out before start time and the roads ended up just a bit tacky instead of sloppy for the race and the ride was a GO!
Gorgeous scenery along the routeAbout 200 people were registered to ride the race but because of the uncertainty about the weather and road conditions, only 60 some people actually showed up to ride the 50 mile and 30 mile routes (20 rode the 50 miler & 40 rode the 30 miler).  Given how many people didn’t even show, it’s a great accomplishment to have shown up and finished. I rode with my “gravel gal” friends Lisa, Katy & Joy and we crossed the finish line together in 3 hours, 29 minutes and 39 seconds (a solid 10.6 mph – I believe we were in 23rd place). My Box of Frogs biking friends, Kate and Victoria, were also on the ride and finished 17 minutes before we did. After the ride my gravel gal pals and I ate pastries and lunch at a bakery. And then we got shakes at the Dairy Store. And we laughed and talked and had a good time as we ate and as we drove home.

The self supported ride was full of good gravel, gorgeous scenery and awesome women (and some awesome men). I’m really glad I rode the ride this year. But, I’ve got to say, I found the ride really frustrating simply because I didn’t do as well as I hoped I would. I don’t want to dwell on the negatives here – but it might be helpful for someone to read this anyway (or maybe simply because it’s therapeutic for me to write about it).I had figured the 30 mile Riotgrrravel would be relatively easy compared to the 60 mile Box of Frogs ride I completed two weeks previous. That ride was a grand gravel/mud/tar/slippery sludge adventure that was terribly difficult. I rode most of Box of Frogs with Kate and Victoria, however, and somehow we chatted and pedaled our way through it all. I had also figured that since two of our group were new to gravel racing and I had oh so much “experience” because I’d ridden two gravel rides already (Box of Frogs and Riotgrrravel) and have been riding for several years, that I would maybe even be sort of a leader in our little group of gravel gals.Well, those were nice thoughts, anyway. Turns out the ride was not easy and I was not at all a leader as the rest of my group had to wait for me several times so I could catch up.
Gravel, lots of gravel, and my gravel gal friends on the road ahead. We started out the ride and got rolling right away. We had headwinds right off and and I quickly fell behind our group of four. We’ve ridden together on training rides and I thought I would have no trouble keeping up with the group. Maybe they are more charged with race adrenaline, I thought (whereas I wasn’t thinking race as much as ride and set off at my normal pace). Maybe they are simply stronger than I am. Whatever the case, I was behind, not far – but far enough that I got discouraged a bit. So I told myself, “that’s okay. This is your pace. You know you can finish the ride at this pace. It’s okay if they go on ahead” and I kept on pedaling.

But the headwinds were hard to pedal against and I felt tired from the get go. Mentally I just didn’t feel with it. I felt tired (I really didn’t sleep much the night before so I know that didn’t help). And, within the first few miles, I noticed my (ahem) “lady parts” were getting sore. It is not normal for me to be sore so I was puzzled then realized I was way heavier on my hands and front of my seat than I usually am, probably because I was tired and kinda collapsing forward. I did my best to shift my weight back and kept on pedaling.About then, oh, we were just five miles into the race, I suppose, the helpful little voice that told myself I was riding at my own pace and it was okay that people were ahead of me started saying not so nice things to myself like, “you’re too slow” and “it sucks to ride alone” but then I’d try to offset those thoughts with nicer things and remind myself that I was riding my own ride and I just was having one of those off days and I knew that if I just kept pedaling I’d finish.Lisa dropped back and rode with me for awhile. Then I decided I needed to stop and rest. That was a smart move. I sat in the shade and ate a Clif Bar. Then I cried rather ridiculously for awhile and told Lisa I was so disappointed in myself and that I was pretty sure I was the last person on the course (the brain is a liar – I was far from last. And what does it matter, anyway?) and that she and the gals should just go on ahead and I’d finish on my own. I haven’t cried on a ride in years. I thought I was over that. I guess not.Lisa said all sorts of nice things and we rode on. Then we caught up with Katy and Joy at an intersection where they, and several other people who were resting there, got to see me fall as I came to a stop because I was so tired I couldn’t manage to clip out of my pedals. I have never done that. It’s rather embarrassing. At least I didn’t cry! Oh, I didn’t really get hurt, either, just a bit of a scrape on my knee.We rode on. Looking back, I estimate we had nasty headwinds or quartering headwinds at least 75% of the time. I am not a fan of headwinds. Sometimes I rode with my friends, sometimes I fell behind. I kept pedaling. And tried to say nice things to myself. But the ride was really, really, hard for me.That said. I kept pedaling and I had some fun with my gravel gal pals. We took some pictures. We crossed the finish line together. And, I cried again because I was just so glad to have finished.After the ride, after scarfing down some candy bars nicely provided by volunteers from Hope Lutheran Church (they opened their church and parking lot to us as a ride start location – thank you!), I talked to Kate and Victoria about how hard the ride was for me. We talked about nutrition both pre-ride and during the ride to see if that might have been a factor (not a whole lot different but I did lack in energy chews which I found to be helpful on Box of Frogs). We talked about the F-ING headwinds and decided they were a huge factor. I felt better after talking to Kate and Victoria. Ultimately we chalked up my not so great of a ride because I was tired and lacked mental and physical energy and ran out of happy thoughts to something pretty simply – I was having one of those days. They happen.But here’s the thing – even when you’re having one of those days you keep on pedaling and finish the ride anyway. Partially because no one is there to pick you up but mostly because you set out to finish a ride so you finish it. And that’s what I did. I set out to ride Riotgrrravel and I finished the ride. Yay!
The Gravel Gals (from l to r: Me, Lisa, Joy & Katy) crossing the finish line of Riotgrrravel 2015!
Categories: Citizens

Hartland firefighter suspended

Carol Overland - Legalectric - 14 hours 53 min ago
                                      Photo by Linda Wallace

The Hartland firefighter who put the Stars & Bars battleflag on the city fire truck for the Albert Lea parade has been suspended.   He seems to be starting to figure out that he didn’t think it through.  As a condition of keeping his job, he should have to do some homework and write about Minnesota participation in the Civil War and the meanings of the use of that flag from the 1940s to the present, to be published as Commentary in the Albert Lea Tribune.

The parade organizer still refuses to take any responsibility.

It’s hit TIME Magazine:

Firefighter Suspended for Flying Confederate Flag During Parade

From KMSP:

Firefighter suspended for flying Confederate flag at parade in Albert Lea, Minn.

In the Albert Lea Tribune:

Hartland firefighter suspended after flying Confederate flag in parade
Categories: Citizens

Confederate battle flag in Albert Lea parade?

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Sun, 07/05/2015 - 12:36am

So it’s the 4th of July, and yesterday in Albert Lea’s parade, a Hartland Fire Department truck is displaying the Confederate battle flag.  Yes, really.  A publicly owned City of Hartland truck, a public employee, in Minnesota… speechless…

Many people get the origin of this flag confused, it’s not an official state flag or a “Confederate” flag, but is a battle flag of Virginia.  More disturbing is that most people don’t know of the history of use of this flag in the 1940s and on to the present as a symbol of resistance/opposition to integration.  This symbolism is what I object to, the way it’s been used as a symbol of suppression and hate, often under color of law, such as use by Gov. George Wallace when he fought integration of his state’s schools.  People here in the North are particularly ignorant of the history of this flag.  I see it often as a bumper sticker, as a decal on a truck window, or big truck grills and mudflaps.

How many thousands of people attended this parade?  Yet this happened… no one stood up… no one stopped it… silence… The silence of people in Albert Lea on Friday watching this is worse than the display, it is through silence that some of the most horrific behavior in human history has occurred.  The Hartland Fire Department and City which allowed this use on its City equipment should be held accountable.  And then there’s the guy who put it there, Brian Nielsen — what message is he delivering to his daughter, his daughter’s friend, and his niece?  The organizer, per the STrib, “chuckled a bit.”

From MPR: Southern Minnesota fire department takes a stand for the Confederacy

In the STrib: Firetruck flies Confederate flag  alongside stars and stripes in holiday parade

Parade rules distributed to entrants say “all vehicles … must be decorated in either a patriotic theme or according to the parade theme.” This year’s theme: “Teaming Up for America.”

Kehr chuckled a bit and acknowledged that the Hartland firetruck was “probably not” in compliance.

“chuckled a bit” — very funny…

And the Washington Times: Minnesota firefighter flies Confederate flag in parade

And the first article from the Albert Lea paper:

Confederate flag flown at Third of July Parade

Published 1:34pm Saturday, July 4, 2015

A Confederate flag flown on the back of the Hartland Fire Department truck during the Third of July Parade sparked conversation in the community and on social media.

Brian Nielsen, who drove the truck with his wife, daughter, his daughter’s friend and his niece, said he has been on the department for about 10 years.

“It’s not that I’m up for the rebel or the slavery part of it, “ Nielsen said. “It’s history. They’re trying to take this flag away. They’re basically trying to change the history and abolish it and get rid of it.”

The comments come about two weeks after nine people were killed on June 17 at an African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina. Authorities said the accused gunman had posed in photographs with the Confederate battle flag.

The shooting has sparked debate across the country about the role of the Confederate flag, and the South Carolina Legislature is slated to vote about whether to remove the flag from the Statehouse grounds. Walmart has announced it is removing any items from its store and website that feature the flag.

“Even the Minnesota flag, they want to change that,” Nielsen said. “Where does it end?”

Nielsen said he wasn’t looking to get a lot of attention from his decision to fly the flag, and he didn’t think it would spur as much discussion as it has. He, himself, has a family member who is black, he said.

He had the Confederate flag on one side of the back end of the truck, while the U.S. flag was on the other.

He noted he saw two or three other Confederate flags along the parade route.

Nielsen said he talked with a few of the other firefighters on the department, and they supported him standing up for his rights. Another fire department in the county approached him as well saying they had considered doing the same thing.

Here’s another photo, this one by Laura Walker:

From Ryan Ruud who took this in Erhard, MN on July 4th:

Categories: Citizens

Easy Riding

Blowing and Drifting - Christopher Tassava - Fri, 07/03/2015 - 9:29pm

Since the Crashquamegon a couple weeks ago, I’ve taken it pretty easy – daily sessions at the gym, but no long rides till today, when the stars aligned such that I could spend the whole day out in the Buffalo. I picked out a route over some of my favorite roads, aiming to hit some new MTB trails for a an hour of trail riding before an easy ride home.

As luck would have it, the ride took place in amazingly great conditions – cool early but rising to about 80° F, a cooling westerly breeze, bright sunshine, a crisp blue sky. Through I hammered the hills as hard as I could, I took it easy at other times. I wound up with 63 miles in my legs over 5:30 of ride time and soaked up some great views.

Categories: Citizens

USFWS – Public Information Meetings

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Fri, 07/03/2015 - 8:01am

                Photo by Marie McNamara

Beginning of review by USFWS of impacts of take permits for wind projects (where death is presumed and project is given permit despite protected species kills).  SPREAD THE WORD!

Just in from USFWS:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Hosts Public Information Meetings in Eight Midwest States

for Regional Wind Energy Habitat Conservation Plan

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is inviting public input as it develops an environmental impact statement on the potential impacts of issuing incidental take permits for covered species under the draft Midwest Wind Energy Multi-species Habitat Conservation Plan.

Public meetings will be held from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. local time at the following locations:

  • July 13 – Minneapolis, Minnesota. Elliot Recreation Center, 1000 E. 14th St. 55404
  • July 14 – Madison, Wisconsin. Warner Park Community Recreation Center, 1625 Northport Drive, 53704
  • July 15 – Ames, Iowa.  Iowa State Memorial Union, Campanile Room, 2229 Lincoln Way, 50011
  • July 16 – Columbia, Missouri. Battle High School Commons, 7575 E. St. Charles Road, 65202
  • July 20 – Lansing, Michigan. Letts Community Center Gymnasium, 1220 W. Kalamazoo Street 48915
  • July 21 – Columbus, Ohio. Columbus Downtown High School Commons,364 South 4th Street 43215
  • July 22 – Indianapolis, Indiana. World Sports Park Ballroom, 1313 South Post Road, 46239
  • July 23 – Bloomington, Illinois. Illinois Wesleyan University, Memorial Center, Young Main Lounge, 104 E. University Avenue, 61701

The first hour of each meeting will be an informal open house, followed by a brief presentation at approximately 6:00 p.m.  After the presentation, the informal open house will resume.

The Service also will host an online public meeting on Tuesday, July 28, 2015, at 1 p.m. CT.  To participate, you can call a toll-free number and join a web conference:

·         Log on to  to view a Service presentation about the Midwest Wind Energy Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan and scoping for the Environmental Impact Statement.

·         To listen to the presentation and ask questions, call toll-free 1-888-324-7813. Enter passcode 9116767# to join the call.

For more information on this meeting, go to

The draft plan is being prepared by the Service and their planning partners, including state wildlife agencies for seven of the eight states within the plan area, the American Wind Energy Association, a consortium of wind energy companies and The Conservation Fund.  States within the plan area include Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.

The plan addresses incidental take of eight species that may be injured or killed at wind turbine facilities. The covered species include Indiana bat, northern long-eared bat, Kirtland’s warbler, Great Lakes and northern Great Plains populations of the piping plover, and least tern, all listed under the Endangered Species Act. Also covered are the bald eagle, protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, and the little brown bat, a species of concern.

Habitat conservation plans are agreements between a private landowner or a non-federal company or group and the Service, allowing permit applicants to undertake otherwise lawful activities on their property that may result in the incidental death, injury or harassment of covered species; the applicant agrees to conservation measures designed to minimize and mitigate the impact of those actions.

Individuals unable to attend the meetings may submit comments and materials through August 11, 2015, by any of the following methods:

U.S. Mail:

Regional Director, Attn: Rick Amidon U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecological Services 5600 American Blvd. West, Suite 990 Bloomington, MN 55437-1458 


Visit the Federal eRulemaking Portal: In the search box enter (Docket Number FWS-R3-ES-2015-0033).

More information about the draft EIS for the proposed Midwest Wind Multi-species Habitat Conservation Plan can be found at  Information about endangered species in the Midwest can be found at

Additional opportunities for public comment during development of the environmental impact statement will be provided when the draft statement is released for public comment, which is anticipated for early spring of 2016.

If you have any questions, please contact Rick Amidon (Phone: 612-713-5164 – Email:

Kim Mitchell

Ecological Services

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 5600 American Blvd. East, Suite 990 Bloomington, MN 55437 612-713-5337

Categories: Citizens

Postcard: Fourth of July 2015

Winona Media (Leslie Schultz) - Fri, 07/03/2015 - 7:32am

 This recent view of Lanesboro made me think about all the cultures coexisting happily under the same” small tent” in a town of fewer than 1,000 residents–from vacationers in station wagons, to Amish in horse-drawn buggies–from motorcycle devotees to avid bicyclists.

Categories: Citizens

Pedal Power

Blowing and Drifting - Christopher Tassava - Thu, 07/02/2015 - 5:55am

I probably actually wrecked this pedal when I smacked it off a curb or something, but I imaginarily crushed it with an extraordinarily powerful downstroke.

Crushed Pedal
Categories: Citizens

Area Man Leaves Committee

Blowing and Drifting - Christopher Tassava - Wed, 07/01/2015 - 4:48pm

Today – July 1, 2015 – was my first day since starting at Carleton (in October 2005) that I was not a member of the College’s Institutional Review Board, the federally-mandated committee that oversees all of the research on “human subjects” (i.e., any living person) conducted by Carleton faculty, staff, and students or at Carleton by others.

I’ve enjoyed serving on Carleton’s IRB. As a member of the board and then, over the past nine months, the chair of the board, I’ve found the work thoroughly educational, pleasingly challenging, and, I hope, institutionally valuable. If nothing else, I got to see virtually all of the human-subjects research happening on campus, which has been an amazing boon to my work raising money for research by Carleton faculty.

My service on the IRB actually predates being a grantwriter at the College. Even before my first day on the job, I came down to campus to meet the professor who was then chair of the IRB and participate in a seminar led by a visiting expert on human-subjects research.

When I formally started my job a few weeks later, I joined the IRB, learned the review process, and started reviewing cases. Over the nearly ten years I was on the Board, I saw its caseload increase from about 70 a year (an average of 1.3 cases a week) to – just this last year – more than 130 (2.5 cases a week). As a member of the committee, I helped to reconfigure the IRB’s membership, to update our application and review systems, to do “outreach” with students, and to stay current on the sloooowly changing federal regulations concerning human subjects. I also reviewed a crapload of cases – about 200 of them over those ten years, just under 20% of all the cases that came through.

It’ll be nice to have a break!

Categories: Citizens

Three Musketeers? Three Stooges?

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Tue, 06/30/2015 - 10:58pm

Oh… My… DOG!  Imagine Julie Jorgensen, Dennis Egan, and Mark Andrew, all for one, and one for all!  Where does the public fit in?

I love solar, but with these three, their track records, lobbying shenanigans, and their public project and public money magnetism, I’m going to take a very careful and skeptical look.

More solar could be coming By Danielle Killey on Jun 28, 2015 at 1:00 p.m.

Red Wing could soon have many options for locals interested in solar power.

GreenMark Solar, a Minnesota-based solar energy company, announced Friday it has acquired land in Red Wing for solar garden projects.

The company, which is leasing property from area farmers, will work to have permits completed by the end of the year and plans to start construction next spring, said Dennis Egan, who has been assisting GreenMark.

“We’re looking at the configuration, but it potentially could be three separate sites,” Egan said, producing up to 15 megawatts of solar electricity combined.

Community solar gardens let local residents, businesses and other organizations purchase subscriptions. GreenMark’s projects would offer subscriptions to Xcel Energy customers.

“I am so pleased and proud to be working with GreenMark Solar to offer area businesses, institutions and residents the opportunity to purchase solar electricity at a discount without having to purchase solar panels to install on their own property,” Egan said.

GreenMark currently has a solar project under construction on top of parking ramps at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

“As a state pioneer in creating substantial solar expansion, GreenMark is enthused to be offering subscriptions to our solar gardens in Goodhue County and other counties surrounding Goodhue,” said Julie Jorgensen, GreenMark Solar CEO.

The announcement comes on the heels of another potential solar garden project; earlier this month, Red Wing City Council members directed staff to work with Minnesota Community Solar on a lease for a 1-megawatt garden on city-owned property at Highways 19 and 61.

Julie Jorgensen (Julie Jorgensen CV ) was a Chief co-conspirator in the Excelsior Energy Mesaba Project, thankfully now virtually defunct (discounting its zombie qualities.  For more information go to and search “Excelsior Energy” or “Mesaba Project” or “Julie Jorgensen” or “Tom Micheletti” or “boondoggle” or “coal gasification” or “carbon capture” or “sequestration” or “IRRRB” or just “IRR” or “Iron Range Resources” or “Renewable Development Fund” and of course go to the Citizens Against the Mesaba Project and settle in for a good read.  And from a little over a year ago — says it sold, but who knows the real story:

Tom & Julie’s house is for sale  February 2nd, 2014

And this on the money they sucked out of the IRRB… how much has been written off?  And then there’s the state’s “Renewable Development Fund”   Again! Legislative Auditor on IRRRB! April 19th, 2015

And Dennis Egan, he’s front man on solar projects HERE?  In Red Wing???  Well, for sure he’s no longer ED of Minnesota Industrial Sand Council (that’s a google cache, I got a 404, “the site is crashed and should be repaired.”  It might be different by the time you see this, I’ll check tomorrow).

April Fool on April Fools Day!   April 1st, 2013

Mayor Egan Resigns    March 7th, 2013

Where’s the Mayor’s resignation letter?   March 4th, 2013

7p TONIGHT – Red Wing City Council Meeting  February 25th, 2013

Mayor Egan to resign? Sand mining bill introduced!  February 23rd, 2013

Last Mayor Egan post before Council meeting  February 11th, 2013

KARE 11 turns up the heat on RW Mayor Egan  February 7th, 2013

Red Wing Mayor Egan exposed  February 6th, 2013

Mayor Egan – the voice of frac sand mining!  February 5th, 2013

And then there’s garbologist Mark Andrew, champion of the HERC garbage burner in downtown Minneapolis.

Here’s some info about his garbage burner:

The “Burner County” resource page–resources to better understand why Hennepin County owns, and Covanta operates, the “HERC” garbage incinerator in Downtown Minneapolis, MN

At a Mayoral debate, he did an inventive Al Gore:

That didn’t phase Andrew, who reiterated his intention to install solar panels on city, park and school buildings to “set an example” for Minneapolis businesses and residents. Describing his green accomplishments on the county board, he said was the “creator” of the Midtown Greenway transit corridor, a version of history that glosses over the contributions of citizen advocates, and that he “created” the city’s recycling program.

And Mpls. garbage divides mayoral hopefuls – MPR News.  Needless to say he didn’t get the job.

And now, these three are selling solar in the Red Wing area.  What are they cooking up?  Read the fine print very carefully, and keep all the public money tied down.


Categories: Citizens

Supremes on Michigan v. EPA

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Tue, 06/30/2015 - 11:36am

Here it is, Michigan v. EPA:

Michigan v. EPA   U.S. Supreme Court File No. 14-46

Given this decision, it’s going to be hard for any agency to argue that it shouldn’t do a solid cost benefit analysis, and one that includes verification and analysis of benefits!  That’s a good thing given the outrageous benefits claims I’ve seen in transmission proceedings.  Check this part of the Order early on (I’m just going over it now):

In accordance with Executive Order, the Agency issued a “Regulatory Impact Analysis” alongside its regulation.This analysis estimated that the regulation would force power plants to bear costs of $9.6 billion per year. Id., at 9306. The Agency could not fully quantify the benefits of reducing power plants’ emissions of hazardous air pollutants; to the extent it could, it estimated that these benefits were worth $4 to $6 million per year. Ibid. The costs to power plants were thus between 1,600 and 2,400 times as great as the quantifiable benefits from reduced emissions of hazardous air pollutants. The Agency continued that its regulations would have ancillary benefits—including cutting power plants’ emissions of particulate matter and sulfur dioxide, substances that are not covered by the hazardous-air-pollutants program. Although the Agency’s appropriate-and-necessary finding did not rest on these ancillary effects, id., at 9320, the regulatory impact analysis took them into account, increasing the Agency’s estimate of the quantifiable benefits of its regulation to $37 to $90 billion per year, id., at 9306. EPA concedes that the regulatory impact analysis “played no role” in its appropriate-and-necessary finding. Brief for Federal Respondents 14.

Michigan v. EPA, p. 4.  The regulatory impact analysis included the information, it was in the record, but EPA says that it “played no role” in that decision.  So can’t they just reissue it, state they took that into account and used it as a basis for its decision and everyone can go home?  AAAARGH!

And here’s a highlight where I actually agree (!) with a sentence in Thomas’ Concurrence:

Statutory ambiguity thus becomes an implicit delegation of rule-making authority, and that authority is used not to find the best meaning of the text, but to formulate legally binding rules to fill in gaps based on policy judgments made by the agency rather than Congress.

Dissents, p. 3 (pdf p. 20 of 47).


Categories: Citizens

Once more with feeling?

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Mon, 06/29/2015 - 9:42pm

As Ed Berger said, “Tryin’ is lyin’ cuz if you were tryin’ you’d be doin’ it!” So now, it’s time to try, once more with feeling!

True, I’ll never be able to replace my Selmer VI.  Of all the things stolen while I was on my last trip before law school, which was pretty much everything I owned, the loss of my horn hurt the most of all.  That was the worst of the high price I paid to go to law school and that last run to try to make some dough… sigh… that sure didn’t work.  But Friday, driving around town, we stopped at a garage sale, and it was 50% off day.  I found a workable cheap horn, workable and utilitarian, certainly nothing like my Mark VI.  It has a leak somewhere in the low end but it’s an improvement on the others I’d found, ones that were way old, cool wall hangings but without that feel, not real playable, very old and creaky and leaky.  Wishful thinking, I’d scored a preowned Beechler S5S without deep tooth marks a while back, and I’m set up with a box of weak LaVozs.  I think this will be enough to let me know if my cracked teeth can handle this.

Whew, serious woodshed time!  Neighbors will probably shoot me!


Categories: Citizens

My Ten Hardest Races (so far)

Blowing and Drifting - Christopher Tassava - Sun, 06/28/2015 - 9:36pm

One thing I do remember about the horrible, wonderful, no-good, so-great Cheq 100 last weekend was a lot of thinking about where the race fell in my personal top-ten list of hard races.

This is narcissistic, I know, but dammit, I love them all.

While very eager to do races in the future that will get onto this list, here is the current top ten, in descending order:

10. The Lutsen 99er in June 2014. Not especially demanding physically, this race was my first mountain bike race. If nothing else, the sheer quantity of mud made this one memorable. I’d do it again, for sure! 8h 44m, 282nd of 421 finishers.

Lutsen 99er

9. The Royal 162 in May 2014: At 165 miles (the 162 miles of the course, plus 3 bonus miles after a wrong turn), this was my longest-ever ride – so far! Though conditions were pretty good, this was just a long freaking way to ride bikes. Thank god Derek was there for company. 14h 23m, 39th of 51.

Deek at the Royal

8. The Almanzo 100 in May 2011: (part I | part II | part III) My first gravel-century race, run in cold, wet conditions that made the riding slow and dirty and tough. I loved it as an event in its own right and as my introduction to ultradistance racing. 9h 8m, 80/150.

Almanzo 100 (2011)

7. The Heck of the North in September 2014: The distance – 108 miles – wasn’t that bad, and the course was great, but my rear derailleur blew up at about mile 80, so I had to do some jury-rigging to convert my Salsa Vaya to a singlespeed and then limp in to the finish. 9h 55m, 139/174.

6. The Inspiration 100 in September 2013: Another gravel century, but run in temps above 90 and a heat index near or above 100. Heat exhaustion was a major factor, but I still managed a fast (for me) time: 7h 7m, 22/78.

Inspiration 2013

5. The Cheq 100 in June 2015. This was a very hard race of attrition in which I didn’t get the result I wanted (a finish in the full 100-mile race). Pending my race in North Dakota in August, the Cheq now my #1 “off-season” goal for 2016. 10h 45m, something like 20/30.

4. The Arrowhead 135 in January 2015: Coming in well trained, decently rested (two weeks after #3, below), and very, very eager, I rode what I think is my best race here in pretty much perfect conditions. 19h 30m, 26/77.

Finish Line Grin

3. JayP’s Backyard Fat Pursuit in January 2015: I worked so freaking hard at getting this race right. I tested my clothing, gear, and bike, I thought incessantly about my race strategy, and I trained like mad. It paid off with a solid effort and a finish of the full 126 miles. 26h 25m, 30/39.


2. JayP’s Backyard Fat Pursuit in March 2014 (part I | part II | part III): Run along the Continental Divide where Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana meet, this was my first race at any kind of altitude. What the elevation didn’t take out of me, the brutally slow snow did. I couldn’t finish this one, getting pulled off the course at 100 miles by the race director after 32 hours of racing. I’d say this was the low point in my personal history of bike racing, but I drew a lot of motivation from my “honorary finish.” Not only did I return the next year to ride smarter and faster and to finish (see #X above), but I’ve treasured the connections I made to this race’s people and land.

Fat Pursuit 2014

1. The Arrowhead 135 in January 2014: my first and still the hardest fatbike race I’ve done. I’d never done race of longer than about 12 hours, but this one took me more than 24 hours, thanks in large part to temperatures that infamously ranged from -20° to -40° made the riding difficult, to say the least, but I stuck it out, teaching myself that I could do a lot more than I thought I could. 29h 9m, and a top-ten finish – 7/30.

Wakemup Hill
Categories: Citizens

Montage of Heck

Blowing and Drifting - Christopher Tassava - Sun, 06/28/2015 - 11:12am

Last night, I finally watched Montage of Heck, the recent documentary about Kurt Cobain by Brett Mogren. The film was moving, as I expected (or worried), and pleasingly focused on Cobain’s and Nirvana’s music. (The dude could shred on the guitar.) The music was in fact the centerpiece of the film: album and live tracks of classic Nirvana tunes, rarities and covers by others (a plinking, nursery-rhyme version of "All Apologies" early in the film gave me chills), and – surprisingly to me – actual pages of lyrics from Cobain’s own voluminous notebooks. Seeing the original lyrics to "Frances Farmer" magnified the impact of that amazing song, which is maybe my favorite. The animations of the notebook pages, and of key scenes in Cobain’s life, were a nice touch, highlighting the fact that Cobain was a talented visual artist – something I didn’t know about him.

Of course the film is also and maybe mostly about Cobain’s life, and incidentally about his death, which is treated far too abruptly. I wished that the Mogren had dealt even more with Cobain’s biography. After an excruciating look at his childhood, the film switches over almost entirely to the band just before Bleach. I can understand that choice, but given the detailed examination of Cobain’s youth, I wanted even more about being Courtney Love’s husband and Frances’ father. (Courtney does not come off well from the film.)

Maybe I was just falling prey to the tendency of a fan to also be a voyeur, which Cobain himself loathed in his ugliest moments and which he tried to redirect to his art in his best. Midway through the film, some journalist asks Cobain why he can’t or won’t explain his songs to his fans. "There’s nothing to be said, man," Kurt replies, visibly exhausted by the question. "It’s all in the music, man, it’s all in the music. It’s all in the meat… I’d like to hear what they have, have in mind, you know, like, how they interpret it."

It’s a simple notion, but a profound one. Even if he were still alive, I could never explain to Cobain just what his music – Bleach, Nevermind, In Utero, Unplugged, From the Muddy Banks, and all the rest – meant and means to me. It’s literally too much. Too much noise, too much rage, too much humor, too much beauty, too much feeling. Maybe, finally, Cobain is a kind of sacrificial lamb for me. The feelings that poured out of him created a kind of hole where I could and can stuff my own feelings. For that, I have to thank him – even if I also wish he were still around to make more music for me, and for us, and for himself.

Categories: Citizens

Ma’am, come down off the pole!

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Sat, 06/27/2015 - 9:45pm

Ma’am, come down off the pole!

Come down off the pole! Ma’am, Ma’am, come down off the pole!

“… white men have an equality resulting from a presence of a lower caste, which cannot exist where white men fill the position here occupied by the servile race.”

Jefferson Davis, 1858, Pres. of the Confederate States.

Time for it to come down. Even Walmart gets that…

Categories: Citizens

Summer’s Evening

Blowing and Drifting - Christopher Tassava - Sat, 06/27/2015 - 12:57am

What a day, man. The big event was that the Supreme Court handed down its ruling that legalized gay marriage thought the U.S. Somehow this made family seem even more important to me, so I was happy to get home in time for a great dinner – made by the girls! – and a long evening of warmth and sun.

The girls and I did a little bit of everything. In the full light, we played basketball and catch out front,

then went for a bike ride to watch the swallows catch mosquitoes over the ponds and admire a colossal cumulonimbus cloud far to the southeast.

As the sun set, we went to the backyard to watch for and try to catch fireflies. We also saw a couple bats, which was great.

Then after dark we set up Vivi’s telescope to look at the moon (which our neighbor Meg told us is called tsuki in Japanese), and Julia got put her guitar to play a few notes.

Summer is only four days old! I’m spent. Time to finish this beer and go to bed.

Categories: Citizens

The Supreme’s have been busy

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Fri, 06/26/2015 - 10:37am

Here are the actual Opinions (and the Dissents are … stunning… hilarious… OH… MY… DOG!):

14-114_6-25-15_King v. Burwell

13-1371_6-25-15_Texas Dept. of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc.

14-556_3204_6-26-15 – Obergefell v. Hodges

Turns out our own Rep. Frank Hornstein has a tie to this — very cool:

I feel a personal connection to history today. Around a year after my Mom’s death in 1998, my father sold the Cincinnati home I grew up in to James Obergefell and John Arthur. A few years later I visited that home with my father, brother and sister and James and John gave us a tour, proudly showing off the renovations and improvements they made to the place. Scott Dibble’s text to me a few minutes ago says it all: LOVE WINS. Thank you James Obergefell for your courage and activism and may John Arthur’s name forever be a blessing


Categories: Citizens

FERC rejected Petition for Rulemaking, on to DOE!

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Fri, 06/26/2015 - 9:48am

After a day in the bowels of FERC’s docket system as RM15-22-000, FERC rejected the BLOCK Plains & Eastern Clean Line Petition for Rulemaking.  It’s a binary thing, has to be either one or the other, so now it’s in the DOE’s hands.

FERC REJECTION_RM15-22-000  20150625-3025(30664807)

So, DOE, what cha gonna do?  You’ve been thinking about it, but it’s been 10 years since Section 1222 was passed.


And the grand finale of the Administrative Procedure Act, Section 553:

(e) Each agency shall give an interested person the right to petition for the issuance, amendment, or repeal of a rule.

Categories: Citizens

Summer Practice

Blowing and Drifting - Christopher Tassava - Thu, 06/25/2015 - 6:55pm

Today was one of those humid, hot days in which summer practices for July and August. What the day lacked in truly unpleasant heat and humidity, it promises to deliver in thunder and lightning…

Categories: Citizens

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