Thursday, November 30, 2017

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Rerun Travelogue for the Universe: Nurses

First, update about a good nurse.
Treated badly.
Then link to my old post...

Travelogue for the Universe: Nurses: Nurses In the News, Never Good to nurses, That Press, Hungry for a slimy story, Conflict, Conspiracy, Cons, Contrary To ...

Monday, November 27, 2017

Guest Tweet

From the Twittersphere,

Maria Popova @brainpicker 
Writes my favorite newsletter 
Yesterday was Charles M. Schulz’s Birthday 🎁 
Maria posted this...
Check out her Marvelous writing 
On writing ✍🏼 
While you enjoy her writing,
Make a donation for all her work

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Rerun...Travelogue for the Universe: Ageism

Travelogue for the Universe: Ageism: Ageism. At first glance, It really is a strange looking word. 3 vowels, breaks the normal rules of pronunciation. To say out loud, say i...

Friday, November 17, 2017

(I’m late!)... Friday Night Musik

Here I was,

Looking for another stellar choice,
From the YouTube melting pot,
And once again 
Beth Hart came through 

Delicious Surprise 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Taxes...and a Couch


Cruel November,
Stripped the leaves 🍁 
Right off the Trees 🌳 

Tax Day, too,
In the Monkton Town Zoo πŸ¦“πŸ†πŸ¦πŸͺπŸ˜πŸ¦πŸ«πŸ„πŸΏπŸ¦ƒπŸˆπŸ©πŸ•ŠπŸ‡πŸ‰πŸ²πŸŠπŸ¦‘πŸ’πŸ¦ŽπŸ‘πŸ¦–πŸ™
We’re beasts of burden for sure,
How much more can we endure?

This year we bought a couch,
Or sofa πŸ›‹ if you prefer,
A Marvelous comfy place to hang,
Long overdue for sure.

We tested, and promptly paid,
A delivery date made,
Tax day it would be,
For our Couch delivery.

Property tax bill paid,
Painful checks made,
Why is so much due in the fall,
Town and Schools, benefits and all?

As I prepare to relax
On our Couch πŸ›‹, coming at Last,
Popped the clothes in the dryer,
(Good thing I’m not a crier)
The dryer went kaput,
That’s how it goes,
Our Taxing Couch Woes...

Monday, November 13, 2017

Rerun Travelogue for the Universe: Fall winds down

Old post...

Travelogue for the Universe: Fall winds down: The Fall winds down as the leaves fall faster and faster the rain and frost help gravity take what nature made and men marvel at the ...

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Rerun Travelogue for the Universe: Fall Colors Wane

Travelogue for the Universe: Fall Colors Wane:   The sun rays are lower,  some of the leaves are gone, in the shadows, we feel the veil fall.   The fall colors wane reds...

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Rerun... Travelogue for the Universe: Fall Pics

Travelogue for the Universe: Fall Pics: Lincoln, Vermont On Top of the World More Fall Pics from the Archives. with gas @ 4-5 bucks a gal, cheaper to take a virtual tou...

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Rerun from 2009... Travelogue for the Universe: Fall Rolls In

Travelogue for the Universe: Fall Rolls In: Fall rolls in by Mary E. Gerdt 2009 all rights reserved Fall rolls in with a fury Like squalls on the oceans Or when you can't open a c...

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Rerun... Travelogue for the Universe: Dealing with Human Pain

It was a dark day...
Not unlike other dark days.

Travelogue for the Universe: Dealing with Human Pain: I promise to be not quite so dark as soon as the days get lighter. But today we waited by the phone at State government wondering where and...

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Monday, November 6, 2017

Neurological Healing

Some thoughts about
Multiple Sclerosis,
Neurological Healing,
Once only a myth, a Wish,
A Fantasy.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Friday Night Musik

Once I saw this on YouTube,

I had no doubt 
What my Friday Night Musik Choice would be...
YouTube link from Beth Hart Channel...

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Guest Posting from a Friend...Gaz Update #Fracking Trans Vermont nG Pipeline

I don't know whether you saw this vtdigger article yesterday ,  but it gives an incredibly inaccurate account of the Federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) evaluation of the Department of Public Service's work on regulating the safety of natural gas pipelines and LPG facilities in the State (note that this is an assessment of DPS's inspection, monitoring, and enforcement program - not of VGS).

PHMSA's letter essentially confirms what 8 Vermont grassroots organizations wrote to PHMSA over a year ago: DPS has dropped the ball on enforcing safety regulations when it identifies violations. The report essentially says that DPS doesn't carry out necessary compliance actions such as issuing letters of warning, letters requiring corrective action by operators of gas facilities in the State, and DPS doesn't enforce rules by issuing required citations (called Notices of Probable Violation) when corrective actions aren't completed in a timely fashion by companies like VGS. And, finally DS does not follow up until problems are resolved and/or fines are issued. Instead, it drops the ball.

PHMSA does give DPS credit for the $95,000 fine VGS got for the electrical safety violations, but that's something that probably wouldn't have happened without the steady pressure from the Coalition. 

The vtdigger article implies that PHMSA only identified record-keeping problems. PHMSA says nearly the opposite: the report clearly states that the problem is NOT only documentation and record keeping but also follow through and enforcement when violations are found! In fact, DPS says that ALL compliance issues were not properly followed up to resolution and that only one compliance letter was issued last year! The implication is actually that DPS is finding violations and then doing NOTHING about them!

June Tierney, Commissioner of Public Service is quoted to the effect that she is certain the pipeline is safe and that this is just a records problem. If accurately quoted, she is misleading the public by suggesting that she is sure that there isn't any real problem or danger - that the pipeline is safe; it's just the DPS has a sloppy administrator. The fact is that the coalition groups were absolutely right and have continued to do public records requests and find failures to comply with pipeline construction safety requirements and the CPG over and over. It almost feels as though every time they ask themselves an obvious question and then start looking into it, they find another scary problem. This report makes clear that DPS simply hasn't bothered to follow up on known probable violations. That leaves one to wonder whether the Coalition was right about the safety violations they brought up a year ago and again this Spring too - especially since the Public Utilities Commission is now investigating two such issues: a blasting accident and a the depth of cover over the pipeline. There are so many other issues that could be investigated but won't be because DPS hasn't and likely won't take action. Those include a trench accident that allegedly injured a worker, failure to secure areas and provide proper notice before hydrostatic tests, the release of odorant into Williston last year and ongoing odorant fade, etc.

Vermonters deserve to know that this pipeline is safe - not to be told it is when officials actually have evidence to suggest otherwise. DPS will likely never hold VGS accountable unless the public demands accountability and transparency from DPS. And, there is planning of room for that. DPS received a failing grade on the transparency of pipeline safety information on it's website with scores of zero out of three on all of the criteria related to providing safety and enforcement data to the public. It even got a zero on ease of finding the webpages dedicated to pipeline safety!

Below are:

1) links to the cover letter and report from PHMSA
2) excerpts from the cover letter
3) a marked up copy of only the Compliance Activities section of the PHMSA report
4) A note on terminology
5) a link to DPS's failing grade on the transparency of its pipeline safety website.

Links to the full assessment report and letter from PHMSA:

Excerpts from the PHMSA cover letter:

  1. The documentation, review, and follow-up on all compliance issues found during inspections of pipeline operators continue to be an issue for the VTPSD. Our evaluation revealed all compliance actions had not been followed through with and only one compliance letter had been issued to any operator in CY2016. It is imperative to ensure compliance issues are appropriately communicated to the pipeline operators promptly and tracked to resolution with all pipeline operators. Six points were deducted on the Program Evaluation for these issues.
  2. As part of its annual Program Evaluation process, PHMSA performs thorough evaluations of each State pipeline safety regulatory program. In addition to and in support of this evaluation, PHMSA and NAPSR have developed a set of performance metrics. These metrics look at State program performance in six areas:
    1. Damage Prevention Program
    2. Inspection Activity
    3. Inspector Qualification
    4. Leak Management
    5. Enforcement
    6. Incident Investigation
    These metrics are made public on PHMSA’s Stakeholder Communication website at State Programs should confirm they are reviewing these metrics on an annual basis and taking any Accelerated Actions necessary to ensure positive performance trends.
    The Enforcement metric, which was discussed previously in this letter, is the primary metrics that is needing the full attention of VTDPS. 

Marked up screenshot of the page(s) addressing DPS's compliance activities:


Just so you know, "compliance action" is the umbrella term for all of the things DPS is required to do when it finds a safety violation.
As I understand the federal guidelines issued to all States that carry out their own safety regulation, "compliance actions" can include, among other things:

1) a written inspection report and sit down with the operator to talk through the issues found; 
2) a follow up letter explaining what, if any, "corrective actions" a company has to take, including the deadline for completing the actions and informing DPS the actions are complete; 
3) a warning letter if a problem that doesn't constitute a violation but could become one is found; and/or 
4) a "Note of Probable Violation" that is a formal notice of an alleged violation and triggers a legal process, under which the operator can admit to the violation or request a hearing before the Public Utilities Commission (formerly the Public Service Board).

I should say that I'm working on a project today and don't have time to dig out my old binder with past PHMSA Vermont annual reports and guidelines to look up the actual definitions/procedures so this is taken from memory. I'm probably missing something or have given it my own spin inadvertently, but the above will hopefully give the the gist of "compliance actions" and why the vtdigger article is so misleading.

Maybe Vermont needs a scorecard showing each issue pipeline opponents have raised, DPS's dismissals of concerns, and then opponents' concerns that proved correct. I'm pretty sure pipeline opponents would be miles and miles ahead of DPS.

Link to Pipeline Safety Trust annual state and Puerto Rico pipeline safety website review:

Fall leaves 🍁

Wednesday, November 1, 2017