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My First Shareholder Resolution
|| 12/9/2013 || 2:57 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

In the summer of 2013 I drafted my first shareholder resolution:


Proxy Item No. 4: Shareowner Proposal One

This proposal was submitted by Adam Eidinger, Washington, D.C. As of July 30, 2013, Mr. Eidinger indicated that he held 75 shares of Monsanto common stock. The proposal has been carefully considered by the board of directors, which has concluded that its adoption would not be in the best interests of the company or its shareowners. For the reasons stated after the proposal, the board recommends a vote “Against” the shareowner proposal.

The proposal and supporting statement are presented as received from the shareowner proponent in accordance with the rules of the SEC, and the board of directors and the company disclaim any responsibility for its content. We will furnish, orally or in writing as requested, the address of the proponent of this shareowner proposal promptly upon written or oral request directed to the company’s Secretary.

Information regarding the inclusion of proposals in Monsanto’s proxy statement can be found on page 82 under Shareowner Proposals for 2015 Annual Meeting.


Shareowner Statement
WHEREAS:

  • Genetic engineering is the direct manipulation of an organism’s genome using biotechnology.
  • For thousands of years, mankind has modified plants through grafting, artificial selection, and without the use of genetic engineering.
  • Transgenic DNA produced through modern genetic engineering is not found in natural foods and was not in the food supply of previous generations of mankind.
  • Americans have the right to know what they are eating.
  • U.S. law does not require the labeling of patented biotechnology in foods sold in grocery stores.
  • Company stands by its products and believes they are safe.
  • Due to the uncertainty regarding the potential negative side effects of genetic engineering on humans, animals, and the environment, it is imperative that the Company be transparent with customers concerning our labeling efforts.
  • The Company’s Pledge [1] says that we will ensure that “information is available, accessible, and understandable.”
  • Transparency provides consumers the power to decide what kind of foods are grown on farms and served on dinner tables.
  • Over 60 countries around the world have regulations concerning the labeling of foods produced using genetic engineering.
  • In 2002, the Company said “Food Labeling. It has Monsanto’s Full Backing” in regards to the labeling of genetically engineered foods in the United Kingdom.
  • In 2013, there was legislation introduced in over two dozen U.S. state legislatures concerning the labeling of foods created using genetic engineering.
  • The state legislatures of Connecticut and Maine have passed legislation requiring foods sold in those states to be labeled if they were produced using genetic engineering, but only 4 or more other New England states pass similar legislation.
  • The Company spent $8,112,866.55 in 2012 to prevent California residents from voting to increase transparency in their state’s food labels.
  • As of July 2013, the Company has spent $242,156.25 to prevent Washington state residents from voting to increase transparency in their state’s food labels.
  • The money spent by the Company to prevent legislation that discloses whether food produced using genetic engineering dilutes shareowners earnings per share.
  • The Company believes that nationwide regulations are needed to prevent 56 different state & territory food labeling laws.

RESOLVED: The Monsanto Board shall prepare a report, at reasonable expense and omitting proprietary information, assessing any material financial risks or operational potential impacts on the Company in order to:

  • Work with the FDA to develop food labeling guidelines for American consumers that discloses whether genetic engineering was used to produce the food;
  • Work with the FDA to develop standard threshold of 0.9% or higher for foods created with genetic engineering
  • Analyze the inclusion of U.S. patent numbers on American food labels where patented biotechnology was used to produce the food;

The report shall be available by July 1, 2014 and be posted online on our Company’s website. In order to ensure that our Company upholds its pledge of transparency, we urge a vote FOR this resolution.
[1] “Our Pledge” – Transparency: http://www.monsanto.com/whoweare/Pages/monsanto-pledge.aspx



SOURCE: Page 76, Monsanto Company Proxy Statement, Securities and Exchange Commission



E&E News: ‘Fishy food’ cars attract stares, promote GMO labeling
|| 8/1/2013 || 2:07 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

‘Fishy food’ cars attract stares, promote GMO labeling

Amanda Peterka, E&E reporterPhoto by Amanda Peterka
Greenwire: Thursday, August 1, 2013

Nikolas Schiller is used to receiving odd looks as he drives through the streets of Washington, D.C.

In fact, he can’t commute to and from work without pedestrians whipping out their smartphones to take pictures, drivers leaning out of their windows at traffic lights to ogle and children’s eyes opening wide.

That’s because a huge, brightly colored sculpture fusing a golden delicious apple and a goldfish with eyes is bolted to the top of his used black Ford Escort — which itself has bright pink stripes down its side.

“It’s been an interesting experience,” said Schiller, a 32-year-old St. Louis native sporting a ponytail, T-shirt and cutoff jeans. “I have a lot of fun driving it around. It brings a lot of joy. I see people’s faces smile, light up, point, kids laugh, giggle, people take photos — it’s not like a normal car.”

Nicknamed “Goldie,” it is one of five “fishy food” cars driving around Washington in recent weeks to promote the labeling of genetically modified food. Others carry sculptures of a corn cob, soybean, sugar beet and tomato.

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Washington Post: Mobile protest art draws gawkers in D.C.
|| 6/12/2013 || 2:36 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Photo by Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post

Mobile protest art draws gawkers in D.C.

By Robert Samuels June 12, 2013

What is that thing?

Parked near the U Street Metro station is a junky Ford Escort with a fiberglass whatchamacallit on top. The red structure is shaped like an apple, except for the fins jutting from its sides. It has googly eyes, a goofy smile and a face more Muppet than man.

For weeks, it has befuddled neighbors. No one knows who owns it. No one knows what it means. And yet, it’s been spotted throughout Northwest. It has been parked at the new Costco. It has made weekend revelers in Adams Morgan question their sobriety.

“I’ve been trying to figure it out for days,’’ said a man walking near the 1800 block of Vermont Avenue. Then he sighted a second structure, this one atop a Volvo. Same googly eyes, but shaped like a green bean — with fins.

A breakthrough came Tuesday morning when 32-year-old Rica Madrid was seen getting into the car with the finned green thing. Its name is “Soyna,” modeled after a soybean, Madrid said. She pointed to the apple atop the Escort: “That is Goldie.’’

Madrid and her co-workers at Mintwood Media Collective (“Communication Strategies for Social Change”) helped create the two structures to convey the message that food sprayed with toxic chemicals is, in a word, “fishy.” Hence, the fins.

The two vehicles will be part of a caravan of activists that will depart in August on a coast-to-coast trip to Seattle, making stops along the way to lobby for legislation to label genetically modified food.

Right now, the connection between the cartoonish cartop produce and the cause is a little confusing. Mock labels will be added to explain it all, Madrid admits.

Meanwhile, 300-pound structures can’t fit inside rowhouses, so Madrid and her colleagues mounted them on the cars early.

These are the toils of creating protest art. It’s hardly an unusual activity in Washington, a magnet for protesters of all sorts. But it’s jarring to see the art without the context, as Madrid and her colleagues use the cars for routine daily errands — going to work, picking people up from the airport and bulk-buying groceries.

Nikolas Schiller, 32, who drives Goldie the Apple, doesn’t mind the baffled stares. No one fully understands what’s going in their food anymore either, he says.

“That [confusion] is kind of what we’re going for,” he said.

The kids smile when they see Goldie the Apple, because Goldie the Apple is smiling at them. It’s not unusual for someone to come up to Schiller or Madrid during lunchtime, asking whether the cars are new food trucks.

As Madrid climbed into the Volvo to head to work from Shaw, a neighbor walking with her 3-year-old approached:

“What is this all about?” Sandrea Ballestero asked. “We never see you!”

“We are protesting GMOs,” she said, using the acronym for genetically modified organisms.

“Do you have a Web site?”

They do, but it’s not ready yet.

Madrid drove past the suit-and-tie set downtown, some of whom, caught up in their smartphones, paid the car no mind. A man in a blue oxford shirt and khakis pulled out his smartphone for a quick pic. A window-washer scaling the low floors of a building saw the large soybean in the reflection of the windows and cheered. A baby in a stroller near Farragut Square looked into those googly eyes and started to bawl.

Occasionally, someone will ask what she’s doing, and she’ll tell them about genetically modified food. Sometimes the person will start sharing what he or she knows about the history of hybridization or genetic engineering or selective breeding — pretty sophisticated stuff that reminds Madrid that driving the vehicle has a serious purpose.

“Some people are really knowledgeable about the subject,’’ Madrid said. “You just have to be ready for people to debate you. I mean, this is Washington.”


This article was published on the front page of the Metro Section on June 13, 2013 and obtained online from Washington Post. The article is not in the public domain but is being republished here under the fair use doctrine of U.S. copyright law in order to document my advocacy for honest food labeling.



The Right2Know March for GMO Labeling
|| 10/15/2012 || 2:09 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

From October 1 to October 16 2011, I worked on the Right2Know March. My duty was to oversee the movement of all belongings of the 30-50 marchers during the 300 mile march. This entailed driving a rented box truck about 20 miles each day and helping setup the day’s camp. We walked through New York City, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Washington, DC. On my birthday, which took place during the march, I “took the day off” and marched with everyone from an organic farm in Rising Sun, Maryland across the Susquehanna River to Camp Ramblewood in Darlington, Maryland. It was quite an amazing experience to work with such a diverse array of talented and passionate individuals.

The video above was published on the one year anniversary of the Right2Know March. It was produced by Rapunzel, one of the many sponsors of the march and features interviews with marchers. The video below was filmed, produced, and published during the first few days of the march in New York City and New Jersey.



Remedia Amoris / The Cure For Love by Ovid
|| 4/3/2008 || 1:28 pm || Comments Off on Remedia Amoris / The Cure For Love by Ovid || ||

Remedia Amoris (Love’s Remedy or The Cure for Love) is a 814 line poem in Latin by the Roman poet Ovid written around 5 BC. The aim of the poem is to teach young men how they can avoid idealizing the women they love and to give assistance if love brings despair and misfortune.

I discovered this poem when I was researching antique stained glass sundials and I came to the initial conclusion that Ovid’s prose is visually interpreted on Blaeu’s world map from the mid-1600s (detail above). Late last night I found both the latin and translated version of the poem, so I decided to do something I wish there was more of on the internet: a side by side layout which shows the original Latin on the left and the translated English on the right.

To add a unique visual element to the poem, I made the line number (which came from the Latin text) the color of the English translation. This involved quite a bit of manual coding, but I think it makes the latin / english comparison easier and slightly more visually engaging. By using red & white type face and numerical indention, the layout looks like a creve coeur or broken heart when scrolling. I bolded one section for emphasis related it’s discovery [hint: around line #185].

There are a few translation discrepancies that I’ve found thus far and there are many others which come across slightly convoluted and require more inquiry, but overall the poem is quite interesting. It includes topics like tree grafting (Genetic Engineering Version 1.0), having multiple lovers, travelling, and what to do and not to do when getting over a relationship. It’s interesting how much things have changed in the last 2,000 years, and as cliche as it may sound, how much our emotions have stayed the same. We all face the same relationship troubles and like Ovid, there will always be people telling you how to deal with them.



If you’ve got about 45 minutes to spare, here is Ovid’s Remedia Amoris / The Cure For Love:
(You might need to widen your browser window to view the on-line polyglot correctly — it was originally design for a previous layout on this website. Drag the lower right hand corner to make the screen wider. Some browsers you can adjust the font size to achieve a similar result.)

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Nikolas Schiller is a second-class American citizen living in America's last colony, Washington, DC. This blog is my on-line repository of what I have created or found on-line since May of 2004. If you have any questions or comments, please contact:

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  • thank you,
    come again!