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Overdubbed in Turkish on Voice of America
|| 10/17/2013 || 2:39 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

My August interview with Steve Baragona at Voice of America was published in Turkey today.

+ MORE



Are We Eating Fishy Food? on Voice of America
|| 8/19/2013 || 2:45 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Today I was on Voice of America talking about the Are We Eating Fishy Food Campaign.

+ MORE



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.



DC Colonist Cartoon: “Court Declares State Voters Tax Exempt in D.C.” – Washington Evening Star, March 13, 1940
|| 8/10/2011 || 2:07 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

DC Colonist Cartoon published on March 13, 1940 in the Washington Evening Star

Source: Page 65 of “Our National Capital and its un-Americanized Americans” by Theodore Noyes



Text of the Department of Justice’s “Cole Memo” – June 29, 2011
|| 7/31/2011 || 1:59 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Following up on the Ogden Memo, I decided to post the “Cole Memo” below:


MEMORANDUM FOR UNITED STATES ATTORNEYS

FROM: James M. Cole
Deputy Attorney General

SUBJECT: Guidance Regarding the Ogden Memo in Jurisdictions
Seeking to Authorize Marijuana for Medical Use

Over the last several months some of you have requested the Department’s assistance in responding to inquiries from State and local governments seeking guidance about the Department’s position on enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) in jurisdictions that have under consideration, or have implemented, legislation that would sanction and regulate the commercial cultivation and distribution ofmarijuana purportedly for medical use. Some of these jurisdictions have considered approving the cultivation of large quantities of marijuana, or broadening the regulation and taxation of the substance. You may have seen letters responding to these inquiries by several United States Attorneys. Those letters are entirely consistent with the October 2009 memorandum issued by Deputy Attorney General David Ogden to federal prosecutors in States that have enacted laws authorizing the medical use of marijuana (the “Ogden Memo“).

The Department ofJustice is committed to the enforcement ofthe Controlled Substances Act in all States. Congress has determined that marijuana is a dangerous drug and that the illegal distribution and sale of marijuana is a serious crime that provides a significant source of revenue to large scale criminal enterprises, gangs, and cartels. The Ogden Memorandum provides guidance to you in deploying your resources to enforce the CSA as part of the exercise of the broad discretion you are given to address federal criminal matters within your districts.

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Text of the Department of Justice’s “Ogden Memo” – October 19, 2009
|| 7/30/2011 || 1:56 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

In the yesterday’s newspaper article the DOJ’s 2009 Ogden Memo was mentioned, here is the full text of the document:


USDOJ Seal
U.S. Department of Justice
Office of the Deputy Attorney General
The Deputy Attorney General
Washington, D.C. 20530
October 19,2009

MEMORANDUM FOR SELECTED UNITED STATES ATTORNEYS

FROM: David W. Ogden
Deputy Attorney General

SUBJECT: Investigations and Prosecutions in States
Authorizing the Medical Use of Marijuana

This memorandum provides clarification and guidance to federal prosecutors in States that have enacted laws authorizing the medical use of marijuana. These laws vary in their substantive provisions and in the extent of state regulatory oversight, both among the enacting States and among local jurisdictions within those States. Rather than developing different guidelines for every possible variant of state and local law, this memorandum provides uniform guidance to focus federal investigations and prosecutions in these States on core federal enforcement priorities.

The Department of Justice is committed to the enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act in all States. Congress has determined that marijuana is a dangerous drug, and the illegal distribution and sale of marijuana is a serious crime and provides a significant source of revenue to large-scale criminal enterprises, gangs, and cartels. One timely example underscores the importance of our efforts to prosecute significant marijuana traffickers: marijuana distribution in the United States remains the single largest source of revenue for the Mexican cartels.

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“Official: Medical marijuana in D.C. by May 2012” by Victor Zapana, Washington Post, July 29, 2011
|| 7/29/2011 || 1:35 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Today I was in the Washington Post article about the progress of the District’s medical cannabis program.

‘Glacial’ pace

Still, some possible participants — such as Nikolas Schiller — consider the city’s pace “glacial.” Schiller’s group, D.C. Patients’ Cooperative, identified potential cultivation and dispensary sites in the city after the law passed.

Concerned about the program’s pace, the cooperative did not sign any leases, and many of those sites are no longer available. Schiller, the only paid staff member, was laid off by the group’s investors.

This paragraph in article is slightly incorrect. I wasn’t laid off by the group’s investors. As a board member of the non-profit, hired as an independent contractor by the non-profit, I voted to lay off myself with the majority of board members. It’s not that I was failing to do my job properly, rather, after waiting nearly 18 months and seeing no progress, DCPC decided to stop wasting resources on a program that was moving so slowly.


UPDATE – As of May 2012, there is still no legal medical cannabis in the District of Columbia.


Official: Medical marijuana in D.C. by May 2012

By Victor Zapana, Washington Post, Published: July 29

A year after the District legalized medical marijuana, nobody is legally growing or selling it. Patients once thought that they could be getting the drug by early 2011, but bureaucratic delays and the city’s caution in implementing its drug law have caused some would-be patients and entrepreneurs to fume.

But things appear to be picking up. District regulators are forging ahead despite a recent Justice Department memo that has worried coordinators of medical-marijuana programs nationwide, and city officials said Tuesday that dozens of individuals and businesses will be allowed to apply for licenses to operate five dispensaries and 10 cultivation centers.

City officials expect patients to have access to medicinal marijuana — which advocates say can relieve pain and stimulate the appetite — by May 2012.

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DC Colonist Cartoon: “Keep Out of U.S. Elections” – Washington Star, November 5, 1940
|| 7/4/2011 || 1:25 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

DC Colonist Cartoon published on election day November 5, 1940 in the Washington Star

This cartoon shows the DC Colonist trying to enter the voting booth, but is told by Uncle Sam to go to the tax or selective service booths. The cartoon implies that the while District residents pay taxes & go to war for America, they are not permitted the sacred right to vote in U.S. elections. Thus DC residents fight & die in American wars and pay taxes to the Federal government, but at the same time, have no say who makes the decisions regarding taxation, war, and peace.

Source: Page 53 of “Our National Capital and its un-Americanized Americans” by Theodore Noyes





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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!