Thursday, January 1, 2015

Dr. William Douglas Echols blows the lid off the PUBLIC SAFETY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX


Periodically throughout history Utopian dreams have ended up being draconian nightmares. We saw it in The French Revolution when the mob, (called the Council on Public Safety) turned so ugly they finally guillotined their head executioner Maximillien Robespierre.

Perhaps Robespierre said it best, right before he had is head lopped off, "pity is treason."

Monday, December 22, 2014

Lessons From Pioneers

Carrots in the car park. Radishes on the roundabout. The deliciously eccentric story of the town growing ALL its own veg

Admittedly, it sounds like the most foolhardy of criminal capers, and one of the cheekiest, too. 
Outside the police station in the small Victorian mill town of Todmorden, West Yorkshire, there are three large raised flower beds.

If you’d visited a few months ago, you’d have found them overflowing with curly kale, carrot plants, lettuces, spring onions — all manner of vegetables and salad leaves.

Today the beds are bare. Why? Because people have been wandering up to the police station forecourt in broad daylight and digging up the vegetables. And what are the cops doing about this brazen theft from right under their noses? Nothing.
Food for thought: Todmorden resident Estelle Brown, a former interior designer, with a basket of home-grown veg
Food for thought: Todmorden resident Estelle Brown, a former interior designer, with a basket of home-grown veg
Well, that’s not quite correct.

‘I watch ’em on camera as they come up and pick them,’ says desk officer Janet Scott, with a huge grin. It’s the smile that explains everything.

For the vegetable-swipers are not thieves. The police station carrots — and thousands of vegetables in 70 large beds around the town — are there for the taking. Locals are encouraged to help themselves. A few tomatoes here, a handful of broccoli there. If they’re in season, they’re yours. Free.

So there are (or were) raspberries, apricots and apples on the canal towpath; blackcurrants, redcurrants and strawberries beside the doctor’s surgery; beans and peas outside the college; cherries in the supermarket car park; and mint, rosemary, thyme and fennel by the health centre.

The vegetable plots are the most visible sign of an amazing plan: to make Todmorden the first town in the country that is self-sufficient in food.

‘And we want to do it by 2018,’ says Mary Clear, 56, a grandmother of ten and co-founder of Incredible Edible, as the scheme is called. 

‘It’s a very ambitious aim. But if you don’t aim high, you might as well stay in bed, mightn’t you?’

So what’s to stop me turning up with a huge carrier bag and grabbing all the rosemary in the town? 

‘Nothing,’ says Mary. 

What’s to stop me nabbing all the apples?

‘Nothing.’ 

All your raspberries? 

‘Nothing.’

It just doesn’t happen like that, she says. ‘We trust people. We truly believe — we are witness to it — that people are decent.’

When she sees the Big Issue seller gathering fruit for his lunch, she feels only pleasure. What does it matter, argues Mary, if once in a while she turns up with her margarine tub to find that all the strawberries are gone?

‘This is a revolution,’ she says. ‘But we are gentle revolutionaries. Everything we do is underpinned by kindness.’
The idea came about after she and co-founder Pam Warhurst, the former owner of the town’s Bear Cafe, began fretting about the state of the world and wondered what they could do. 

They reasoned that all they could do is start locally, so they got a group of people, mostly women, together in the cafe.
Incredible Edible is about more than plots of veg. It's about educating people about food, and stimulating the local economy (pictured Vincent Graff and Estelle)
Incredible Edible is about more than plots of veg. It's about educating people about food, and stimulating the local economy (pictured Vincent Graff and Estelle)
‘Wars come about by men having drinks in bars, good things come about when women drink coffee together,’ says Mary. 

‘Our thinking was: there’s so much blame in the world — blame local government, blame politicians, blame bankers, blame technology — we thought, let’s just do something positive instead.’

We’re standing by a car park in the town centre. Mary points to a housing estate up the hill. Her face lights up. 
‘The children walk past here on the way to school. We’ve filled the flower beds with fennel and they’ve all been taught that if you bite fennel, it tastes like a liquorice gobstopper. When I see the children popping little bits of herb into their mouths, I just think it’s brilliant.’

She takes me over to the front garden of her own house, a few yards away. 

Three years ago, when Incredible Edible was launched, she did a very unusual thing: she lowered her front wall, in order to encourage passers-by to walk into her garden and help themselves to whatever vegetables took their fancy.
There were signs asking people to take something but it took six months for folk to ‘get it’, she says.

They get it now. Obviously a few town-centre vegetable plants — even thousands of them — are not going to feed a community of 15,000 by themselves.

But the police station potatoes act as a recruiting sergeant — to encourage residents to grow their own food at home.
Today, hundreds of townspeople who began by helping themselves to the communal veg are now well on the way to self-sufficiency.

But out on the street, what gets planted where? There’s kindness even in that.

‘The ticket man at the railway station, who was very much loved, was unwell. Before he died, we asked him: “What’s your favourite vegetable, Reg?” It was broccoli. So we planted memorial beds with broccoli at the station. One stop up the line, at Hebden Bridge, they loved Reg, too — and they’ve also planted broccoli in his memory.’

Not that all the plots are — how does one put this delicately? — ‘official’. 

Take the herb bushes by the canal. Owners British Waterways had no idea locals had been sowing plants there until an official inspected the area ahead of a visit by the Prince of Wales last year (Charles is a huge Incredible Edible fan).
Estelle Brown, a 67-year-old former interior designer who tended the plot, received an email from British Waterways. 
‘I was a bit worried to open it,’ she says. ‘But it said: “How do you build a raised bed? Because my boss wants one outside his office window.”’

Incredible Edible is also about much more than plots of veg. It’s about educating people about food, and stimulating the local economy.

There are lessons in pickling and preserving fruits, courses on bread-making, and the local college is to offer a BTEC in horticulture. The thinking is that young people who have grown up among the street veg may make a career in food.
Crucially, the scheme is also about helping local businesses. The Bear, a wonderful shop and cafe with a magnificent original Victorian frontage, sources all its ingredients from farmers within a 30-mile radius.

There’s a brilliant daily market. People here can eat well on local produce, and thousands now do.

Meanwhile, the local school was recently awarded a £500,000 Lottery grant to set up a fish farm in order to provide food for the locals and to teach useful skills to young people.

Jenny Coleman, 62, who retired here from London, explains: ‘We need something for our young people to do. If you’re an 18-year-old, there’s got to be a good answer to the question: why would I want to stay in Todmorden?’

The day I visit, the town is battered by a bitterly-cold rain storm.  Yet the place radiates warmth. People speak to each other in the street, wave as neighbours drive past, smile. 

If the phrase hadn’t been hijacked, the words ‘we’re all in this together’ would spring to mind.

So what sort of place is Todmorden (known locally, without exception, as ‘Tod’)? If you’re assuming it’s largely peopled by middle-class grandmothers, think again. Nor is this place a mecca for the gin-and-Jag golf club set.
Set in a Pennine valley — once, the road through the town served as the border between Yorkshire and Lancashire — it is a vibrant mix of age, class and ethnicity.

A third of households do not own a car; a fifth do not have central heating. 

You can snap up a terrace house for £50,000 — or spend close to £1 million on a handsome stone villa with seven bedrooms. 

And the scheme has brought this varied community closer together, according to Pam Warhurst. 
Take one example. ‘The police have told us that, year on year, there has been a reduction in vandalism since we started,’ she says. ‘We weren’t expecting this.’

So why has it happened? 

Pam says: ‘If you take a grass verge that was used as a litter bin and a dog toilet and turn it into a place full of herbs and fruit trees, people won’t vandalise it. I think we are hard-wired not to damage food.’

Pam reckons a project like Incredible Edible could thrive in all sorts of places. ‘If the population is very transient, it’s difficult. But if you’ve got schools, shops, back gardens and verges, you can do it.’

Similar schemes are being piloted in 21 other towns in the UK, and there’s been interest shown from as far afield as Spain, Germany, Hong Kong and Canada. And, this week, Mary Clear gave a talk to an all-party group of MPs at Westminster.

Todmorden was visited by a planner from New Zealand, working on the rebuilding of his country after February’s earthquake.

Mary says: ‘He went back saying: “Why wouldn’t we rebuild the railway station with pick-your-own herbs? Why wouldn’t we rebuild the health centre with apple trees?”

‘What we’ve done is not clever. It just wasn’t being done.’

The final word goes to an outsider. Joe Strachan is a wealthy U.S. former sales director who decided to settle in Tod with his Scottish wife, after many years in California. 

He is 61 but looks 41. He became active with Incredible Edible six months ago, and couldn’t be happier digging, sowing and juicing fruit.

I find myself next to him, sheltering from the driving rain. Why, I ask, would someone forsake the sunshine of California for all this?

His answer sums up what the people around here have achieved.

‘There’s a nobility to growing food and allowing people to share it. There’s a feeling we’re doing something significant rather than just moaning that the state can’t take care of us. 

‘Maybe we all need to learn to take care of ourselves.’


Solar Coach Corner: Lessons From Germany

When it comes to available solar resources, Germany is nowhere near the top compared to all countries in the world. Yet Germany has installed far more solar energy than any other country with 4.5 times more than second place Spain and 6.6 times more than the United States.
While I admire Germany’s accomplishments in adopting cheap, clean energy, my competitive spirit would rather see Americans surpass Germany and take our rightful place as the solar world record holder.
But Germany utilized a secret weapon in order to achieve its first place spot in solar energy adoption — one that the U.S. has yet to commit to. That weapon is a public policy known as a Feed-in-Tariff (FIT). 
FIT is a public policy that pays owners of solar electric systems a premium for the energy they produce. But FIT wasn’t developed by Germans — the policy was actually invented in the U.S. when President Jimmy Carter created the National Energy Act in 1978.  Still, in 1990, Germany adopted “Stromeinspeisungsgesetz” (StrEG), or its “Law on Feeding Electricity into the Grid.” StrEG was a FIT program that has been credited with creating the modern renewable energy industry. In fact, it has created a huge new industry in Germany that employs 340,000 people with an annual budget of 8.7 billion euros — more than $11 billion.
Germany’s FIT program consists of paying renewable energy adopters a premium price for energy generated by solar and wind. Funding for these premiums comes from rate payers, who were naturally initially skeptical, but whose concerns took a backseat to the opportunity for their country to be energy independent.
The German plan was to set the premium at a high level initially, so as to attract investors, but to watch the price decline as competition increased and economies of scale took over, eliminating the need for premiums. That is exactly what’s happening.
image

Since 2006, Germany has reduced FIT in a series of steps, reducing the incentives 5-15 percent with each step. Still, every time a new reduction is announced, German media sources announce the death of solar energy. And each time they’ve been wrong.
Not only has the German renewable energy industry survived incentive reductions, it has grown with each one! FIT incentives in 2012 will be less than 40 percent of those from 2006. Yet the amount of installed renewable energy has grown by a factor of 8.3 since then.
Complete elimination of incentives for renewable energy in Germany is in sight. The country’s energy policy has already produced lower energy costs, cleaner air, smaller energy imports, higher energy security, more competitive German industries and the huge new German solar industry.  
image

Another important aspect of Germany’s solar miracle is that most of the solar energy capacity is owned by German citizens. Paul Gipe of Wind-Works reports that 51 percent of all renewable energy in Germany is owned by individual citizens or farms, totaling $100 billion worth of private investments in clean energy.
When it comes to energy independence, Germany has shown that public policy and political courage are more important than resources. Some states and local governments have stepped up and adopted Germany’s proven policy. After all, it was the U.S. that invented FIT and then quickly abandoned it.
I’d bet that the U.S. will soon readopt Germany’s FIT policy, either as a result of its clear functionality or out of economic necessity. Let’s hope it’s the former.

- Gosolaraz



Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Break Up the Good Ol' Boys...



































































Picture if you can no North Side Redondo. No South Side Redondo. No touristy pier side

Redondo or beachside Redondo nor Riviera Village Redondo. No special interests Redondo represented by the local elite. And no marginalized Redondo ignored by that same local elite. But rather an all encompassing Redondo Beach where issues that concern the whole of Redondo can be discussed debated and decided upon by all irregardless of their wealth, position, location, or special interest they may carry. And yet as we all know the key phrase here is “decided upon.” Yes issues are debated and discussed in a public forum. Yes the form and outline of democracy is followed. They put on a well rehearsed show. And yet why do many of us have a sneaking suspicion that the issue; whatever issue, has already been decided? And it seems never for those who don’t have deep pockets or close commercial connections. Does everything have to be about gentrification shopping and more development? We harbor no illusions and understand the powerful yet subtle lock that the connected vested commercial interests have on our local government. To acknowledge that reality can be disheartening and cause one to feel disenfranchised. Don’t be. Citizens who feel they have little or no effective input on issues that affect them and all Redondo Beach are crying out for a voice. That voice; our voice must emanate from the 3rd ward; the forgotten ward. We can and must lead the way with fresh and different ideas that will fly in the face of the “business as usual” special interest politics that have defined Redondo Beach for years. Breaking the suffocating lock of the Good Ole Boys has to begin somewhere. Let it begin in the 3rd ward. Send a loud unambiguous message. This city belongs to all of us not just the vested moneyed commercial interests and the local elites that serve them. There is no time like the present and that moment is now. Vote for us. Vote for Redondo. Vote for the 3rd ward. Vote Coleman. 
Q













































This Campaign is Dedicated to the Memory of 
Chester Powelson. We are going to win this for Chester, he would have wanted it that way.



http://www.easyreadernews.com/89389/89389/


ericjamescoleman@gmail.com

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Article In The Beach Reporter

And I will fight for a Convention Center at the AES site.

http://tbrnews.com/news/redondo_beach/march-election-takes-shape-for-districts/article_fa25b24e-815e-11e4-80bf-63871d3b8c8b.html



In the City of Redondo Beach 176 employees hold City credit cards and in the last 2 years, July 2010 to July 2012, they racked up a lot in expenditures. Just 6 employees have spent over $41,000 in that time. One of them is Bill Workman, the highest paid official in City Hall. My Good friend and Campaign Manager Christopher Quain, a.k.a. the Wolf, explains. Two corrections for the following videos; Six employees spent $41,000, not just Bill Workman. Also, there are 176 City credit cards in circulation, most of them with a $500  monthly cap, with exceptions for some cards. The TOTAL VALUE of those cards is  $1,056,000.

email: ericjamescoleman@gmail.com

Monday, December 1, 2014

Science Experiment Wednesday!



video


For ESL Student Usage with the Present Simple (Science Fact) and Present Continuous (Process Involved).

Special Thanks to Eunji!!!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Donation/ Volunteer/ Spread the Word!

Two years ago I ran for mayor of Redondo Beach and made a documentary about...



During that campaign season I got to know how the Good Ol' Boys' Network operates. The developer based relationship in City Hall needs to end. I hope I have your support for my run for City Council District 3. The upcoming election is March 3rd.

http://www.gofundme.com/he3xqo

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Flood the Ballot









I couldn't agree more. However I truly think that the ruling class has always ruled the way they saw fit using there bought and paid for minions to control and manipulate the masses. This is nothing new. But every now and then throughout history there comes real change. And that only occurs when the vast majority of people are pushed so far up against the wall in their struggle to survive that they see no other alternative than to rise up en mass and rip off their chains. The French revolution is a prime example. The people rose up and quite effectively chopped off the top ten % of society and redistributed the wealth. Perhaps the past is prologue for today's America. Wealth and power is accruing in to ever fewer hands. Much like with the Mafia the vast vast majority of economic gains flow upward to the people who already own everything. Ever more avenues of political expression are being choked off and/or are being commodified for ever more profit. While people who feel powerless are channeled in to manipulated voices that blindly support the oligarchy to their own detriment. The working class is being squeezed for every ounce of profit that can be wrung out of them in myriad ways for the benefit of the top tier of society. And the poor are demonized and marginalized if not imprisoned; and as always, for profit. If we continue along this unsustainable path then yes indeed the past just may be prologue. The kindling is there and primed; all it takes is a spark. If it comes to it what will be our storming of the Bastille? Fraternatie! Egalatrie! Libertie!

- Jamie Quinones
Long Time Friend and Like-Minded Voter