Wednesday, October 22, 2014

How To Bring Greensboro Out Of Poverty: Part 7

In Part 6 of our series, How To Bring Greensboro Out Of Poverty I introduced you to a native wonder plant called Duckweed. Today I'm going to introduce you to a second wonder plant native to North Carolina but first I'd like to address how the City of Greensboro could make these things happen if there were the political will to do so.

In Part 3 I brought up the fact that the City of Greensboro currently has $272 Million Dollars invested in stocks and bonds outside of Greensboro that should be invested in Greensboro. Allowing our own population to do without while building enormous wealth is simply unacceptable. Besides, all that money is under the control of Wall Street Banksters who are without a doubt stealing every penny they can get their hands on. Just last year Greensboro had $273 Million Dollars in that same said account.

It's time to bring our boys back home where they belong.

Not only could the City of Greensboro invest in businesses as I've mentioned in this and previous parts of this series, the City of Greensboro could found for profit businesses as the major investor in publicly traded corporations then over time sell off the City owned shares at a profit. As I wrote in Part 2:

 "This entire series is to be considered an evolving plan and any post is subject to be edited with feedback from readers or as I gleen more information from other sources. After all, any economic plan so set in stone that it cannot change to reflect changes in markets and current economic conditions is doomed to failure from the onset."
That goes for my ideas as well. This is solely my opinion, Duckweed may not be the solution Greensboro wants or needs but it is established fact that economic development through real estate development is and always has been putting the cart before the horse. Empty industrial parks are a sign of failure and have even less potential than an empty field which can still be farmed and might still someday become an industrial park when the need arises. And for this City to keep investing in such pipe dreams while poverty remains above 21%, unemployment is the highest in the state if not the nation and Greensboro remains the second hungriest city in America is simply absurd and inexcusable.

One doesn't have to go through Wall Street to form a publicly traded corporation. Ever heard of over the counter stocks? They can be sold at banks, credit unions, brokers and all sorts of institutions across the country. I learned of this from Mrs Silo, Bessemer Elementary School, 6th grade half a century ago. Other than Gus who owned the Alpat Restaurant on Bessemer Avenue, she was the only Greek person I knew then. That was the same year I read all 20 volumes of the World Book Encyclopedia. Don't tell me I didn't know everything.

And then the gang violence started and school was no longer a safe place to be...

But I was supposed to be talking about another plant called Azolla, native to North Carolina and so common it's sold it pet supply stores as an aquarium plant called Fairy Moss or Mosquito Fern. Azolla caroliniana is the species that grows locally and as you can see from clicking on the first link it has many established uses including animal feed, mosquito control, compost, organic fertilizer, mulch, human consumption. Azolla also grows well on shaded bodies of water where Duckweed doesn't grow.

It's important that both these plants are great for animal feed and can be grown in places where traditional sources of animal feed cannot be grown but what is probably more important is the fact that one of the byproducts of successful farming of Duckweed and Azolla is fish. And the fish that eats these plants the best is Tilapia,  one of the most grown and most sought after fish in the world. 

And were you aware that the world's largest fish farms are located within sight of large toxic, leaking oil refineries? How safe is the food you are feeding your family and how do you know?

Seriously, Folks, Greensboro is currently under contract to buy 52% of the water from the Randelman Dam. That's more water than the City of Greensboro uses and that doesn't take into account our City owned lakes. We have a glut of water at a time when the world's food supplies are endangered, our citizens are the second hungriest in the nation and the highest unemployment in the state. And there's empty properties everywhere you look-- especially in the neighborhoods hit hardest. Do the math: Greensboro should be a major exporter of food, not an importer.

Duckweed and Azolla as an energy product could be piped out of Greensboro via Colonial Pipeline and hauled on trucks and trains. Duckweed and Azolla as food and feed could be grown almost anywhere there's a connection to City water and sunlight. Rain water is preferred but a back-up is needed and water is needed for cleaning. A packing and processing house and a mill would be needed. It's a big undertaking but it would spin off many smaller family owned businesses in Greensboro and beyond as more and more see the potential and get involved.

Or my uncle and I will just raise what we can in our backyards, having free feed for our chickens, fish, parakeets, finches, doves, hamsters, rabbits, worms, etc while the rest of you struggle on. We'll not go hungry, will you?

It's not about the fact that we don't have the assets we need, it's about how we use the assets we have and use them in a sustainable manner. We can be leaders or followers. For the entirety of my 58 years here in Greensboro we've been followers only to end up with over 21% poverty, the highest unemployment in the state and the 2nd hungriest population in America. It might be that my ideas aren't the best solutions but what's been tried so far damned sure hasn't worked.

When I see the status quo trotting out some ideas that aren't just more of the same ol' same ol' then I'll be ready to listen. Until then you might want to give my ideas some thought.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

2015 USA Gymnastics Economic Development: Updated

The Business Journal is reporting that the Greensboro Coliseum Complex will be hosting the 2015 USA Gymnastics Championships. My guess is local media outlets will soon begin telling us of the economic impact the championships will bring to our area over the course of 5 days. Are they correct? I don't know.

Me, I decided to look at who is hosting the event.

The Greensboro Coliseum Complex supported in its entirety by taxpayer dollars.

The Greensboro Area Convention and Visitors Bureau also funded in its entirety by tax dollars.

Tournament Hosts Of Greensboro, a local non-profit to which "Contributions are not deductible" and who's mission appears to be solely to "PROMOTE ATHLETIC EVENTS". Look at their Federal Form 990 and see if you can figure out where they got the over $600,000 they spent last year.

The Greensboro Sports Commission is also a tax funded entity.

And Sports & Properties Inc of Cary, NC, the only for profit company hosting the event thus far.

So is this a good deal for Greensboro or a great deal for Sports & Properties Inc of Cary, North Carolina? Look at the last paragraph of the press release issued by Sports & Properties Inc and decide for yourself, are our non profit dollars subsidizing sports marketing companies in the name of economic development for Greensboro?

Is that what they really mean by economic development?

Update: Wednesday morning, the team here at has since learned that Hill Carrow, owner of Sports & Properties Inc is also Chairman of the US Figure Skating Championships, former chairman of the US Olympic Trials-- Table Tennis and a former vice president of the US Olympic Committee. Hill Carrow is drawing many a fat paycheck all from non profit corporations while his own company is being subsidized with your Greensboro tax dollars plus the tax dollars of every other city Hill Carrow operates his business in.

We also learn that his company was involved in making positive economic development impact studies involving the Greensboro Aquatic Center after having warned it wouldn't work.

Can you say conflicts of interest? Mayor Vaughan? Councilman Matheny? Matt Brown?

Who Is Chris Musselwhite And Why His Take On UNCG Matters: Updated

This morning the News & Record published the following LTE by Christopher Musselwhite which I have stolen and republished in its entirety including the advertisement that makes money not for me but for the News & Record:

Firings a reflection on UNCG leadership

"I’ve read with utter disbelief the accounts of the fired UNCG public relations office employees. It raises serious questions about UNCG’s leadership.

How could Paul Mason, the person who is responsible for public relations, have handled this situation so ineptly? This by itself should raise questions about his competency and judgment. Why are three people being singled out for such harsh treatment? If this standard is applied to every university employee, then who is left to run the place? This looks and smells like retribution.

click here

Why did this issue move beyond the campus? Do Mason and Chancellor Brady think the campus and city police have nothing better to do? People, this is a personnel issue.

Why is Brady distancing herself from this situation rather than modeling courageous leadership? You hired this guy.

How about, “I’m sorry this happened on my watch and I’m going to fix it.” Many UNCG employees and alumni are concerned and have every right to be.

Let’s hope this apparent climate of intimidation is limited to the university communications and not more pervasive. If you value this organization, I encourage you to speak up now.

Christopher Musselwhite"

Now why is Mr Musslewhite's opinion so important? Allow me to explain:

Chris Musslewhite is the President of the Center for Creative Leadership where the UNCG Board of Trustees often has their annual retreats.

The Center for Creative Leadership is a worldwide institution headquartered in Greensboro with campuses in Colorado Springs, San Diego, Brussels, Moscow, Singapore and more.

The Center for Creative Leadership is funded by, among others, the Joseph M Bryan Foundation-- one of the richest and most powerful non profit foundations in Greensboro and North Carolina. Mr Musslewhite wouldn't dare take any stand that wasn't supported by those who write his paychecks.

The Joseph M Bryan Foundation and the Center for Creative Leadership are also big financial contributors to UNCG. They have the power to make money scarce at UNCG.

Now taking into account who Christopher Musslewhite is and the influence he yields, Mr Musslewhite wrote in his letter:

"Let’s hope this apparent climate of intimidation is limited to the university communications and not more pervasive. If you value this organization, I encourage you to speak up now."

To which our embedded investigator posed the following:

"My question is, for the most vulnerable workers across the campus who have already sought protection from workplace violence by consulting Human Resources and been told that making a complaint is not an option, to whom are they supposed to speak?"

That's right, "to whom are they supposed to speak?"

I urge for men like Chris Musslewhite to go the extra mile and call for the resignation of Linda Brady and the firing of Paul Mason as well as a complete investigation into employee relations at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

And Mr Musslewhite, should you not know, this is the website that first broke this story before the local media picked it up with our story, UNCG Using Threats And Intimidation Against Employees. We don't blog the news, we are the news.

Update: Tuesday October 21, 2014 Of course, when you're trying your best you still make mistakes and no matter how hard you try someone has to come along and act like an asshole about it. Take for instance Chris Musslewhite who contacted me for the first time via Google Plus this morning with the following message:

 "It is very interesting that Billy Jones will post my N&R LTE but will not post my follow up comments.  In fact if you look at all his blog there are no comments posted on any posting.  Is this because everything that is unfavorable to him is screened out or because no one takes him seriously enough to comment?

Mr. Jones please get your facts straight.  I am not president of Center for Creative Leadership, never have been and there's no reason for you to believe I am."

To which I replied:

"Mr Musslewhite,  

My e-mail is    It is posted at the TOP of the page of every page of my blog. Had you actually contacted me I would have made the correction but until just now I was unaware that you were trying to contact me you stupid pompous asshole.  I screen out nothing on my blog but do require commenters to be registered. Did you bother to register? Most commenters use Facebook instead. Most are smart enough not to make the stupid assumptions you have just made.

I have just now updated my blog post to reflect your comments and my reply.

Fuck you, Moron, my thousands of daily readers will have a great laugh at your expense as I move that post along with your e-mail and this reply back to the top of the page.

-Billy Jones"

Apparently this idiot thinks his money makes him immune to what I do.

There Mr Musslewhite, you have your fucking correction, shit-for-brains.

Ode To UNCG's Dr Linda Brady… Redux

“Of course by now you've already heard the news that Chancellor Linda Brady has announced her retirement…..” - Billy Jones

Thomas Sowell has observed on many occasions that politicos never pay a direct price for being wrong. The only price paid is non-reelection. Sowell’s observation, the mechanics thereof, are as follows:

(1) the politico puts forth a notional proposition of the way things ought to be,

(2) the politico then frames the notional proposition as fact,

(3) the non-fact fact is then argued through verbal virtuosity,

(4) the non-fact fact becomes legislation or governmental action,

(5) the legislation or government action is followed by first stage positive economic consequences followed by cascading negative unintended consequences for years into the future,

(6) the politico pays no direct price for the cascading negative unintended consequences, rather the price falls on the masses.

When past political actions by the politico begin to haunt him/her, they conveniently retire and generally the retirement is based on something along the lines of “more family time”. They retire and no direct price is paid by the politico for the legislation or government action spawned by the same politico.

It is worth pointing out that "government" is abstract and hence governments do not think, act or decide. Politicos think, act and decide. Therefore, it is in reality not "government action" it is actions by politicos through the mechanism of government. That mechanism is directed by bureaucrats. Hence the bureaucrats are an extension of the politico i.e. the mechanism.

Occasionally these bureaucrats make extreme errors. Errors that lead to immediate cascading negative unintended consequences. Like their politico counterparts, the bureaucrat conveniently retires. They conveniently retire with no direct price paid by the bureaucrat for past actions.

That is, in both the politico’s and bureaucrat’s case (the decision maker and the purveyor of the decision mechanism), retirement becomes the escape hatch and that is the end of the story with others left to pay the price.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Ode To UNCG's Dr Linda Brady

Of course by now you've already heard the news that Chancellor Linda Brady has announced her retirement and being that we here at EzGreensboro first broke the story that started the chain of events that lead to her retirement I thought we should dedicate this next song to Dr Brady:


Billy Jones, your friendly freelance, neighborhood Tyrannicide and the staff of at your service 'cause when you've got the guts, a smooth pull of the trigger is EZ.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Al Wall On UNCG "We must all save three white people!"

Some took it as mere trolling when Al Wall commented, "We must all save three white people!" on the News & Record thread In embattled UNCG department only 7 of 17 employees remain but before you judge allow me to give you a little insight gained from observing months of Al's trolling.

For starters, there's 2 kinds of Internet trolling and neither are necessarily bad. Most internet trolls are of the type that hide under a bridge and assault you when you attempt to cross, perhaps going so far as to eat you when you resist their efforts to stop them. This is how all bad trolls and a few good trolls operate. This isn't how Al works.

The second type of internet troll is a fisher troll. These trolls speed through the Internet casting lines behind them baited with sentences like "We must all save 3 white people!"

This second type of troll moves fast and throws back most of their catch as most of their catch has yet to grow large enough to be considered worthy. But the few Al Wall doesn't throw back are keepers.

You see, UNCG is a very big and very white institution where a black man and quite possibly a black woman could simply fall through the cracks if he or she were being abused on the job.

That's not to say UNCG is necessarily a racist institution-- racism isn't tolerated at UNCG-- but minorities often become invisible in places where their numbers are so small. And folks, right now, these minorities at UNCG are your allies, they're in the same boat you're in and if something has been silently happening to minorities at UNCG then you white folk need to know it and you need to know it now.

I point this out because Al Wall has certain knowledge or insight that sometimes exceeds even our team here at . For example, while I don't know who Al is, on June 3 Al wrote:

"City neglects--then looks for excuse to demolish colorful grilled-cheese sandwich."

Al was talking about Heritage House even before we discovered the City's history of neglect and subsequent plans to steal 178 individually deeded properties away from their rightful owners. So when Al writes, "We must all save 3 white people!" I see it as Al's way of saying there's something there we haven't been looking for-- something we haven't seen. I'm thinking Al Wall is the fly on the wall that flies into the room ahead of everyone else and remains perfectly still until everyone leaves.

Don't you find it simply amazing how the stories of corruption at UNCG and the City of Greensboro seem to cross over one another? Perhaps myself, someone on the team or Al Wall will explain that to you someday.

Me, I'll be watching Al's hooks a lot closer than ever before. I may even swim towards his boat.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Growing Greensboro: Steisha Pintado

A lot of people don't realize it but my former blog, was at one time nearing stardom with 80,000 readers a month making me at that time, the most widely known and popular blogger in all of Greensboro. As a matter of fact: prior to the economic crash I was earning my living from the advertising revenue I earned from that one blog. A sparce living but I was doing what I loved doing.

I still post a bit of poetry and short stories to Formerly but if I see 80 readers a month there it's been a very good month. That's okay, I had my 15 minutes, it's someone else's turn.

But I got to thinking, with traffic growing in leaps and bounds here at because of our team's clearing Greensboro's landscape of so much corruption why not use our increased popularity to sow the fields with new crops? After all, growing, creating and building are my own greatest passions.

As a new feature and with your help I've added Growing Greensboro to the right column of our website just below the Blogging Cow where in it you'll find a link to Steisha Pintado's blog where she posts some of her original cartoons.

So what are the requirements to be added to Growing Greensboro? For starters you must be located in Greensboro and your site needs to be updated regularly with an RSS feed. Your passion can be art, music, crafts, manufacturing whatever as long as you are adding something tangible-- a product-- to our local economy. Merriam-Webster defines Tangible as "capable of being appraised at an actual or approximate value."

The other requirement is that what you are doing is unique. Tangible and unique go a long ways towards making any product or service an asset to the local community whereas the artist whose work simply copies the work of another may well be tangible, its lack of uniqueness drains away from the original creator and quite possibly the economy as a whole.

You see, one of the major themes of this blog has always been economic development and being that we don't run government I'm always looking for other ways to help.

Oh, and don't sit around waiting to be discovered, and make sure I can verify you're in Greensboro, North Carolina.

And finally, I don't do this often but Christmas is coming soon and Reindeer Tales remains the only book I still have in print. As the old saying goes, children of all ages, even children with great grandchildren, will love it.

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Paul Mason, UNCG Shills, Fall By The Wayside

First it was Dan Shriner who turned out to be a fired journalist from the Flint Journal in Flint, Michigan who got in trouble for making false accusations against a local business owner and ended up working for some two bit publication called Sherman Publications in a nearby town who showed up in News & Record threads shilling for UNCG Assistant Chancellor Paul Mason.

There was another whose name I forget but quickly fell by the wayside.

Then there was the infamous Townsend Marketa who was so stupid in choosing a surname as to choose one that does not exist anywhere else in the world. Townsend Marketa turned out to be Mark Townsend, Assistant General Council for VF Corporation and former coworker of Paul Mason.

 Kinda makes you wonder if the rumors that Mason did the same at previous employers might really be true. After all, if Townsend was covering for Mason then he would have personal reasons to cover for Mason now in the hopes that the investigation never goes that far.

 The bullying of  Mark "The Coward" Townsend and Dan "The Skipper" Shriner is typical of the traditional public relations approach to Internet marketing. Before the News & Record switched to Facebook commenting their comment threads would be filled with comments from the same PR folks using many different names. I used to see the same thing in tracking IP addresses on blog comments before I restricted commenting to registered commenters.

 The 2 of them obviously had years of experience at this sort of thing but unknown to them our ever growing team of volunteers at has been at this for a very long time as well. Not only are we well versed in the use of the Internet but our reach is far beyond what even I ever imagined it could ever be.

 Fact is: anymore, if I want to know something about someone or something all I have to do is put it out there that I want to know it and eventually it comes back to me. Sometimes in minutes, sometimes in months but eventually someone who knows finds out I want to know and he or she tells me. Sometimes I post what I want to know to a blog post and sometimes to Facebook, Twitter or an e-mail but eventually it comes home.

 And I tell everyone so the tyrants will fall.

 Goodbye Dan and Mark, you've both got some 'splain' to do to your employers as you've once again brought shame to your profession. I don't know about journalists but the comments Mr Townsend posted to the News & Record threads while using the name Townsend Marketa he might also be cause to have have a discussion with the NC Bar about ethics.

And Mark, I took screen grabs this morning so you're still screwed. Like I said, we're experienced at this game.


-Billy Jones, your friendly freelance, neighborhood Tyrannicide at your service.

Update: They've already began removing their comments and others mentioning their names from the various News & Record comment threads. These guys are scared.

How To Bring Greensboro Out Of Poverty: Part 6

When I began this series, How To Bring Greensboro Out Of Poverty I wanted to avoid investment near Piedmont Triad International Airport but Mayor Vaughan and her developer cronies will be happy to hear that in order for my plan to succeed this part requires at least some new development at the tank farm and quite possibly at PTI itself.

Not too long ago I got my hands on an aquatic plant known as Duckweed. Lemna minor, a species native to North Carolina to be exact. 

There wasn't much of it. As a matter of fact as Goldfish eat Duckweed I was concerned that my Goldfish would eat all of my Duckweed before I could get it established so I rigged a floating pot in such a way as to keep my little fishies away from my Duckweed while keeping both in the same 300 gallon tank in my back yard.

In a few short days the pot was filled so I added a second pot. Now, less than a month later I've moved Duckweed to several other containers including a 55 gallon rain barrel and a shallow pan where my chickens are giving Duckweed a try. You see, Duckweed is used in Asia to feed fish like Tilapia and Carp, cattle, ducks, chickens and people. As a matter of fact: some chicken farmers in Vietnam feed their laying hens a diet of 100% Duckweed. And my 300 gallon tank? It's almost half covered in Duckweed.

Duckweed is in-fact a superfood of sorts with more protein than Soybeans. And it tastes like cabbage with pepper on it.

Did you know mosquitoes don't breed on ponds or other bodies of water that are covered with Duckweed? And to think, most people who have Duckweed are trying to kill it.

But as my interest in Duckweed grew I learned it can be so much more. As a matter of fact regular eating of the species of Duckweed that is native to North Carolina is subject to cause high instances of Kidney and Gal Stones in people who are most susceptible but as this video shows the uses for North Carolina Duckweed could turn Greensboro around.

Now I did some checking on this company CEG Power and Gas (Ceres Energy Group) and it appears they haven't really done anything with their technology nor does it appear they've built the plants they mentioned in the video but that still leaves plenty of potential for Duckweed in Greensboro.

For starters, Duckweed needs only 3 things to grow: still water, sunlight and rotting organic matter. Fish poop works. So would those leaves piling up at the White Street Landfill. You know, the leaves the City spends a $Million Dollars a year or more picking up.

And for you car guys out there: the alcohol derived from Duckweed is Methanol, not Ethanol. Methanol doesn't cause the problems with older engines that Ethanol is known for and produces more horsepower. That's why Methanol is used in high performance fuels.

By using the investment options I laid out in Part 3 Greensboro could be going a long ways towards reducing poverty, reducing unemployment and making Greensboro sustainable. The potential as a pellet fuel alone is staggering and if anyone is interested in Duckweed as Human food we've 2 options: Import Wolffia arrhiza from Asia as breeding stock... Import my big ol hairy butt, you can order it from Amazon or a hundred other sources as it's been here so long it's become naturalized. Or buy the patented duckweed clones. Left to my own devises I'd take the former.

But wait, Duckweed doesn't stop there. Besides feed, fuel and all the things mentioned in the video, Duckweed also makes great fertilizer-- even better when you add the waste and byproducts from those fish you've been harvesting from beneath the Duckweed.

In Part 7 I'll tell you about a companion plant to Duckweed. You see, you end poverty and stop hunger by putting people to work planting the seeds, not by talking about it.

A Letter From The UNCG-3

The following letter was passed to me today as having being written by the UNCG-3. I can say the source has been quite reliable in the past.

THEY (UNCG administration) are operating from incomplete information.  

1)  Paul has been the original and only source of information about how the photo department functioned, their workload and productivity.  Paul's credibility is shot at this point, so that should be an effective argument.  The basis for the investigation is rotten at it's core.  Let's not stop hitting on the fact that we all went to HR to ask for help and nothing was done.

2)  No one -- not Paul, not HR, not UNCG Police -- has ever talked to the three of us, Helen, the previous supervisor of 15 years, or Debbie.  Paul's story that the business was operating out of the office is false, but the investigation proceeded the whole time as though it was a fact.  Their understanding of how schedules, time sheets, history of equipment use, etc. is all faulty, so the investigation -- and the evidence as presented to leadership -- is all one-sided.  THEY ARE THE ONES WITHOUT ALL THE INFORMATION.  

At this point, maybe we just make sure our friends on campus have this so they can respond and ask the right questions at forums. 

The second thing:

We hope the lawyers will be able to respond on our behalf if they (UNCG) release specific information.  

1) We learned yesterday that the $150,000 figure was already making the rounds on campus, which is good.  It won't have any shock value.  If it comes out via the administration, the lawyers can respond. (answer -- the business actually netted only a fraction of this; and SO WHAT -- they had permission to have a business and the story that they did all that on the clock is FALSE.)  

2) They have 75 invoices dating back three years.  Do the math.  That's two shoots per month.   

3) As to the argument that they used university equipment -- the university has used theirs to its benefit, and this has been true since the university has employed photographers.  

4) As for work on the clock, we have a rebuttal to ALL the dates in question on the time sheets.  The majority of them are 1-2 hour shoots for which comp time was taken; one was shot by another photographer that they paid (Tom Ross' nephew -- can't wait for that to come out) and that the investigation failed to uncover this; and for the two dates that were out of town, the photographers had requested and been approved for vacation but failed to put this on their time sheets.  So those two were errors -- two errors in 2 1/2 years.  

It is possible they (UNCG) have other things that they will throw out, but it will just be more of the same -- basically more photo shoots.  If we can discredit the initial stuff, I think we'll be successful."

Third: Beth English quit her job effective immediately last week. She, too, had turned to HR for or help during these last difficult weeks in University Relations, and like the rest of us she received no help. She started her first day on a new job today."
Just so you know, Tom Ross is the head honcho of the entire UNC system. This is about to get very ugly, please spread the word.