Veterans owed apology for biz boondoggle
This is an apology to my fellow veterans. When I joined the Small Business Administration as a Presidential Management Fellow, I wanted to help returning veterans realize the American dream of starting their own businesses. Unfortunately, the Boots to Business Program has become a boondoggle.
In the first year, with no funding, local economic development organizations traveled to 150 military bases to train over 6,000 transitioning service members. The expectation was to serve 40,000 each year. However, after the agency received $7 million in 2014, only another 1,000 were added to the program.
The money intended to help transitioning service members was wasted. Only $1.12 million went to the organizations putting on the program.
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Government executives gave large sums to their drinking buddies at Syracuse University for an online course teaching a few hundred veterans. They put friends they served with in Europe on the agency's payroll. They hired a lot of contractors at headquarters in Washington D.C. And, now, they're taking junkets to Europe and Asia — using the pretext of "testing" the online course overseas.
I haven't had any responsibility for the program since I left the agency last year. However, I thought somebody owed veterans an apology.
GR8 talk for 2moro
Social media is now a huge part of our lives, and it is not going away. Recently there has been an intense debate over whether social media is changing our language for better or worse. Over the course of history things have evolved, new words are created and new ways to communicate catch on.
A generation ago, students were taught to speak and write with perfect grammar, a formal tone and wordy sentences that suppressed their ability to communicate on a more personal level.
Today, with the new form of speaking created along with the emergence of social media, things like text lingo; short, choppy sentences that get your point across more easily, and the friendly tone created by being a click away from your audience make our communication more personal, allowing us to appeal to our audience's feelings in a whole new way.
Globally, there are over 500 million users on Facebook. Perhaps one of the greatest advantages of social media is that when hundreds of your followers can read what you write within a matter of seconds, everybody has the ability and resources to be an author, contrary to past trends when only the professionals could.
Jordan C. Stacy
'Trickle down' works
As the fracking debates flow on, here's a bright spot for the proponents and their cheerleaders in Congress: as the pipelines sprout leaks and send chemicals seeping down into the ground we can boast, "See, trickle-down economics really does work."
Two million more Americans voted for a Democratic controlled Congress and Senate than a Republican one, but their votes don't count.
How is this possible? By a district rigging process called gerrymandering. This is a dishonest practice that forces the liberal city of Austin, Texas to include a Republican district of Dallas, 181 miles away, in order to make it a Republican district. Knoxville is 141 miles away from Lexington; should Lexington's congressional district include a neighborhood in Knoxville?
Of course not, but that is another example of how our voting system is rigged.
The will of the voter doesn't matter if you allow gerrymandering, endless filibusters and the Electoral College that elects a president who lost the popular vote.
U.S. can save kids
The value of one human life is being discounted to a number, as though that one precious human life has no soul.
We have become so calloused, indifferent to the evil, depraved atrocities occurring in the world, we are numb.
That does not excuse us from responsibility. No nation has the ability to mobilize and distribute aid like the United States. We talk, we condemn, we deplore, we say we are studying issues, but what are we doing in reality? What are we, the leader of the free world, doing to help the children of the world?
Daily the innocents are brutalized, tortured, orphaned, sold into slavery. The innocents have no advocate. They suffer individually, alone.
We simply need to say, tomorrow we are landing a humanitarian care aircraft with relief supplies for the children at an airfield. If required, we escort this humanitarian relief with a military jet fighter. This is an over-simplification. However, the point of what needs to be done has been established.
Why are we not doing this? We do not need United Nations approval. We need no one. We have the ability. We do not have the resolve. Shame on us.
A day with Spock
I had been working at WLEX-TV a couple of years, so it would have been about 1973 when Leonard Nimoy, who died recently, was in Lexington to work a telethon with us. This was at the old Diners' Playhouse off North Broadway at the interstate, and many of us spent the weekend there.
I remember standing in front of the building with Len, as he was called, waiting for some delivery. I had trouble finding something to talk to him about.
This was his I am not Spock period and he would not discuss Star Trek, so we all walked around the elephant in the room all weekend. Later, someone brought in a pair of Spock ears and he wouldn't touch them.
He was a nice man and easy to work with, but without any mention of Star Trek, you can imagine how difficult it became.
Celebrate humane farming
Americans quietly celebrate the nation's hardworking farmers and ranchers during every meal. And National Agriculture Day March 18 is a good opportunity to give thanks to those who raise our food and do it right.
U.S. farmers provide us with perhaps the most abundant, safe and affordable food supply in the world — raising 262 percent more food than in 1950, while using less fertilizer, seed and labor. Consumers are grateful for this, but they also increasingly say they care that animals used in agriculture are well-treated — 95 percent according to a recent poll we conducted.
Farmers have always been the frontline stewards of animal welfare but to demonstrate humane treatment to consumers, many of whom have no experience on farms, more farmers are turning to independent, third-party certification programs, such as the American Humane Certified program.
The program now ensures the welfare of more than 1 billion U.S. farm animals under more than 200 scientifically based standards covering everything from adequate space to food and water, lighting, warmth, clean air and the ability for animals to be animals.
This National Agriculture Day, let's celebrate by looking for humane labeling and supporting Kentucky farmers who not only put food on our tables, but do it in a humane way.
President and CEO
American Humane Association