community Service means Business!
25 March 2010
Topic: Pennsylvania politics and government
Affiliation: Morning Call
Topic: Coverage of the state legislature, the governor and the workings of the state bureaucracy.
Affiliation: The Philadelphia Inquirer
Topic: Pennsylvania politics and government
Affiliation: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Topic: Pennsylvania politics and government
I'm from the Government. I'm here to help.
Topic: Pennsylvania politics and government
Affiliation: Rep. Jesse White (D)
Topic: Pennsylvania politics and government
Topic: Pennsylvania state news
Affiliation: The Commonwealth Foundation
Topic: Pennsylvania politics
Senator John Eichelberger
Topic: Pennsylvania government and politics
Affiliation: Sen. John Eichelberger (R)
Young Philly Politics
Topic: Pennsylvania politics and government, with a focus on Philadelphia
24 March 2010
By Hema Mason
The federal Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act, also known as the “Jobs Bill,” was signed into law on March 18th by President Obama. Recognizing that Americans were greatly concerned about the current state of the job economy during his presidential campaign, President Obama took time from the ongoing Health Care Reform debate to address this situation with the HIRE Act. The law is designed to serve two purposes: job creation and retention for currently unemployed workers, and tax breaks for employers, especially small employers.
The law sets aside $38 billion to accomplish its goals. Roughly $18 billion goes to employers in the form of tax breaks, which they can take when they hire anyone who has been unemployed for at least 60 days, and tax credits when that person works for at least 52 weeks.
Employers will not have to pay the 6.2% Social Security payroll tax they would normally pay when they hire such an employee, for the remainder of 2010. This feature means that the earlier the company hires additional employees, the greater tax benefit it receives. Additionally, there are no caps or limits in place for the Social Security tax benefit. Employers also receive a $1,000 tax credit for employees who remain employed for at least 52 weeks. Unlike the Social Security tax benefit, however, the maximum income tax credit is $1,000.
Employers can realize these benefits for eligible new employees they hire after February 3, 2010 and before January 1, 2011. The law itself took effect when the President signed it on March 18.
Twenty billion dollars of the federal money is designed to go to highway and transit projects, which the White House says will in turn create about 250,000 new jobs. Tax breaks will also be given to businesses that purchase needed equipment.
While there is some anticipation following the passage of this law, there is also debate over whether the law is enough to jump-start the economy and move it in the right direction. Employers still devastated and struggling from the recession may feel that hiring additional employees still does not make business sense for them, given their lack of revenue. Further, with so many questions still to be answered about the passage of the Health Care Reform, employers are uncertain about what mandates will be required of them and will hesitate to hire new employees for that reason. For those employers, the benefits of the Jobs Bill will simply not be enough to change their hiring plans.
On the other hand, employers who are rebounding from the recession, rebuilding their companies and who have already made the decision to hire additional employees may reap substantial benefits. For them, hiring new employees will be cheaper following the passage of HIRE than before. There will undoubtedly also be those employers who are on the fence regarding new hiring; for them the Jobs Bill may actually spur hiring activity. The $64,000 question will be how many of those latter employers there are out there right now.
23 March 2010
NY: Drop the Rock group also wants to drop some prisons and focus on sustainable economic development in NY State
via The Real Cost of Prisons Weblog by lois on 3/22/10
- "Caitlin Dunklee, coordinator of the Drop the Rock campaign, said, "New York can no longer use prisons as an economic stimulus plan. Warehousing low-income people of color to create jobs in upstate communities is unconscionable. State leaders must develop alternative and sustainable economic development in communities which have grown dependent on incarceration."
- "Now, using correctional facilities as an economic engine around the state was always bad policy, right?" he asked. "So we also have to fight to make more real economic development throughout the entire state. It's good for New York state, and it'll be a way to show that building and filling prisons is not sustainable economic development." (Senate Health Committee Chairman Thomas Duane, D-Manhattan)
- Chris Leo, legislative director of the New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association, disagrees with the projected costs of the construction projects, and said that the numbers may be skewed in favor of closing the prisons. "Each year when they propose the budget … capital improvements costs are greatly inflated to make that point," he said.
- State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner Karen Carpenter-Palumbo also spoke in favor of the closings. She said, "80 percent of the people that are in prison today are there because of a drug or alcohol addiction. Should they be there? No, they should be in treatment," she said. "So we're building beds, we're making sure that the outpatient services are available. The treatment works." LINK
Timothy McNulty | March 21, 2010
Here's Obama's executive order on federal funding for abortions, which is supposed to be key in wooing health care support from anti-abortion Dems:
THE WHITE HOUSEOffice of the Press Secretary
_____________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release March 21, 2010 STATEMENT FROM COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR DAN PFEIFFER Today, the President announced that he will be issuing an executive order after the passage of the health insurance reform law that will reaffirm its consistency with longstanding restrictions on the use of federal funds for abortion. While the legislation as written maintains current law, the executive order provides additional safeguards to ensure that the status quo is upheld and enforced, and that the health care legislation's restrictions against the public funding of abortions cannot be circumvented. The President has said from the start that this health insurance reform should not be the forum to upset longstanding precedent. The health care legislation and this executive order are consistent with this principle. The President is grateful for the tireless efforts of leaders on both sides of this issue to craft a consensus approach that allows the bill to move forward.A text of the pending executive order follows: Executive Order - - - - - - - Ensuring enforcement and implementation of abortion restrictions in the patient protection and affordable care act By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" (approved March __, 2010), I hereby order as follows:
Section 1. Policy. Following the recent passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ("the Act"), it is necessary to establish an adequate enforcement mechanism to ensure that Federal funds are not used for abortion services (except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered), consistent with a longstanding Federal statutory restriction that is commonly known as the Hyde Amendment. The purpose of this Executive Order is to establish a comprehensive, government-wide set of policies and procedures to achieve this goal and to make certain that all relevant actors-Federal officials, state officials (including insurance regulators) and health care providers-are aware of their responsibilities, new and old. The Act maintains current Hyde Amendment restrictions governing abortion policy and extends those restrictions to the newly-created health insurance exchanges. Under the Act, longstanding Federal laws to protect conscience (such as the Church Amendment, 42 U.S.C. §300a-7, and the Weldon Amendment, Pub. L. No. 111-8, §508(d)(1) (2009)) remain intact and new protections prohibit discrimination against health care facilities and health care providers because of an unwillingness to provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions. Numerous executive agencies have a role in ensuring that these restrictions are enforced, including the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Section 2. Strict Compliance with Prohibitions on Abortion Funding in Health Insurance Exchanges. The Act specifically prohibits the use of tax credits and cost-sharing reduction payments to pay for abortion services (except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered) in the health insurance exchanges that will be operational in 2014. The Act also imposes strict payment and accounting requirements to ensure that Federal funds are not used for abortion services in exchange plans (except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered) and requires state health insurance commissioners to ensure that exchange plan funds are segregated by insurance companies in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, OMB funds management circulars, and accounting guidance provided by the Government Accountability Office. I hereby direct the Director of OMB and the Secretary of HHS to develop, within 180 days of the date of this Executive Order, a model set of segregation guidelines for state health insurance commissioners to use when determining whether exchange plans are complying with the Act's segregation requirements, established in Section 1303 of the Act, for enrollees receiving Federal financial assistance. The guidelines shall also offer technical information that states should follow to conduct independent regular audits of insurance companies that participate in the health insurance exchanges. In developing these model guidelines, the Director of OMB and the Secretary of HHS shall consult with executive agencies and offices that have relevant expertise in accounting principles, including, but not limited to, the Department of the Treasury, and with the Government Accountability Office. Upon completion of those model guidelines, the Secretary of HHS should promptly initiate a rulemaking to issue regulations, which will have the force of law, to interpret the Act's segregation requirements, and shall provide guidance to state health insurance commissioners on how to comply with the model guidelines. Section 3. Community Health Center Program. The Act establishes a new Community Health Center (CHC) Fund within HHS, which provides additional Federal funds for the community health center program. Existing law prohibits these centers from using federal funds to provide abortion services (except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered), as a result of both the Hyde Amendment and longstanding regulations containing the Hyde language. Under the Act, the Hyde language shall apply to the authorization and appropriations of funds for Community Health Centers under section 10503 and all other relevant provisions. I hereby direct the Secretary of HHS to ensure that program administrators and recipients of Federal funds are aware of and comply with the limitations on abortion services imposed on CHCs by existing law. Such actions should include, but are not limited to, updating Grant Policy Statements that accompany CHC grants and issuing new interpretive rules. Section 4. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this Executive Order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect: (i) authority granted by law or presidential directive to an agency, or the head thereof; or (ii) functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals. (b) This Executive Order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations. (c) This Executive Order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity against the United States, its departments, agencies, entities, officers, employees or agents, or any other person.
22 March 2010
On Wednesday, March 24th, Bakery Square is hosting a Job Fair from 10am-2pm. The job fair will be held in the SpringHill Suites within Bakery Square, located at 134 Bakery Square Boulevard. Please see below for the positions available.
Chief Engineer: $14/hr
Education Requirements: Two years of College, Full time Technical or Vocational School
Employee will be responsible for the Maintenance Department Operations, ensuring company standards. Duties are inclusive of preventative maintenance and reactive maintenance.
House Person: $8.25/hr
Education Requirement:- GED or Equivalency Diploma
Employee will be responsible for general cleaning, maintenance duties, and a variety of cleaning tasks in public areas and suites.
Room Attendant: $8.25/hr
Education Requirements: GED or Equivalency Diploma
Employee will be responsible for the cleanliness, arrangement and supply of all guest rooms in an assigned section. Provide the highest quality of service to the customer at all times. Ensure guest satisfaction through room cleanliness and attention to guests’ needs.
Night Auditor : $9.25/hr
Education Requirements: Two years College, Full Time Technical or Vocational School
Process daily audit of the hotel’s financial data. Handle the request and transactions of the hotel guest, and coordinate with other departments as necessary.
The Office for Victims of Crime just released a 2010 resource guide focusing on crime victims’ rights. The guide focuses on promoting awareness and communication for crime victims. There is also a section with detailed crime statistics and guidelines.
Download the resource guide here.
Use the Crime Report for more information on Crime Victims.
“God grant me the serenity to accept
the things I cannot change;
the courage to change the things I can;
and the wisdom to know the difference.”
~Reinhold Niebuhr, The Serenity Prayer
Post written by Leo Babauta. Follow me on twitter or identica.
Probably the most frequently asked questions for those trying to simplify their lives isn’t How Do I Simplify, but rather What If Others in My Life Don’t Want to Simplify?
It’s an amazingly common problem, and one that doesn’t have an easy answer.
However, there are things you can do if your significant other, family members, friends, co-workers or others in your life are standing in the way of finding simplicity.
I’m lucky in that my wife, Eva, is incredibly supportive and in fact has joined me in my journey to simplify. She has eliminated a lot of her stuff, has streamlined her life, and while she’s not quite as minimalist as I am (who can blame her?), she’s come an amazingly long way and I’m proud of her.
But that didn’t happen by accident — I engaged Eva from the beginning, got her on my side, and didn’t push or try to force her to do anything (well, usually — I don’t claim to be perfect). And of course, what’s most important is that she genuinely wants me to be happy and to succeed in anything I do. Again, I’m really lucky.
I’ve had success in getting my kids on board, at least a little bit, with a lot of what I do, and I’ve also had success in letting them live their lives differently than I lead mine. I’ve also had to deal with other family members and people in my life who haven’t been so supportive — in a few cases, actively against some of the things we’ve tried to do.
Leo’s Simple Methods of Dealing With Others
How have I dealt with all of this? I’d like to share some of what’s worked for me, in hopes that it’ll help some of you. As always, your mileage will vary.
1. Model behavior. The most important thing you can do to convert others to your ideas is to be the best model possible. Walk the walk, and do it visibly, so others can see what you’re doing. This goes for your spouse, for your kids, for family and friends, for co-workers. Just showing how to do it can be a powerful tool indeed. Declutter your life, live more simply, and you’ll go a long way to converting others.
2. Share how important it is to you, and the benefits. This is really the second part of being a role model: as you start to live the simple life, show others how great it is to you, how important a part of your life this is. Talk with them about it, and tell them why you’re doing this. When people understand your motivation, they can start to get on board, or at least stop feeling so threatened. And when they see how great it is for you, how happy it makes you and all the great things it brings into your life, they’ll move closer and closer to your way.
3. Ask for help. One of the first things I did with Eva was ask for her support. Not just her consent, but her physical help. I confessed that I can’t do it on my own and I need her. Many people, if they truly care about you, want to help you. They want you to be happy, and if you tell them how they can help you succeed, they’ll do their best. If possible, make simplifying a team effort — not just something you’re doing, but something you’re all doing together. And make it fun!
4. Educate. The best way to educate others is, as I said above, by your good example. But beyond that, you may want to share books and websites and blogs you’re reading, not in a way that insists that they change, but just to show what you’re interested in and how they might learn more if they’re interested. Documentaries, podcasts, magazines, and other good sources of information are helpful as well. You can’t force people to read or watch, but you can make it available. In addition, talk with them about it — again, not in a pushy way but in a way that shows how excited you are and how you’d like to share what you’re learning about. If they seem put off, don’t drone on and on.
5. Help them succeed. If you do have some success converting some of the important people in your life to your way of thinking, at least to a minor degree, don’t criticize when they don’t do it as well as you’d like, or to the extent you’d like. Instead, be encouraging, be happy for them, and support them in any way you can. Again, make it a team effort.
6. Realize you can’t control or change others. One of the most common frustrations comes when people try to control other people, or force them to change. It’s a recipe for disaster. You can try to control others, but there will always be a struggle, and you’ll always fail to some degree. This applies to your significant other, even to kids. We try to control them but we can’t, not really. Instead, try to influence others, encourage them, support them, help them find happiness. And let go of the need to control. It’s difficult but really essential here. Once you can release that need to control, you’ll find much more happiness.
7. Set boundaries. Once you stop trying to control others, you have to find ways to live together with different goals and different ways of life. If you want to simplify and the others you live or work with don’t, how can you peacefully coexist in the same space? Some possibilities (but nowhere near an exhaustive list): decide who owns what and just simplify your own things; split up the house or office into your area and theirs; find a happy compromise between simplicity and major clutter.
8. Have patience. Don’t expect others to change overnight just because you have. The important people in your life might not get quite as excited about this change, because it’s not coming from them. They might not learn it as quickly as you have, or go quite as far. Or they might not want to change or support your change at all, at first … but later, they might come around. Again, don’t push or be obnoxious about it, but instead be patient, encouraging, with an attitude of sharing what you’re learning and excited about.
9. Change what you can. Sometimes you can’t change everything you’d like, and you have to learn to accept that. Find areas you can control, find places that others will allow you to change, and focus on those. The other areas might come later (or they might not). This is what comes from having others in your life — you give up complete control, but you also get the wonder of sharing your life with other human beings, something I’d never give up.
10. Find support. If you can’t get support from some people in your life, find it elsewhere if possible. This might be from others who are doing the same thing as you — friends or family, or people in your community. It could be from online communities, such as social networks or forums. There are tons of people out there who are trying to simplify (the Zen Habits forums are just one example). Share your progress, challenges, frustrations with them, and you’ll find help from people who understand.
If you’re interested in a simple life, check out my ebook: The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life.
Or find more of my other books and ebooks.
This blog post kicks off a three part series on Start-up Success for Small Business Trends. This first blog post is about a step in business planning that is often overlooked. Part II, we’ll look at “Working from home?” and Part III will be about the “Top reasons why start-up businesses fail and what you can do about it.”
Many people dream about owning a small business. You may be one of those people who have had a “notion” for years that someday you would be president of a company, successful beyond your wildest dreams. Turning that dream into reality is an evolutionary process. It involves not only having a solid business idea but also knowing the “business of running a business.” You will need to get your arms around stuff like accounting, marketing, and operations, but before you dive into crunching numbers for your business plan, consider this:
It is my strong belief that would-be entrepreneurs need to develop a life plan before they ever write a business plan. Why, you ask?
Because entrepreneurs who don’t get clear about what they want from life run the risk of starting a business that might not be a good business for them.
A life plan is your personal strategic plan for your life goals. Before you develop a business plan, you must first have a life goal. Everyone should take the time to evaluate how they live. Then, develop a plan to achieve how they really want to live. Other elements include things like “Where are you a rockstar?” “What makes you laugh?” “What do you love to do?” “What do you dislike doing?” And “What do you need to learn?” With the answers to these questions you will be clear about what your passions are and how you really need your life to work in order to be successful as an entrepreneur.
Do not make the mistake of assuming what the entrepreneurial lifestyle will be like. Not everyone is cut out to be a small business owner. You will go from doing 2-3 jobs in corporate America to doing 10-12 jobs overnight for your own business and every job is important. The best way to stay motivated in your business is to know you are working towards your personal life goal.
To really get a good picture of your life plan as an entrepreneur, answer the following questions:
- What kind of lifestyle do you want to have as an entrepreneur?
- How big do you want your business to get in terms of profits and staff?
- Will you have employees?
- How many hours a week will you work?
- Do you need to meet the school bus every day or take off every Friday?
- Are you willing to work seven days a week? If so, how long can you keep that up?
- Will you need a partner and could you handle working with one?
- How will you fund your household while you start your business?
You may have a great business idea, but you must decide if it’s a good business for you and your family. Do not trade a soul-sapping job for a business that you hate. With a life plan you will have a goal, then you can develop a plan that will lead to personal and professional success.
Do you have a life plan for yourself? Tell me, is it making your business planning easier?Life Plan Before Business Plan
Although people often argue that ending homelessness is impossible, the truth is we've already made real progress. Consider chronic homelessness: between 2005 and 2007, the number of people experiencing chronic homeless dropped by 30 percent - 30 percent! - and this population tends to have serious, often debilitating disabilities. Since then, progress has slowed and the economy has stalled. But in that time, we've learned a lot about what works. And now is the time to finish what we started.At our Congressional Briefing on Ending Chronic Homelessness tomorrow (Tuesday, March 23) at 10 a.m., we'll advise and educate Congressional staff, local and national stakeholders, and others about chronic homelessness: what it is, how we fight it, and what the federal government can do about it. Alliance president Nan Roman and Katrina van Valkenburgh of the Corporation for Supportive Housing will be joined by Thomas Gregory of the Office of the City Manager in Worcester, MA, and Paul Lambros of the Plymouth Housing Group in Seattle, WA. Plus, a DC resident and former client at Pathways to Housing – a DC homeless services program – will share his story.Moving forward will require a serious federal investment, particularly through the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance programs. President Obama's FY2011 budget recommendations also include an exciting collaboration program between HUD and the Department of Health and Human Services. This integrated approach - housing + supportive services - is one of the key strategies to helping people out of homelessness.Our latest research shows this approach - also known as permanent supportive housing - not only gives people a place to live, but provides significant cost savings to the public. That idea - the idea that permanent supportive housing is more cost-efficient than a system of emergency shelters - is one that never fails to compel and surprise those new to the issue. Not only is homelessness a problem with a clear solution, but that solution is both morally and fiscally sound. If you're in DC, you're welcome to join us! The briefing is at the Capitol Visitors Center in Room HVC-200. You can RSVP to Amanda Krusemark, at email@example.com.
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This month the National Coalition for the Homeless began a campaign to spread awareness about the increasing prevalence of tent cities. Its first report, "Tent Cities in America: A Pacific Coast Report," looks at nine tent cities, ranging from the 10-year-old, 60-resident, city ordinance-protected Dignity Village in Portland, Oregon to the two-year-old, 55-resident unsanctioned Nickelsville encampment in Seattle.
Forty-four percent of America's homeless are "unsheltered." Since we know that the Department of Housing and Urban Development's substandard definition of homelessness does not include people living in motels or sleeping on friends' couches, where are those other 66 percent of homeless individuals? Many are in tent cities.
The Coalition's report is a series of case studies, and coincidentally, a fascinating read. It explains how each tent city formed and grew, and in the case of many of the examples, how its residents withstood police and community pressure and fought for legal recognition from the city. It even includes practical information the types of dwellings and sources of funding. Many of the encampments are established enough to deserve the title of "city" and include things like elected officials, publicity campaigns and background checks for residents.
Executive director of the National Coalition for the Homeless, Changemaker Neil Donovan, says that tent cities are America's "de facto waiting room for affordable and accessible housing." The fact that more and more people are living in tent cities doesn't say anything about the people (people haven't changed) -- it says something about the state of affordable housing in our country.
That's what struck me most about the Coalition's report. It never judged the people in these tent cities, of course, but it presumed that living in encampments was not what was right for the residents. It held up the permanent supportive housing model even while including Dignity Village, a high-functioning community made of wooden homes that began as a tent city, in its report. I tend to side with Donovan, but I also think that these tent cities feel more like homes than waiting rooms to an awful lot of people.
Photo credit: Glasto_2009
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03/21 - 03/28
- ..And in news of a more positive nature...
- Pennsylvania Political Blogs
- The Federal Hiring Incentives to Restore Employmen...
- Drop the Rock
- President Obama's Executive Order
- Bakery Square Job Fair - Pittsburgh PA
- Crime Victims’ Rights
- 10 Ways to Deal With the Non-Simplifying Others in...
- Life Plan Before Business Plan
- Ending Chronic homelessness
- Jakob Wagner
- Tent Cities: Waiting Rooms for Affordable Housing?...
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