Monday, August 25, 2008

Angie Morgan, Nine-Year Marine Corps Vet and Small-Biz Leader, Helps Kick Off 2008 Democratic National Convention

Today, when the 2008 Democratic National Convention kicks off in Denver, Col., Angie Morgan [pictured] will lead conventioneers in the Pledge of Allegiance. Morgan is a nine-year U.S. Marine Corps veteran who co-founded Fairfax, Va.-based Lead Star LLC, a leadership consulting and development firm, with fellow ex-Marine Courtney Lynch.

A glimpse at the DNC schedule reveals a refreshingly multicultural Who's Who of Democrats who will grace the convention stage during these four days, from Aug. 25-28. Given that some 29 million small businesses are fueling the U.S. economy, it is both fitting and refreshing that small business be prominently represented during this truly democratic event -- subtitled "Americans Gathering to Change the Course of a Nation."

Indeed, it is prudent, thoughtful, pragmatic and compassionate leadership that's required in order to move our nation in a new and better direction, and the folks who assemble in Denver this week are at the core of making that happen. By week's end, a powerful duo -- i.e., Barack Obama and Joe Biden -- will be leading the charge toward achieving a better tomorrow for us all.

Besides co-founding their business, Morgan and Lynch also co-authored the best-selling Leading from the Front: No-Excuse Leadership Tactics for Women. The book tells of the Marine Corps leadership skills that enabled them to succeed in their post-military careers.

Like the Marines, the male-dominated business world requires special navigation techniques for women. This book reveals 10 key practices -- each with its own chapter -- that will help transform readers into respected and efficient leaders.

To track this week's Democratic National Convention coverage, go to PBS's Vote 2008 Election Connection.
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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Aug. 31 Marks 2008 Nike+ Human Race, the World’s Largest One-Day Running Event

On Aug. 31, 2008, GoodBiz113 ad partner NIKE Inc. will hold its Nike+ Human Race -- the world’s biggest one-day running event ever -- offering runners across the globe the chance to compete together. The 10k event will span multiple continents and cover 25 cities, including Los Angeles, New York, London, Madrid, Paris, Istanbul, Melbourne, Shanghai, São Paulo and Vancouver. Following races in each city, participants will be treated to an exclusive music concert featuring one of today’s top artists.

Runners everywhere can still join by visiting to “Save A Spot” in their city of choice. Runners outside of the 25 race cities can also still participate and run in their hometown by using Nike+. With Nike+ iPod and Nike+ Sport Band, runners can track their miles and sync.

“The Nike+ Human Race is about inspiring and connecting a million runners worldwide,” said Trevor Edwards, Nike Vice President for Brand and Category Management. “We’re offering runners new ways to compete and race on courses through legendary landmarks, each ending with a headlining musical act. It’s an unprecedented way for us to bring an entirely new running experience to consumers around the globe.”

Each city’s race will start on the same day, with the first race kicking off in Taipei and the last ending in Los Angeles. Race courses take runners by famous landmarks, such as the famed Los Angeles Coliseum, Taipei 101 [the world’s tallest building], Mexico City’s historic center, and the Puerta del Sol in Madrid. Istanbul’s race course will span the city’s famous Bosphorus Bridge, closing it to car traffic to literally allow participants to run from Europe to Asia, and back again.

Pre-race and race day activities will include top Nike athletes such as seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong in Austin, Texas; six-time marathon winner and current New York City Marathon champion Paula Radcliffe in London, England; Beijing gold medal hopeful Craig Mottram, attending in Melbourne, Australia; and Korea’s Yuna Kim, Grand Prix Final gold medalist in Seoul.

“Having just completed the Boston Marathon, I believe that running is one of the greatest expressions of human potential,” Armstrong said. “As a committed runner, I’m proud to be participating in the Nike+ Human Race and encourage runners of all levels to join the global running community through this event.” will be the official destination for the Nike+ Human Race and for all pre-race training needs. Here, runners can learn more about new training gear [e.g., the Nike Zoom Victory+, Nike’s latest performance training shoe featuring Flywire, its lightest and strongest new footwear construction technology], or stay motivated by checking out the latest Nike+ Sport Music offerings. Sport Music offers runners the best in original Training Run and Coaching Mixes, designed specifically for treadmill and road runs.

As part of the Nike+ Human Race, runners will be able to run for a cause to help support and give back to the global community, including the Lance Armstrong Foundation, The UN Refugee Agency, and WWF.

For more information on the Nike+ Human Race and a complete listing of race cities visit

NIKE Inc., based near Beaverton, Oregon, is the world's leading designer, marketer and distributor of authentic athletic footwear, apparel, equipment and accessories for a wide variety of sports and fitness activities. Wholly owned Nike subsidiaries include Converse Inc., which designs, markets and distributes athletic footwear, apparel and accessories; Cole Haan Holdings Incorporated, which designs, markets and distributes luxury shoes, handbags, accessories and coats; Umbro Ltd., a leading United Kingdom-based global football [soccer] brand; and Hurley International LLC, which designs, markets and distributes action sports and youth lifestyle footwear, apparel and accessories. For more information, visit


Tune your run. Get connected to your running experience with Nike + iPod!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Congressional Budget Office Report: Billions of Taxpayer Dollars Go to Contractors in 'Unprecedented Level of Dependence on Private Firms' in Iraq

According to a new Congressional Budget Office report, one in every five dollars devoted to Iraq has gone to private contractors, who now have more people in Iraq than the U.S. military does. [The accompanying graphic depicts U.S. government obligations for contracts in the Iraq theater -- in billions of dollars.] The New York Times describes this as "a second, private, whose roles and missions and even casualties among its work force have largely been hidden from public view."

As chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Sen. Norm Coleman failed to hold a single hearing on the waste, fraud, and abuse that sabotaged the reconstruction of Iraq.

"Whenever Norm Coleman is put in charge of Minnesota tax dollars, you can be sure there are corporate special interests getting a big payday," declared Al Franken, Democratic challenger for the U.S. Senate seat that Coleman has held since 2003. "But it's simply unconscionable that he allowed our troops to be put at risk, just so that his cronies could cash in. Instead of being a watchdog, Norm Coleman was a lapdog – and, every day, we learn more about the cost of his inaction."

The New York Times reports: "The United States this year will have spent $100 billion on contractors in Iraq since the invasion in 2003, a milestone that reflects the Bush administration's unprecedented level of dependence on private firms for help in the war, according to a government report to be released Tuesday [Aug. 12, 2008].

"The Pentagon's reliance on outside contractors in Iraq is proportionately far larger than in any previous conflict, and it has fueled charges that this outsourcing has led to overbilling, fraud and shoddy and unsafe work that has endangered and even killed American troops."

A defense contracting expert, Peter Singer, noted, "We have just handed over functions to contractors in a very haphazard way."

And Sen. Byron Dorgan [D-N.D.] said what Al Franken has been saying for years: "It's unfathomable to me that we don't have a bipartisan investigative committee on contracting in Iraq."

This, like so many other Tales from the Oversight-Free Zone, took place while Chairman Coleman, who accepted campaign contributions from Halliburton -- described as "the largest Pentagon contractor in Iraq" -- sat idly by.

Coleman Took $4,000 From Halliburton's PAC
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, in 2001 and 2002, Coleman's U.S. Senate campaign accepted four $1,000 contributions from Halliburton's political action committee. Hmm-m-m...

GoodBiz113's take: As any small-business subcontractor can attest, trying to do business with a federal agency can be challenging -- even to score a five- or six-figure deal. The multimillion- and multibillion-dollar no-bid contracts that the Bush administration has awarded Halliburton, Blackwater and other prime contractors is, point-blank, deplorable. It's time for a changing of the political guard -- in Congress and the White House -- to get our country back on a fiscally accountable, transparent and prosperous track for all.

SOURCES: Center for Responsive Politics, Congressional Budget Office, New York Times

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Franken Frames U.S. Senate Race at Farmfest Debate

As today's three-day 27th Annual Farmfest kicked off at the Gilfillan Estate in Redwood County, Minn., U.S. Senate challenger Al Franken took on incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman [D-Minn.] during their first debate of the general election.

During the course of the debate, Franken effectively framed the race while making his case that Minnesotans need a senator who will stand up for them -- not the myriad special interests with which Coleman has been linked. The upshot: Franken's strong performance demonstrated that he's ready to bring change to Washington as a United States Senator.

"Al Franken kept this debate focused on the issues -- the economy, energy prices, farm policy -- and on Norm Coleman's record of selling out the middle class," said Andy Barr, communications director of the Franken campaign. "That's how Al won the debate, and that's how we'll win this election."

Franken discussed his vision to create new opportunities in Greater Minnesota by supporting our family farmers, revitalizing rural Minnesota, and investing in education, health care, R&D, and infrastructure. Franken believes farming is vital to Minnesota and to the country's well-being. He highlighted the need to strengthen the middle class and change the broken system in Washington.

Franken also effectively used the debate as an opportunity to hold Norm Coleman accountable for his record of backing George W. Bush, putting special interests ahead of Minnesotans, and supporting Big Oil.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Coleman has received more contributions from the oil and gas industry than any other senator in Minnesota history. Coleman has taken at least $244,900 from the oil and gas industry since 2002 -- over $60,000 more than the next senator, Rod Grams.

Coleman Has Supported President Bush Almost 90% of the Time
On June 29, 2008, shortly after interviewing Sen. Coleman, award-winning WCCO-TV reporter and Sunday morning news anchor Esme Murphy spoke on-air with Larry Jacobs, a University of Minnesota professor and esteemed political analyst.

"Let's talk about the campaign ad I mentioned, in which the senator's wife brings up the point that a lot of people think that he is a rubber stamp for the Bush administration," said Murphy. "If you look at the record, definitely for the first four years, he was. I mean, he really did vote with the president. In the past two years, he has clearly distanced himself."

Want proof? Check out CQ Vote Studies, a service provided by Congressional Quarterly's On the site's "Bush Era Scores" chart, one can see that, during his time in office, Norm Coleman has supported President Bush an average of 83% of the time -- including a whopping 98% of the time in 2003, his first year in the Senate.

Rubber stamper? You decide.

GoodBiz113's take: U.S. small businesses fuel nearly 75% of our nation's economy -- and family farmers play no small part in that. Al Franken's common-sense proposals are good for all small businesses -- including farmers -- and for America as a whole.

SOURCES: Al Franken for U.S. Senate, Center for Responsive Politics, Congressional Quarterly, WCCO-TV

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Friday, August 01, 2008

Sens. Kerry, Snowe Press SBA on Energy Efficiency to Ease Crisis

Yesterday, Sens. John F. Kerry [D-Mass.] and Olympia J. Snowe [R-Maine] urged the Small Business Administration to implement several energy initiatives aimed at helping small businesses through the current energy crisis. With rising energy prices topping the list of concerns of small-business owners, the senators requested that the SBA redouble their efforts to implement programs passed as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

“Small businesses are hurting, and the SBA can help alleviate the strain of the current energy crisis,” said Kerry. “Small businesses account for more than half of our fuel consumption, and we should give them the tools to become more energy-efficient -- whether it's loans to purchase renewable energy systems, or effective telecommuting programs. Every drop of oil or kilowatt of electricity saved is more money in a company’s bottom line.”

“With over three quarters of small-business owners reporting an inability to cope with exorbitant energy prices,” Snowe noted, “it is vital that the SBA swiftly implement the provisions that Chairman Kerry and I included in last year’s Energy Independence and Security Act.”

“The SBA has the opportunity and the responsibility to play a leading role in combating climate change and curbing skyrocketing energy prices. I hope that the SBA will fully implement the critical provisions to make loans for energy-efficiency improvements, promote small-business energy audits, and establish a priority for energy-efficiency projects under the Small Business Innovation Research program. With energy prices where they are today, the SBA cannot afford to drag its feet and stand by while the American economy suffers.”

In a July 31st letter, Sens. Kerry and Snowe, chairman and ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, respectively, called on Acting SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza [pictured] to implement a number of initiatives passed as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which became public law 110-140 in December of 2007. Specifically, the bill calls for the SBA to develop and implement programs to do the following:

* Establish an energy clearinghouse program that works with the EPA’s Energy Star program to help educate small businesses on energy efficiency;

* Create a small-business energy-efficiency pilot grant program that would offer grants to Small Businesses Development Centers to conduct energy audits of small businesses and help them reduce their energy consumption;

* Encourage innovation in the field of energy efficiency by requiring federal agencies to give priority to SBIR/STTR program solicitations by small businesses that participate in, or conduct energy efficiency or renewable energy system research and development;

* Allows loans to be made through the SBA’s Express Loan program for the purpose of purchasing a renewable-energy system or financing of energy-efficiency projects;

* Establish a renewable-fuel capital investment company program designed to promote the research, development, production, and marketing of renewable energy resources;

* Initiate the small-business telecommuting pilot program, authorized in the Energy Bill, to provide information regarding telecommuting options to small-business owners and their employees.


Here's the full text of their letter:

July 31, 2008

The Honorable Jovita Carranza
Acting Administrator
U.S. Small Business Administration
409 Third Street, SW
Washington, D.C. 20416

Dear Acting Administrator Carranza:

There are nearly 26 million small businesses in this country, representing nearly 26 million business owners that are focused on keeping their doors open and putting food on the table for their families. The National Small Business Association’s recently released 2008 survey of small- and mid-sized business reported that spikes in energy costs have negatively impacted 77 percent of small-business owners.

In response to rising costs, 37 percent of businesses have increased their prices, 33 percent have reduced their business travel, 11 percent have cut their production schedule, and 10 percent have reduced their workforce. It is clear that, along with health-care costs and global competitiveness, energy prices are at the forefront of challenges confronting America’s small businesses.

In fact, according to a 2008 National Federation of Independent Business [NFIB] survey entitled, “Small Business Problems and Priorities,” NFIB members ranked the cost of natural gas, propane, gasoline, diesel and fuel oil as their second-greatest concern -- behind access to affordable health insurance -- with 42 percent of NFIB members surveyed indicating that this problem is “critical.”

As you may know, the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship recently held a hearing to examine the dramatic increase in home heating oil prices. This was the fourth hearing our Committee has held on rising energy prices this Congress. With gas prices in New England averaging over $4.00 per gallon, and heating oil prices approaching $5.00 per gallon, it is clear that we are facing an energy crisis where short and long-term solutions must be put on the front burner.

As Chairman and Ranking Member of this Committee, and as longstanding stewards of the environment, we firmly believe that small businesses should play a leading role in forging a solution to global climate change and rising energy prices. That is why we introduced small-business energy-efficiency legislation that was included as a title in the Energy Independence and Security Act [H.R. 6], which became public law on December 19, 2007. This title will not only help protect the environment by incentivizing small businesses to make a smaller carbon footprint, but will also significantly lower the energy costs for cash-strapped small businesses.

The SBA has had adequate time to review the small-business requirements included in this law and make plans for carrying them out. We request that the SBA provide the Committee a progress report on implementing these vital provisions. Please provide a list of concrete steps SBA has taken to implement these, as well as what specific steps you will take within the near future to complete implementation.

The small-business requirements contained in H.R. 6 include:

* Ensure that the SBA completes its requirements under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 [Sec. 1203]. Within 90 days of enactment, the SBA must complete all of its requirements under the Energy Policy Act, including setting up an Energy Clearinghouse that builds on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program. Has this program been fully implemented? What specific steps, in addition to establishing a website link, has SBA taken to complete these requirements? What furthers steps will SBA take on this matter?

* Create a Small Business Energy Efficiency Pilot Grant Program [Sec. 1203]. This pilot competitive grant program would be administered through the national network of Small Business Development Centers [SBDCs], which would provide energy audits to small businesses to enhance their energy-efficiency practices, as well as providing access to information and resources on energy-efficiency practices, including on-bill financing options. Has this program been fully implemented? Why or why not?

* Encourage Innovation in Energy Efficiency [Sec. 1203]. Federal agencies shall give priority to Small Business Innovation Research [SBIR] and Small Business Technology Transfer [STTR] program solicitations by small businesses that participate in, or conduct energy efficiency or renewable energy system research and development. SBA will issue guidelines to assist federal agencies and departments in determining whether priority has been given. Has SBA issued these guidelines yet? Why or why not?

* Allowing SBA Express Loans for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency [S. 1201: Clean Power Act of 2007]. The bill allows loans under the SBA’s Express Loan program to be made for purpose of purchasing a renewable-energy system, or financing an energy-efficiency project for an existing small business. How many small businesses have taken advantage of this key initiative? How can we increase the amount? How is the SBA conducting outreach of these loans?

* Establishes a Renewable Fuel Capital Investment Company program. The purposes of this Renewable Fuel Capital Investment Company are: 1] to promote the research, development, production and bringing to market of renewable energy sources; 2] establish a venture capital program to address the unmet investment needs of small businesses engaged in the production and distribution of renewable energy sources; and 3] to make grants to the Renewable Fuel Capital Investment Companies. Has this program been implemented? Why or why not? Please provide a detailed update on SBA’s specific actions to implement this program.

* Small Business Telecommuting. The bill instructed SBA to initiate a telecommuting pilot program to provide information regarding telecommuting to employers that are small-business concerns and to encourage such employers to offer telecommuting options to employees. Which regions have been selected, and what was this selection based upon? What steps have been taken thus far to implement the telecommuting program? Have their thus far been any success stories?

These vital provisions are even more necessary at this critical juncture, as there is no doubt that our country’s current rising gas and energy costs are hurting the competitiveness of America’s small businesses. With small businesses accounting for over half of our fuel consumption, this bill puts small businesses in the driver’s seat in the fight for a cleaner, greener future.

Through efforts to increase energy efficiency, small businesses can contribute to America’s energy security, help to combat global warming, and add to their bottom line all at the same time. Please provide the Committee with the information requested above within one month from the date of this letter. We believe that the SBA can play a significant role in assisting small businesses to become more energy-efficient, and implementing the requirements of this law is a crucial example.

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me or have a member of your staff contact Jeremy Marcus [Senator Kerry] or Alex Hecht [Senator Snowe] on the Senate Small Business Committee at [202] 224-5175.


John F. Kerry

Olympia J. Snowe
Ranking Member

GoodBiz113's take: The innovative initiatives proposed by Sens. Kerry and Snowe, and passed by Congress, promise to deliver far-reaching, win-win-win results for small businesses, the U.S. economy, and the environment. SBA needs to act swiftly to see that these bipartisan initiatives are fully enacted, post-haste, to help small businesses prosper and be good environmental stewards.

SOURCES:, Library of Congress, U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship

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