Friday, April 30, 2010

April 30: Oprah Winfrey and Harpo Studios Mark First National 'No Phone Zone Day'

Today, Oprah Winfrey and Harpo Studios are taking a stand against distracted driving, launching a new public service announcement campaign, and joining forces with some of the country's pre-eminent transportation safety organizations to declare Friday, April 30, 2010, the first national "No Phone Zone Day."

A large-scale effort to honor victims of distracted driving, "No Phone Zone Day" will also educate and activate Americans to end the deadly driving habits that kill nearly 6,000 Americans a year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The announcement was initally made April 6 on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

"A call or text isn't worth taking a life," said Winfrey. "We must not allow more mothers and fathers, daughters and sons, sisters and brothers to die before we take action against distracted driving. Let's put a stop to it now, by joining together on April 30 for national 'No Phone Zone Day,' and by making our cars a 'No Phone Zone.'"

"I've made it my mission at the DOT to end distracted driving," said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. "We know that if we can get people to put away cell phones and other electronic devices when they are behind the wheel, we can save thousands of lives and prevent hundreds of thousands of injuries every year. That's why I'm proud to support and participate in Oprah's 'No Phone Zone Day.'"

Today, The Oprah Winfrey Show will present a special live episode devoted to ending distracted driving. In conjunction with the episode, Harpo Studios is mobilizing communities to take action at "No Phone Zone Day" viewing rallies to be held in Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

Oprah show partner stations -- WSB-TV Channel 2 in Atlanta, WCVB-TV Channel 5 in Boston, WXYZ Channel 7 in Detroit, KABC ABC7 in Los Angeles, and WJLA ABC7 in Washington, D.C. -- will support the rallies in their respective markets. The planned rallies will bring together victims' families, elected officials, advocacy organizations, parents, youth, and law enforcement to discuss best practices and steps to limit distracted driving in their own communities. In addition, a new "No Phone Zone" public service announcement campaign will be showcased on today's Oprah show.

A working coalition of transportation safety organizations will come together as part of "No Phone Zone Day" activities and viewing rallies across the country -- including LaHood and the U.S. Department of Transportation; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [NHTSA]; the Governors Highway Safety Association [GHSA]; the National Organizations for Youth Safety [NOYS]; FocusDriven; SADD [Students Against Destructive Decisions]; RADD, the Entertainment Industry's Voice for Road Safety; and more.

In addition, "No Phone Zone" corporate partners Sprint, General Motors/Chevrolet and Liberty Mutual will lend their support -- both for national "No Phone Zone Day" and in the coming months to spread the "No Phone Zone" message.

As a national call to action, all viewers and town hall participants will be asked to take the "No Phone Zone" pledge. By pledging, drivers agree to make their car a "No Phone Zone" and refrain from using their phone while driving, eliminating distractions from incoming calls, texts or e-mails.

To date, more than 160,000 people have signed Oprah's "No Phone Zone" pledge at Many celebrities have already joined the cause, including Oscar® winners Sandra Bullock, Jeff Bridges and Mo'Nique; comedian Jerry Seinfeld; actress and icon Raquel Welch; Olympic superstar Shaun White; country music's Lady Antebellum; entertainer and entrepreneur Tyler Perry; the cast of TV's Glee; plus many more.

A 2008 NHTSA study indicated that, at any given moment during the daylight hours, more than 800,000 vehicles are being driven by someone using a hand-held cell phone. According to a 2005 study for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety [IIHS], drivers are four times less likely to get into accidents serious enough to cause injury when they turn off their cell phones while behind the wheel.

For more information on "No Phone Zone Day," and to take the No Phone Zone pledge, please visit

For additional information on distracted driving, visit

About Harpo Studios
Harpo Studios is the home of Harpo Productions Inc., the most successful production company in daytime talk, producing the No. 1, award-winning The Oprah Winfrey Show and syndication's latest success, The Dr. Oz Show, as well as having developed Dr. Phil and Rachael Ray.

Harpo Productions creates and develops original TV programming for primetime, syndication and cable television, and operates, a premier lifestyle website. ZoCo Productions LLC, an affiliate of Harpo Productions Inc., and Sony Pictures Television co-produce The Dr. Oz Show.

Harpo Print LLC and Hearst Magazines publish the monthly O, The Oprah Magazine publication.

Harpo Films produces feature films and, through an exclusive deal with HBO, scripted television programming.

Harpo Radio Inc. produces Oprah Radio [XM channel 156, SIRIUS channel 195, as part of its "Best of XM" package] on SIRIUS XM Radio.

A joint venture between Oprah Winfrey and Discovery Communications, OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, a multi-platform company, will debut in January 2011 in approximately 80 million homes, on what is currently the Discovery Health Channel.

GoodBiz113's Take
Hooray for Oprah, to devote such significant broadcast time and creative resources in order to help get drivers to simply hang up their phones and focus on their task at hand: driving!

Has your company or organization signed Oprah's No Phone Zone pledge? If not, please do so now:

And then, of course, see that all of your personnel -- e.g., interns, sales reps, delivery persons, independent contractors, executives -- practice prudent, common-sense driving habits for the greater good.

Stay safe out there!


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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Rodrigue Releases Special-Edition 'Friend Me' Print to Mark 14,000-Fan Facebook Milestone

GoodBiz113 profilee George Rodrigue ["Louisiana Artist Brings Post-Katrina [Blue Dog] Relief to New Orleans"] has reached the 14,000-fan Facebook mark. Way to go, George!

To celebrate the occasion, the internationally renowned artist, author, social entrepreneur and philanthropist just released a special-edition, 500-print piece -- aptly titled "Friend Me" -- that's available online and for a limited time only. Each print is signed and numbered, measures 22 x 28 inches, and is priced at $500*. [*Subject to change without notice.]

To order your very own print, go to:

For information about the far-reaching George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts [GRFA], which supports youth development through art in education, please visit:

SOURCE: Rodrigue Studio

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Vice President Biden Kicks Off Earth Day Activities; 25 Communities Selected for Recovery Act 'Retrofit Ramp-Up' Energy-Efficiency Awards

Today, Vice President Joe Biden [pictured] kicks off five days of Administration events around the 40th anniversary of Earth Day with the announcement of the selection of 25 communities for up to $452 million in Recovery Act funding to "ramp-up" energy-efficiency building retrofits.

Under the Department of Energy’s Retrofit Ramp-Up initiative, communities, governments, private-sector companies and nonprofit organizations will work together on pioneering and innovative programs for concentrated and broad-based retrofits of neighborhoods and towns -- and, eventually, entire states. These partnerships will support large-scale retrofits and make energy efficiency accessible to hundreds of thousands of homeowners and businesses.

During the next three years, the models created through this program are expected to save households and businesses about a $100 million annually in utility bills -- all while leveraging private-sector resources -- to create what funding recipients estimate at about 30,000 jobs across the country.

"For 40 years, Earth Day has focused on transforming the way we use energy and reducing our dependence on fossil fuel," said Vice President Biden. "But this year, because of the historic clean-energy investments in the Recovery Act, we're poised to make greater strides than ever in building a nationwide clean-energy economy. This investment in some of the most innovative energy-efficiency projects across the country will not only help homeowners and businesses make cost-cutting retrofit improvements, but also create jobs right here in America."

"This initiative will help overcome the barriers to making energy efficiency easy and accessible to all – inconvenience, lack of information, and lack of financing,” said Energy Secretary Dr. Steven Chu. "Block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood, we will make our communities more energy-efficient and help families save money. At the same time, we’ll create thousands of jobs and strengthen our economy."

In addition to the $452 million Recovery Act investment, the 25 projects announced today will leverage an estimated $2.8 billion from other sources over the next three years to retrofit hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses across the country. Overall, the program funding was eight times oversubscribed, with more than $3.5 billion in applications received for the just over $450 million in Recovery Act funds available, indicating significant demand for investment in energy-saving and job-creating projects like these nationwide.

Grantees will employ innovative financing models to make these savings accessible; e.g., by offering low- and no interest loans that are repaid through property tax and utility bills. In implementing these projects, grantees will deliver verified energy savings and incorporate sustainable business models, to ensure that buildings will continue to be retrofitted after Recovery Act funds are spent. The Department will use the lessons learned from these pilot programs to develop best-practice guides to comprehensive retrofit programs that can be adopted and implemented by other communities across the country.

The Retrofit Ramp-Up projects, which are part of the overall $80 billion Recovery Act investment in clean energy and energy efficiency, complement the Obama Administration’s "Recovery Through Retrofit" initiative, which lays the groundwork for a self-sustaining and robust home energy-efficiency industry. The awards are the competitive portion of DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant [EECBG] Program, which was funded for the first time under the Recovery Act to help state, local, and tribal communities make strategic investments in improving energy efficiency, and reducing energy use and fossil fuel emissions.

Secretary Chu, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Carol Browner, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, joined Vice President Biden today for the announcement, which was the first of more than two dozen events and activities Administration officials will participate in and around Earth Day.

In addition to today’s event, President Barack Obama will host an Earth Day reception with environmental leaders on Thursday, April 22; a video message from the President will air as part of events on the National Mall on Sunday, April 25; and Administration officials will participate in educational programs with school children, visit wetland and coastal restoration projects, and participate in community service projects as part of the President’s Earth Day call to action.

The events will highlight some of the ways in which the Administration is working to improve the environment, transform American infrastructure for greater energy efficiency, and build a clean-energy economy that supports the jobs of the future. As part of the events, Administration officials will also continue the push for Congress to act on HOMESTAR legislation and comprehensive energy and climate change legislation that will ultimately benefit individual homeowners and small businesses alike.

A full roster of Administration Earth Day activities is below, and more information on the President’s Earth Day call to action is available at

The following governments and nonprofit organizations have been selected for Retrofit Ramp-Up awards. These projects are planned to begin in fall 2010. Final award amounts are subject to negotiation:

* Austin, Texas -- $10 million
* Boulder County, Colorado -- $25 million
* Camden, New Jersey -- $5 million
* Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning -- $25 million
* Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance, Ohio -- $17 million
* Greensboro, North Carolina -- $5 million
* Indianapolis, Indiana -- $10 million
* Kansas City, Missouri -- $20 million
* Los Angeles County, California -- $30 million
* Lowell, Massachusetts -- $5 million
* State of Maine -- $30 million
* State of Maryland -- $20 million
* State of Michigan -- $30 million
* State of Missouri - $5 million
* Omaha, Nebraska -- $10 million
* State of New Hampshire -- $10 million
* New York State Research and Development Authority -- $40 million
* Philadelphia, Pennsylvania -- $25 million
* Phoenix, Arizona -- $25 million
* Portland, Oregon -- $20 million
* San Antonio, Texas -- $10 million
* Seattle, Washington -- $20 million
* Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance -- $20 million
* Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, Ohio -- $15 million
* Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corporation -- $20 million

For more information on the selected projects, visit

A map of the selected projects is available at

* Residential and commercial buildings consume 40 percent of the energy and represent 40 percent of the carbon emissions in the United States. Building efficiency represents one of the easiest, most immediate and most cost-effective ways to reduce carbon emissions and save money on energy bills while creating new jobs.

* Existing techniques and technologies in energy-efficiency retrofitting can reduce energy use by up to 40 percent per home and lower total associated greenhouse gas emissions by up to 160 million metric tons annually.

* Residential and commercial retrofits also have the potential to cut energy bills by $40 billion annually.

Carol Browner, Director of Energy and Climate Change Policy
Thursday, April 22 @ 12:00 p.m. ET -- Live Web Chat
Carol Browner was the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under President Bill Clinton [the longest ever to hold that post], and currently serves as Director of the Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy. Tune in to the White House website to learn more about President Obama's efforts to build a clean-energy economy and protect our environment:

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar
Thursday, April 22 -- Washington, D.C.
Secretary Salazar will make remarks on the National Mall for Take a Child to Work/40th Anniversary Earth Day/Buddy the Bison Hike sponsored by the National Park Service. Five hundred local students will participate in the event.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke
Wednesday, April 21 -- Washington, D.C.
Secretary Locke will deliver keynote remarks at the Creating Climate Wealth Summit at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. He will address how energy reform can strengthen our security and spur economic growth.

Thursday, April 22 – Jersey City, N.J.
Secretary Locke will speak in Jersey City, N.J., at the Lincoln Park restoration project, that is turning a landfill into a healthy wetland. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA] funded this habitat restoration project through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act [ARRA].

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis
Thursday, April 22 – Online Web chat
On Thursday, Secretary Hilda L. Solis will host an interactive Web chat to discuss issues and opportunities related to Earth Day. Also on Thursday, the Department of Labor will issue a report detailing opportunities made available over the past year -- including $490 million in Recovery Act funding for green jobs training.

Friday, April 23 – Washington, D.C.
On Friday, a Job Corps ceremony will honor a winning Job Corps Center for their green construction project.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
Thursday, April 22 – Chicago, Ill.
Secretary Sebelius will hold an Earth Day health event with Housing and Urban Development Deputy Secretary Ron Sims at Roosevelt Gardens, a Chicago Housing Authority site.

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan
Thursday, April 22 – Washington, D.C.
Secretary Donovan will deliver remarks at the Earth Day Network’s 40th Anniversary of Earth Day rally on the National Mall. There, he will highlight the President’s Earth Day call to action and HUD’s efforts to develop more sustainable, inclusive neighborhoods -- all while increasing green-job and green-housing opportunities for families across the country.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood
Thursday, April 22, Secretary LaHood – Chicago, Ill.
Secretary LaHood will attend an Earth Day event at Daley Plaza. The event includes a school climate video competition for participating school groups, and will have alternative-fuel vehicles on display.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu
Thursday, April 22 -- Washington, D.C.
Secretary Chu will speak at an Earth Day celebration for Department of Energy employees.

Friday, April 23 – Philadelphia, Pa.
Secretary Chu will hold a clean-energy event that focuses on the benefits of energy efficiency.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan
Thursday April 22 – Washington, D.C.
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will deliver remarks at a ceremony commemorating the 40th anniversary of Earth Day at the National Mall in Washington. Secretary Duncan will discuss how education can play a role in developing a green economy.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson
Wednesday, April 21 – Pittsburgh, Pa.
Administrator Jackson will be in Pittsburgh for an ENERGY STAR® event with children from the Sarah Heinz House Boys and Girls Club. This is a club that provides children and teenagers with strong role models and a safe, fun place to go after school, on weekends, and during the summer.

Thursday, April 22 -- New York City
The Administrator will participate in an urban-focused community service project with Green For All at the Grant Houses Community Garden in Manhattan. Administrator Jackson will take a tour of the garden, deliver remarks to press, students and volunteers, and participate in a planting activity with volunteers. The Administrator will also be a guest on "The Late Show with David Letterman" to talk about the 40th anniversary of Earth Day and President Obama’s clean-energy and green-jobs agenda.

Friday, April 23 through Sunday, April 25 -- Washington, D.C.
To commemorate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, the EPA will be hosting a celebration event on Saturday and Sunday, April 24-25, on the National Mall. The event will feature a variety of interactive, family-friendly exhibits that highlight the work of the agency and celebrate its 40th anniversary this year. Administrator Jackson will appear on the National Mall on Friday to visit the Office of Research and Development’s P3 student participants and recognize winners. P3 is the next step beyond P2 -- pollution prevention -- and focuses on the three components of sustainability: people, prosperity, and the planet.

White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley
Sunday, April 25 – Washington, D.C.
Chair Sutley will deliver remarks at the Earth Day Network’s 40th Anniversary of Earth Day festivities on the National Mall. She will focus on the Obama Administration’s environmental agenda, and how the transition to a clean-energy economy can create millions of American jobs while reducing our dependence on foreign oil.

Acting Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler
Thursday, April 22 – Washington, D.C.
The Acting Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler will attend the Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division’s [ENRD] Earth Day 2010 event on April 22 at Marvin Gaye Park, where it has held its annual Earth Day service celebration since 2004. In those five years, the Division has been able to help the park purchase over $7,500 worth of trees and landscaping materials as part of the park revitalization event. ENRD has also devoted over 2,500 hours of employee time to planting trees, removing trash, laying sod, and gardening.

Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan and Agriculture Undersecretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager
Friday April 23 – Sussex County, Del.
Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan will travel to Delaware on Friday to participate in a groundbreaking ceremony for a project that will modernize water quality and public sanitation services in Sussex County through the upgrading of the Inland Bays Wastewater Treatment Facility.

Friday April 23 – Woodland Park, Col.
Agriculture Undersecretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager will travel to Woodland Park, Col., where he will participate in an event marking the use of Recovery Act funds to improve drinking water quality in a subdivision.

Commerce Department Senior Officials
Earth Day Week
From April 17 through 23, the Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA] leadership is holding events at Recovery Act coastal restoration projects in eight states. The events will highlight job creation in Huntington Beach, Cal.; Cape Hatteras, N.C.; Seattle, Wash.; Muskegon Lake, Mich.; Grande Isle, La.; Maunalua Bay, Hawaii; Jersey City, N.J.; and Florida Keys, Fl.

Office of Science and Technology Policy Director John Holdren
Thursday April 22 – Berkeley, Cal.
Office of Science and Techology Policy [OSTP] Director John P. Holdren will be in Berkeley, Cal., where he will give a free, public, evening lecture on the topic of: "Science and Technology for Sustainable Well-Being: Priorities and Policies in the Obama Administration," to be held in Sibley Auditorium in the Bechtel Engineering Center at the University of California, Berkeley.

Dr. Holdren will also note that April 22 marks not only the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, but also the 15th anniversary of a federal program that embodies the central principles of Earth Day: the Global Learning & Observations to Benefit the Environment, or GLOBE, program. Tomorrow, OSTP will release a new report that affirms the many benefits of that environmental education program -- launched on Earth Day 1995 -- and lays out a map for future accomplishments.

GLOBE is just one element in an array of programs and activities being supported by the Administration in the domain of environmental science and education. For more details about GLOBE, visit

Veterans Affairs Officials
Hospital directors and regional office directors will lead Earth Day events at VA health facilities across the country -- including Martinsburg, W.Va.; North Texas; Clarksburg, Va.; Saginaw, Mich.; Battle Creek, Mich.; San Diego, Cal.; Spokane, Wash.; Fresno, Cal.; Los Angeles, Cal.; Long Beach, Cal.; Reno, Nev.; Tucson, Ariz., Boise, Idaho; Menlo Park, Cal.; Palo Alto, Cal.; and Ft. Harrison, Mont.

Treasury Department Initiative
Earth Day Week
With Americans poised to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day this week, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced a broad, new initiative to dramatically increase the number of electronic transactions that involve Treasury, plus millions of citizens and businesses -- a move that is expected to save more than $400 million and 12 million pounds of paper in the first five years alone. Treasury will also make an announcement about a change in the Department’s energy consumption that, when coupled with the move from paper to electronic transactions, will greatly reduce Treasury’s environmental impact.

Earth Day Week – Washington, D.C.
NASA's participation in the celebration of Earth Day's 40th anniversary on the National Mall in Washington began on Saturday, April 17. The agency's involvement includes nine consecutive days of activities and exhibits open to the public. The NASA Village, which contains three domed tents, will highlight the use of NASA science and technology to advance knowledge and awareness about our planet and sustain our environment.

Thanks to President Obama's pivotal Recovery Act and his hand-picked Administration of innovative thought leaders and get-it-done men and women, America is finally beginning to turn the corner on far too many years -- eight, to be exact -- of environmental neglect.

With patience, pragmatism, and collaborative, can-do spirit and action, individuals, businesses, nonprofits and public agencies can sustainably prosper in this ecosystem called Earth.

Happy Earth Day, one and all!

SOURCES: Organizing for America, U.S. Department of Energy, The White House

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Motivator Brendon Burchard Targets Social Entrepreneurs and Small-Business Owners in His Latest YouTube Video, 'Success & Winning Streaks'

"Live fully. Love openly. Go out and make a difference." -- Brendon Burchard

This morning, one of GoodBiz113's favorite motivational authors/speakers/coaches -- Brendon Burchard [pictured], of "Life's Golden Ticket" fame -- posted a video on YouTube.

Titled "Success & Winning Streaks," Burchard's 10-minute coaching session effectively illustrates the steps that entrepreneurs and small-business owners need to take in order to win in their chosen market niche:

1. Hunger
2. Ownership/Accountability
3. Learning
4. Focus
5. Initiative/Massive Action
6. Collaboration
7. Accessibility
8. Mastery
9. Coaching
10. Gratitude

Neglect any of those 10 critical success steps, he says, and you're right back to Square One.

Invest fewer than 10 minutes now to seize upon this infectiously energetic young man's insightful and inspiring life/business lesson:

Experience "Life's Golden Ticket: An Inspirational Novel" for Yourself.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

President Obama Signs Extension for SBA-Backed Recovery Loans; Small-Business Recovery Act Lending Now Extended Through May

Late Thursday evening, President Barack Obama [pictured] signed legislation providing $80 million in additional funding to continue important enhancements in the U.S. Small Business Administration’s two key small-business loan programs.

The enhancements, first made available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act [ARRA], include a higher guarantee on some SBA-backed loans and small-business fee relief. The SBA estimates the $80 million will support about $2.8 billion in small-business lending under the 7[a] and 504 programs.

Administrator Mills Presses for Longer-Term Extension of Successful Programs
"Small businesses across the country have been able to secure critical financing as a result of the Recovery Act loan provisions and the continued interim funding we’ve received for the program," said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. "The increased guarantees and reduced fees on SBA loans have generated more than $25 billion in new loans to small-business owners and brought more than 1,200 lenders back to SBA loan programs.

"In fact, the first two quarters of the current fiscal year have been our best two opening quarters ever for the 7[a] program, with more than $7 billion in guaranteed loans. These programs have been successful in helping jump-start our economy, which is why we will continue to work with Congress on a longer-term extension of the increased guarantee and reduced fees.

“We also know that small businesses could greatly benefit from the additional tools the President has proposed -- including higher SBA loan limits and refinancing for commercial property mortgages, which could help thousands of small businesses avoid potential foreclosure. Small businesses need these improvements to ensure their access to the capital they need to drive economic growth and create jobs in communities all across the country."

As part of the Recovery Act, enacted on Feb. 17, 2009, SBA received $730 million to help small businesses -- including $375 million to increase the SBA guarantee on 7[a] loans to 90 percent, and to reduce borrower fees on most 7[a] and 504 loans. The funds for these programs were exhausted on Nov. 23, 2009, and an additional $125 million was provided in December. Those funds were exhausted in late February 2010, and an additional $60 million was subsequently provided. SBA was authorized for an additional $40 million in late March.

Under the new extension, SBA may continue to reduce loan fees in its 7[a] and 504 programs, and to provide higher guarantee levels on 7[a] loans through May 2010 -- or until the funds provided under the bill are exhausted.

This extension has no effect on the continued availability of financing under other SBA Recovery Act programs -- including SBA’s America’s Recovery Capital [ARC] loan program, and the agency’s Microloan program. Recovery Act funding still remains available for both of those programs.

For more information about SBA's efforts to promote far-reaching economic recovery, go to

SOURCES:, U.S. Small Business Administration

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Friday, April 16, 2010

Landrieu Praises Extension of Important Recovery Act Lending Provisions to Benefit Small Businesses

Late last evening, United States Senator Mary L. Landrieu [D-La., pictured], chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, commented on passage of the extension of several American Recovery and Reinvestment Act [ARRA] provisions that were set to expire on April 30, 2010. The extension provided $80 million to extend the higher guaranty for 7[a] loans, plus fee waivers for borrowers of 7[a] and 504 Small Business Administration [SBA] loans.

These measures complement recently enacted small-business tax incentives included in the HIRE Act -- such as the new-hire payroll tax exemption, and the extended section 179 small-business expensing provision. The Senate voted 59-38 to extend the provisions that eliminated borrower fees for small businesses looking to grow their companies through May 31, 2010.

"The Recovery Act provisions extended tonight will continue to free up credit for small businesses looking to expand, hire new workers or upgrade equipment," said Sen. Landrieu. "I applaud my colleagues in Congress for recognizing the success of these lending programs, and thank them for their continued support of small businesses across the country. Ranking Member Olympia Snowe [R-Maine] has shown her commitment to true bipartisanship for the good of small businesses still struggling to stay afloat.

"As we continue to support America’s entrepreneurs, we must continue to look at a longer-term extension of these provisions to continue this country’s small-business growth. The Small Business Committee has a package of proposals that have passed the Committee by wide, bipartisan margins, and we will continue to work on their inclusion in the next jobs bill debated by the Senate and urge their swift adoption."

SOURCES: Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, U.S. Small Business Administration

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

PBS Honors Earth Day With a Week of Eco-Friendly Programming, Educational Resources

On April 18, GoodBiz113 ad partner PBS begins counting down to the 40th anniversary of Earth Day with new and encore programming leading up to Thursday, April 22, 2010.

New programming next week includes:

* AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: "Earth Days" [4/19]. Director Robert Stone ["Oswald’s Ghost," "Guerrilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst"] traces the origins of the modern environmental movement through the eyes of nine Americans who propelled the movement from its beginnings in the 1950s, to its moment of triumph in 1970 with the original Earth Day and to its status as a major political force in America.

* INDEPENDENT LENS: "Dirt!" [4/20] takes an interesting look at dirt and how humans regard [or disregard] it.

* In P.O.V.: "Food, Inc." [4/21], filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation’s food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that’s been hidden from the American consumer.

Along with new programming, PBS is recycling some topical programs in celebration of Earth Day. NATURE offers an encore presentation of "Frogs: The Thin Green Line" [4/18], which profiles scientists who are racing to stop the massive die-off of frogs. NOVA examines California’s aggressive pursuit of a sustainable energy future in "The Big Energy Gamble" [4/20].

Thousands of hours of PBS programming are available on the PBS Video Portal. The Video Portal has released a special collection of Earth Day programming called Be Green. The collection features more than 30 new and encore programs at

PBS KIDS® also celebrates Earth Day with "PBS KIDS Share the Earth Day," featuring themed episodes and Web content on water conservation; planting and growing; nature; and recycling.

Beyond broadcast, PBS Teachers will host a webinar to discuss environmental curriculum and its effect on student health, attendance, learning, test scores and preparedness for green jobs.

PBS Teachers also offers an Earth Day Activity Pack for educators to use in the classroom, or to post on their classroom, school or favorite social networking websites. The Activity Pack is designed for multiple grade levels and contains links to Earth Day-themed education resources and activities from PBS to support environmental awareness.

The new PBS Teachers STEM Education Resource Center website contains science, technology, engineering and math educator resources, including an online video collection that explores some of its iconic STEM-related content for pre-K through grade 12 educators.

New Programming
* AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: "Earth Days" -- Monday, April 19, 2010, 9:00-11:00 p.m. ET; repeats Thursday, April 22, 9:00-11:00 p.m. ET. Director Robert Stone traces the origins of the modern environmental movement through the eyes of nine Americans who propelled the movement from its beginnings in the 1950s.

* INDEPENDENT LENS: "Dirt!" -- Tuesday, April 20, 2010, 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET. Farmers, physicists, church leaders, children, wine critics, anthropologists and activists talk about dirt -- where it comes from, how we regard [or disregard] it, how it sustains us, the way it has become endangered, and what we can do about it.

* P.O.V.: "Food, Inc." -- Wednesday, April 21, 2010, 9:00-10:30 p.m. ET. How much do we know about the food we buy at our local supermarkets and serve to our families? Though our food appears the same -- a tomato still looks like a tomato -- it has been radically transformed. In POV’s "Food, Inc.," producer-director Robert Kenner and investigative authors Eric Schlosser ["Fast Food Nation"] and Michael Pollan ["The Omnivore’s Dilemma"] lift the veil on the U.S. food industry, revealing surprising facts about what we eat, how it’s produced, who we have become as a nation, and where we may go from here.

Encore Programming
* NATURE: "Frogs: The Thin Green Line" -- Sunday, April, 18, 2010, 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET. Large-scale die-offs of frogs around the world have prompted scientists to take desperate measures to try to save whatever populations they can.

* NOVA: "The Big Energy Gamble" -- Tuesday, April 20, 2010, 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET. NOVA examines California’s aggressive pursuit of a sustainable energy future.

About PBS
PBS, with its 356 member stations, offers all Americans -- from every walk of life -- the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content.

Each month, PBS reaches more than 124 million people on-air and online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; hear diverse viewpoints; and take front-row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions.

Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. PBS’ premier children’s TV programming and website,, are parents’ and teachers’ most trusted partners in inspiring and nurturing curiosity and love of learning in children.

More information about PBS is available at, one of the leading dot-org websites on the Internet.


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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sens. Landrieu, Stabenow Join Small-Business Advocates to Discuss How Democrats Are Standing Up for Small Business and Creating Jobs

U.S. Senate Small Business Committee Chair Mary Landrieu [D-La.] and Democratic Steering Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow [D-Mich., pictured] joined Terry Gardiner, of Small Business Majority, and Frank Knapp Jr., president and CEO of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce, at a press conference this morning to discuss how Senate Democrats have cut taxes and invested in small businesses.

Democrats have worked to make it easier for small businesses to hire new workers and afford their expenses. The measures that Democrats have passed have the potential to create an additional one million jobs this year.

While Democrats are fighting for small businesses and the middle class, Republicans have fought to give tax breaks to rich CEOs who have shipped American jobs overseas. Senate Democrats remain committed to passing a small-business jobs package that will continue to bolster small businesses in the coming weeks.

"We hear time and time again that America’s 29 million small businesses are the backbone of our economy," said Sen. Landrieu. "These entrepreneurs are the ones that felt the economic downturn first and most directly, so it goes without saying that helping these Main Street businesses has been, and will continue to be, a priority for this Democratic Congress.

"After witnessing big businesses and Wall Street CEOs get bailouts and tax breaks, middle-class families and small businesses were left to fight the economic downturn alone. Congress had to respond. With the incentives Congress has put in place to aid this country’s entrepreneurs, small businesses can continue their work of creating jobs and putting this economy back on track to success.'

"Small businesses have been hit hard by the economic downturn and global credit crisis," Sen. Stabenow noted. "That’s why almost every major piece of legislation passed in this Congress has provided assistance to small businesses. We have provided tax cuts to help pay for the cost of health care, tax cuts so companies can invest in advanced manufacturing, and provided access to much-needed capital. Together, these incentives are supporting entrepreneurs across the country, which is critical to helping our economy and creating new jobs.”

"Small businesses have been hit especially hard by the recession," said Gardiner, a former 22-year commercial fisherman who now serves as Small Business Majority's national policy director. "Many pieces of legislation passed by this Congress -- including comprehensive health-care reform, tax credits to hire new workers, and tax incentives for renewable-energy businesses -- will go a long way in helping small businesses, and the economy, get back on track."

"We worked with Congress to lower taxes and make health care more affordable for small businesses," Knapp noted. "Before the new health-care law passed, 40 percent of our businesses with fewer than 50 employees could afford to offer the benefit to their employees. Now they [all] can.

"This new law is good for small businesses, and our organization will continue to look for ways to work with Congress to lower costs for small businesses."

To view the video of the press conference, go to:

SOURCES:, Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, U.S. Small Business Administration

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Friday, April 09, 2010

SBA Announces Changes to Small Business Procurement Scorecard Format

The U.S. Small Business Administration [SBA] just announced that it is revising the format of the annual Small Business Procurement Scorecard to provide more clarity and transparency on the federal government’s performance in meeting its small-business contracting goals. The revised scorecard will be based on an A through F letter grade system, as opposed to the previous red, yellow and green ratings.

"This revision to the Scorecard will provide greater clarity and transparency on how well each agency is doing in meeting its small-business prime contracting goals," said SBA Administrator Karen Mills [pictured]. "Federal contracts provide critical opportunities for small businesses to grow and create jobs. This revision builds on our ongoing efforts to strengthen the integrity of the overall process for small-business contracting, while also expanding opportunities for small businesses to compete for, and win, federal contracts.”

The revisions will appear when SBA issues its report later this year for federal contracting in fiscal year 2009. Over the past year, SBA has worked collaboratively with contracting and small-business officials to develop the new system. The revised methodology better reflects the unique needs of individual agencies, while maintaining a focus on achieving the statutory small-business contracting goals.

The overall small-business prime contracting goals have been established by Congress to ensure that small businesses get their fair share of federal contracts. The government-wide goal for prime contracts to small businesses is 23 percent of total qualified contract dollars -- with additional goals of five percent for small disadvantaged businesses [SDBs]; five percent for women-owned businesses [WOSBs]; three percent for HUBZone small businesses; and three percent for service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses [SDVOSBs].

SBA negotiates individual goals for each agency, while ensuring that, when combined, they meet the overall statutory goals for the federal government. SBA’s small-business procurement goal, for example, is 67.05 percent. While Scorecards will measure subcontracting activity, that information is not factored into the determination of whether the federal government meets the statutory small-business prime contracting goals.

The new Scorecard holistically assesses an agency’s entire small-business procurement performance. An agency’s overall grade will be comprised of three quantitative measures: prime contracts [80 percent], subcontracts [10 percent], and its progress plan for meeting goals [10 percent].

The letter grades for prime contracting and subcontracting will show an A+ for agencies that meet or exceed 120 percent of their goals; an A for those between 100 percent and 119 percent; a B for 90 to 99 percent; a C for 80 to 89 percent; a D for 70 to 79 percent; and an F for less than 70 percent.

In last year’s Scorecard rating performance for the FY 2008 contracting year, small businesses won 21.5 percent of contract dollars, or about $93.3 billion out of a small-business-eligible base of about $434 billion. More than half of all agencies met their individual goals. The small-business-eligible base for FY2009 was about $437 billion.

An example of the new Scorecard format can be accessed at

About SBA
The U.S. Small Business Administration [SBA] was created in 1953 as an independent agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small-business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise, and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation.

SBA recognizes that small business is critical to our economic recovery and strength -- to building America's future, and to helping the United States compete in today's global marketplace.

GoodBiz113's Take
Kudos to Administrator Mills and her team for overhauling SBA's Small Business Procurement Scorecard. From all appearances, the new system delivers more meaningful, at-a-glance information, and is infinitely superior to that used by the Bush administration -- which, despite its lip service to small businesses, was far more intent on awarding multibillion-dollar bundled contracts to its corporate buddies [e.g., Halliburton] than in helping small-business owners and entrepreneurs grow the U.S. economy.

Indeed, we've come a long way since Jan. 20, 2009. And things just keep getting better...

SOURCES: Acquisition Central, U.S. Small Business Administration

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Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Target Launches Recycling Stations in All Stores, Allowing Guests to Deposit Used Beverage Containers, Plastic Bags, Small Electronics and More

Today, GoodBiz113 ad partner Target® announced that it has just launched permanent community recycling stations in all of its 1,740 stores, to kick off a monthlong celebration of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. Throughout the month, the celebration also includes the launch of an online eco-boutique, where guests can find eco-friendly products and learn more about the company’s commitment to the environment; a monthlong sweepstakes; a reusable bag giveaway; and a unique Target circular.

Located at the front of each store, the recycling stations offer guests a convenient way to recycle aluminum, glass and plastic beverage containers, plastic bags, MP3 players, cell phones and ink cartridges. A full description of recyclables that are accepted is available at

"We know that eco-friendly living is top-of-mind for our guests, and the launch of store recycling stations allows us to continue to partner with them to curb unnecessary waste in our stores and our communities," said Shawn Gensch, vice president of brand marketing, Target. "Target is committed to the preservation of the environment, and to giving our guests eco-friendly options that will help them live more sustainably."

Target strives to be an environmental steward, taking a holistic approach to sustainability throughout its stores and operations. This includes building and maintaining energy-efficient stores; improving transportation operations; and carrying a variety of eco-friendly products at Target and online at

Other Ways in Which Target Is Celebrating Earth Month
* Launching an eco-boutique at, featuring downloadable coupons and eco-minded brands with products such as non-toxic cleaners, energy-saving appliances and products made of recycled materials.

* Sponsoring a monthlong "Drive Home Green" sweepstakes, featuring a grand prize of a 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid. Guests can enter for a chance to win on, or by sending a text message with the keyword "green" to the short code "Target" [827438].

* Giving away, with purchase, 1.5 million complimentary reusable shopping bags made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled PET bottles on Sunday, April 18, while supplies last.

* Distributing an innovative newspaper circular that allows guests the option to use a portion of the April 18 circular as an envelope to mail their plastic shopping bags to TerraCycle. In return, guests will receive a $1 coupon towards the purchase of a Target reusable bag priced at $1.49 or more.

* Continuing to encourage guests to use their reusable bags at checkout to receive a five-cent discount off their total purchase per reusable bag.

About Target®
Minneapolis-based Target Corporation [NYSE:TGT] serves guests at 1,740 stores in 49 states nationwide, and at Target is committed to providing a fun and convenient shopping experience, with access to unique and highly differentiated products at affordable prices.

Since 1946, the corporation has given five percent of its income through community grants and programs like Take Charge of Education. Today, that giving equals more than $3 million a week.

GoodBiz113's Take
While news abounds about greedy corporations that aim for short-term profits at any cost, it's refreshing when socially conscious companies like Target allocate resources for the greater long-term good. We're proud to have their innovative, dynamic and future-focused energy behind our publishing efforts.

SOURCE: Target Corporation

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Monday, April 05, 2010

SBA Offers Free Webinar Series to Help Small-Business Owners Get Fiscally Fit; Recognizes April as National Financial Literacy Month

April is the official National Financial Literacy Month, marking the importance of financial literacy to teach how to establish and maintain healthy financial habits.

In recognition of this month's efforts to promote financial education, the U.S. Small Business Administration will host a free webinar series targeted to small-business owners. Events will be held at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. [ET] on Wednesdays -- April 7, April 14 and April 21.

Topics will highlight the importance of financial education, and offer the opportunity to learn practical money skills and financial wellness. To hone financial skills for today's business world, participants will learn basic money management and wealth-building skills from some of the industry's top leaders in financial education and entrepreneurship.

Webinar Presenters & Topics
Becky MacDicken, Financial Education Specialist
Pennsylvania Office of Financial Education
Topic: The Importance of Financial Education in the Workplace
Wednesday, April 7 at 11:00 a.m. [ET]

Luke Reynolds, Chief of the Outreach & Program Development Section
Division of Supervision and Consumer Protection
Community Affairs Branch
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation [FDIC]
Topic: Basic Banking/Financial Tips for Small Business
Wednesday, April 7 at 3:00 p.m. [ET]

Jennifer Matthews, President and CEO
Creating Financial Literacy, LLC
Topic: Spring is Here! Planting Seeds to Grow Your Own Money Tree
Wednesday, April 14 at 11:00 a.m. [ET]

Starrlese Jones, Financial Management Specialist
Division of Financial Integrity, Office of Federal Assistance Management
Health Resources and Services Administration [HRSA]
Department of Health & Human Services [HHS]
Topic: Your Money, Your Choice$, Your Future
Wednesday, April 14 at 3:00 p.m. [ET]

Jennifer Lane, Certified Financial Planner [pictured above]
Compass Planning Associates
Topic: Personal and Business Money Management
Wednesday, April 21 at 11:00 a.m. [ET]

Margo Mitchell
National Foundation for Credit Counseling
Topic: Identity Theft
Wednesday, April 21 at 3:00 p.m. [ET]

Free Webinar Access Is Yours
For free visual and audio access to each webinar event, go to Click "Join a Meeting" and enter access code 3761101. Then, dial 866-740-1260 and enter access code 3761101 [plus the # key].

System Requirements: Windows, Mac, Linux and Solaris operating systems. Internet Explorer, Safari and Firefox Web browsers. Separate telephone line needed for the audio portion.

SOURCE: U.S. Small Business Administration

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Saturday, April 03, 2010

Sen. Landrieu: Economy Improving, But More Help Is Needed for America's Small Businesses

Late yesterday, just hours after the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that approximately 162,000 Americans were put back to work in the month of March, United States Senator Mary L. Landrieu [D-La., pictured], chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, issued the following statement:

"Last month, approximately 162,000 Americans were put back to work -- a sign that the measures Congress is taking to improve the economic climate are working," said Landrieu. "While I am encouraged by the number of jobs that were created, there is still much work to be done to support the nation's small businesses and those Americans still out of work.

"To build on the successful recovery loan initiatives -- higher guarantees and fee waivers on borrowers of Small Business Administration loans -- I urge my colleagues in the Senate to work to adopt the provisions coming out of the Small Business Committee. With small business accounting for 65 percent of all new jobs, these proposals are aimed at creating jobs and spurring small-business growth, and have passed this Committee with bipartisan support."

Sen. Landrieu has proposed five measures to be included in the next jobs bill to be debated on the Senate floor. The measures include:

* Small Business Job Creation and Access to Capital Act of 2009 [S. 2869]: Raises the cap on small-business loans to increase lending by $5 billion the first year, and refinances commercial real estate debt into long-term, fixed-rate loans -- provisions that are expected to be budget neutral and could create/save 200,000 jobs;

* Small Business Export Enhancement and International Trade Act of 2009 [S.2862]: Boosts small businesses’ exporting potential by improving access to loans, counseling programs and coordination of existing federal export assistance resources, while injecting more than $1 billion in capital for small businesses and saving/creating as many as 50,000 jobs;

* Small Business Contracting Revitalization Act of 2010 [S. 2989]: Removes the red tape and closes loopholes that too often put government work into the hands of multinational corporations instead of Main Street businesses. Increasing contracts to small businesses by just 1 percent can create more than 100,000 jobs;

* Small Business Community Partner Relief Act of 2010 [S. 3165]: Strengthens SBA women’s business and microloan programs to ensure they have the funds and manpower needed to be successful resource partners and help small-business owners get the assistance they need; and

* SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2009 [S. 1233]: Encourages small businesses to develop new technologies in fields from health care and defense, to clean energy. These competitive grants are the largest source of federal R&D funding for small, high-tech firms. Twenty-percent of SBIR participants say they started their company in part because of a prospective SBIR award, creating thousands of jobs.

This week, Sen. Landrieu sent a letter to her Senate colleagues requesting their support for this legislation. To view a copy of the letter, please go to:

Detailed information on each proposal can be found here:

SOURCES:, U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship
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Friday, April 02, 2010

Labor Department Reports That U.S. Added 162,000 Jobs in March; President Obama Tells N.C. Clean-Energy Workers, 'We Are Beginning to Turn the Corner'

This morning, the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the nation added jobs at the fastest pace in three years last month as factories, stores, hospitals and Census 2010 all brought workers on board -- the surest sign yet that the worst employment market in a generation has finally snapped back.

The unemployment rate stayed at 9.7 percent for the third month in a row. Overall, the economy added a total of 162,000 jobs for the month, including 123,000 jobs added by the private sector -- the most since May 2007. Approximately one-third of the gains came from Census 2010, with much more to come: About 700,000 head-counters will be hired to tally the nation's population this spring.

Later, President Barack Obama travelled to Charlotte, N.C., where he visited the global headquarters of Celgard LLC, a relatively small manufacturing company that is benefiting from the Recovery Act investments towards clean energy. Celgard develops and produces specialty microporous membranes for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, and is at the frontier of our clean-energy economy -- and the frontier of recovery.

There, the President [pictured above, with Celgard employees, executives and guests] delivered remarks about the current state of the economy and job growth, noting that the economy created 162,000 new jobs created in March, instead of losing them -- "the best news we’ve seen on the job front in more than two years."

He warned that, while the economy appears to be picking up, there is still a lot of work to be done. "Economic statistics don’t do justice to the pain and anxiety that results from unemployment," said Obama. "Lasting unemployment takes a toll on families, takes a toll on marriages, takes a toll on children. It saps the vitality of communities, especially in places that have seen factories and other anchoring businesses shut their doors. And being unable to find work -- being able to provide for your family -- that doesn’t just affect your economic security, that affects your heart and your soul. It beats you up. It’s hard.

"So we have to be mindful that today’s job numbers, while welcome, leaves us with a lot more work to do. It will take time to achieve the strong and sustained job growth that we need."

The President noted that the private sector is the "true engine of job growth in this country," and that, while the government "can’t reverse the toll of this recession overnight," it can help to spur job growth by providing incentives for companies to begin hiring again.

The President recently signed the HIRE Act, a jobs bill that provides tax cuts for businesses that hire new employees, and makes investments in clean energy and schools to encourage job creation. He talked about the Recovery Act, which made significant investments in infrastructure, helping to create private-sector jobs.

President Obama also explained that Celgard LLC received a $50 million grant through the Recovery Act to expand the facility and lead in the clean energy sector, and that this story is being repeated all over the country.

"So here’s the bottom line," said Obama. "This investment is expected to create nearly 300 jobs for this company, more than a thousand jobs for your contractors and suppliers -- and these are all jobs helping America build the batteries that will power cleaner and more efficient cars and trucks. And through investments like this one across the country, we’re already seeing an incredible transformation.

"Here’s an interesting statistic: Before the Recovery Act, before I took office, we had the capacity to make less than two percent of the world’s lithium-ion batteries -- less than two percent. In the next five years, on the trajectory that we’re now on, we’re going to be able to make 40 percent of the advanced batteries right here in the United States of America. Right here.

"So the next time somebody asks you, when you’re at the grocery store, well, what did this Recovery Act do? You can tell them, one of the things it helped do is to expand and catalyze an entire new industry, where the United States of America can gain enormous market share across the globe.

"And that’s the kind of strategy we need -- helping the private sector thrive in entirely new industries, the industries of the future. It’s a strategy that will not only create jobs in the near term, but also sustained growth and opportunity in the long run."

To read the entire text of President Obama's remarks, go to:

To learn more about the benefits of the Recovery Act, visit:

GoodBiz113's Take
No one, even in their far-right mind, could possibly argue against job growth being a good thing. And the fact that small, innovative and sustainable companies like Celgard are helping to power our economy forward, is even better.

SOURCES: Bureau of Labor Statistics,, The White House [official photo by Pete Souza]

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