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Over the summer of 2010 I began to ask myself, "what do you do if two of our Rights, as citizens of these United States, are diametrically opposed?" I came to the only viable conclusion: you compromise. Our great Nation works when there is compromise.

Right now most of you will agree with me that our political system is broken. What we currently have is: the politics of destruction; special interest groups who have the power and money to dictate policy; politicians who must spend their time raising money for the next election instead of doing the People's business; and, there are those who are so concerned about getting re-elected they cede their responsibilities to the citizenry to those groups making the loudest noises and the greatest threats.

The attacks that we were inundated with during the this election cycle belittled the democratic process. Shame on everyone involved. And, shame on the political obstructionists who are more interested in gaining and maintaining power than doing the people’s business. During these very difficult times all of us should be supporting our President. The challenge for all of us is, how do we improve upon this imperfect union that we call the United States of America? One thing I know for is not by dividing us.

I can remember when I was sixteen years old there was a day when my father called out to me, "Jackie, come quickly. You have to hear this. It's Winston Churchill. Come listen." I raced to the radio and for the first time heard a recording of Churchill's speech to a Nation standing alone against the greatest evil the world has ever known: "...we shall defend our island no matter what the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; and we shall not surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until in God's good time, the New World, with all it's power and might, steps forth to the rescue and liberation of The Old."

That day my hero was born. Where are our heroes today? jkt

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Appalachia-What If?

Appalachia, comprised of the eastern and southeastern Ohio counties, ranks among the poorest parts of the state. I have lived there and have seen the abject poverty that plagues the region.

In July, Ann Curry of NBC News reported, "All across America, it is happening. People are hurting. For some, this economy may be turning around. But millions of families are at risk of going hungry in one of the richest nations on earth. The number of Americans visiting local food pantries has jumped 30 percent in the past two years alone. And here, in this rural region of Ohio, the very heart of America, the need is especially urgent...the stories poignant. Tonight, a very personal look inside the lives of families who’ve had it all vanish – jobs, homes, and dreams. How do you choose between paying your bills and feeding your kids?"

What If?

How many of us have called our phone company, our bank, or internet support and have ended up talking to someone in India? If companies can build and operate call centers thousands of miles away, why can't they build them in Appalachia? Business is conducted by telephone and computer. Call centers can be anywhere.

What if the State approached the companies that have outsourced American jobs to foreign countries with a proposal:

-The State of Ohio will build and operate educational/training centers in Southeastern Ohio to prepare Ohioans for employment in call centers. 
-The State of Ohio will build the infrastructure, as needed.
-The State of Ohio will provide tax incentives to any company building a call center in Appalchia.
-The State of Ohio will, on a sliding scale, subsidize employee income to offset the salary differential between wages paid to workers in Third World countries and those paid in the U.S,
-The State of Ohio will pay employee contributions to company-sponsored health insurance.
-The company will import temporary management to oversee operations, as needed, with the intention of eventually promoting exclusively from within.
-In return for incentives provided by the State, the company will agree to a long-term commitment to the area.

Call centers employ thousands of workers. Why not build them in Appalachia? We can spend our tax dollars on welfare, or food stamps, or medicaid or subsidized housing or we can build a foundation for the future of Appalachia.