Mick Fleming on Wednesday, June 30, 2010 at 11:16:18 am 

Happy Holiday to everyone on the Mick Met roster, as well as those tuning into my BLOG.   Short story.

Due to a weird set of circumstances, I was in Istanbul on the 4th of July in 2007.  There was a party put on by the American consulate at her offices (fortress) during which I was talking to a group of local business people.  One guy, who I was later told runs a huge international company, took the opportunity to tell me how much he loved the US, but how vehemently he hated the President.  He held forth for a while and then said he felt it was the duty of any citizen -- "and especially someone in a position of power like you (I let that go), to try to overthrow a leader causing so much pain and embarrassment in the world and his own nation. In good conscience, you can't support that government."  When he finally took a breath in his soliloquy I said: "Well, Sir, I am a patriot."  It's probably the only time I ever will get to say that phrase and I sure don't want to spend another hour at a cocktail party explaining the baffling American system of executive branch succession.  Looking back at it, it seems corny that I would say such a thing, but I meant the words on that Independence Day.  As much as I openly groan about things going on in our country, I still do.  Have a good holiday.

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DISCLOSE Act Reaches House Floor

Ian Scott on Thursday, June 24, 2010 at 2:46:26 pm 

Despite concern from some Democrats, the DISCLOSE Act passed the House Rules Committee yesterday and is currently on the House floor where it may face a vote as early as today.

I'm sure many Policy Clearinghouse Blog readers have been tracking the DISCLOSE - "Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections" - Act (also called the Schumer-Van Hollen Bill).  In case you haven't, here is a brief recap of the bill's key points:

  • CEOs of organizations sponsoring a political ad must appear on screen to “stand by their ad,” and in cases where money is funneled to an association, the top five organizations that have donated to the group would also have to be identified on screen during any ad.
  • Organizations must disclose donations for political activities that exceed $1,000.
  • Government contractors, or companies that received bailout funds from the federal government, are barred from political speech.

For more on the potential ramification of this bill and late breaking updates, check out the US Chamber's Blog -

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Federal Judge Rules Against Drilling Ban

Ian Scott on Tuesday, June 22, 2010 at 6:17:54 pm 

A federal judge in the US District Court in New Orleans has overturned the Obama administration's moratorium on offshore drilling.  In his ruling Judge Feldman wrote:

''What seems clear is that the federal government has been pressed by what happened on the Deepwater Horizon into an otherwise sweeping confirmation that all Gulf deepwater drilling activities put us all in a universal threat of irreparable harm.''

While legal wrangling over this issue is not over (the White House has already promised an appeal), the ruling will come as welcomed news to many chambers in Louisiana.  A dozen chambers have signed on with other business and government groups in the state to form the Gulf Economic Survial Team (GEST).  The group's initial primary focus is to oppose the moratorium which, economic studies indicate, will kill thousands of well paying jobs in communities across the state.

Click here to read more about the ruling.

Click to learn more about the Gulf Economic Survival Team (GEST). 

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Louisiana Chambers Oppose Drilling Moratorium

Ian Scott on Thursday, June 17, 2010 at 3:01:40 pm 

Working in coordination with Gov. Bobby Jindal and local elected leaders, dozens of chambers in Louisiana have formed the Gulf Economic Survival Team (GEST).  Their primary goal is to urge the Obama Administration to rescind the six month moratorium on offshore drilling at depths greater than 500 feet.  They contend that the drilling moratorium will cost the region thousands of jobs and impact the economy for years to come.

Chambers in Louisiana, spearheaded by Drake Pothier from the Houma-Terrebonne Chamber, have joined in opposition to the drilling moratorium because they know it spells economic disaster for their region.  They request support from chamber colleagues across the country to oppose the drilling moratorium.  Find information at the links below:

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Green Plus Chamber Award Finalists Announced

Ian Scott on Friday, June 11, 2010 at 3:47:51 pm 

Partners for Livable Communities (PLC) and the Institute for Sustainable Development have announced five finalists for the 2010 Green Plus Chamber of Commerce Award.  The finalists are:

  • Greater Cleveland (OH) Partnership / Council on Smaller Enterprises for their extensive array of educational, technical assistance and incentive programs to help members become more sustainable, especially in the area of energy efficiency.
  • St. Louis (MO) Regional Chamber and Growth Association for leadership in the creation of the Climate Prosperity Project, a national effort to help chambers around the nation understand how conservation, efficiency and innovation can catalyze job creation.
  • Greater Syracuse (NY) Chamber of Commerce for creation of the Clean Tech Center, a clean energy business incubator, to catalyze economic development in its region.
  • Greater Waco TX) Chamber of Commerce for building what is believed to be the first LEED Gold certified chamber office building and developing green education programs for its business members.
  • North Myrtle Beach (SC) Chamber of Commerce for its work to make its region not only a major provider of wind power, but also a leading manufacturer of wind energy parts

"Business leadership is critical in the effort to create a stronger economy - one that is not only more competitive, but which complements healthier and more environmentally sound communities," said Chris Carmody, Executive Director of the Institute for Sustainable Development. "These finalists exemplify what we believe is the best leadership in the chamber of commerce community in advancing a truly sustainable economy." 

The award winner will be announced on June 18th at the Green Plus North American Sustainable Enterprise Awards in Research Triangle Park, NC.  Click here for more info.

For more information on chamber led green economy programs check out: The Dollars and Sense of Green Business: Chambers of Commerce as the New Champions of a Green Economy

This report from Partners for Liveable Communities showcases the innovation and leadership of 22 chambers of commerce that have employed creative new green business programs that not only enhance the regional economy, but also help reverse the effects of environmental degradation.  This report is a follow up to Partners' 2009 study - The Economics of Sustainability.

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Health Care Reform Resource

Ian Scott on Thursday, June 10, 2010 at 3:50:05 pm 

COSEHealthcareReformBookletv12%20CZ If you are still trying to make sense of what health care reform means for your small business members, I strongly suggest that you check out the Council of Smaller Enterprise's Health Care Reform Game Plan.

This online brochure that Steve Millard and his team at COSE have put together provides a straightforward, concise overview of the 2010 Health Care Reform legislation, complete with definitions and action steps.  The legislation roll-out time line on pages 3-4 is particularly helpful.

Click here to access the report.

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Unthinkable? Nah.

Mick Fleming on Sunday, June 6, 2010 at 11:46:58 am 

After a week off the road, I'm off to CT at the end of this week.  While the trip is not to Hartford, I hope to see how our friend and board member (on leave) Oz Griebel is doing in his bid to become Governor.  He's giving it a good run for the Republican nomination.  Go Oz!

There was a story in the Washington Post today about the "unthinkable" becoming almost-routine reality in recent years -- monster earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, floods of biblical proportions, scandals involving iconic political, sports and entertainment "heroes," state deficits unmendable and, of course man-made disasters so terrible that the impact (short- and long-term seems nearly nuclear.  Unthinkable political alliances.  Unthinkable corporate mergers of competitors.  Unthinkable swings in Wall Street fortunes.  The loss of an unthinkably large chamber sponsor.  Unthinkable global interconnectivity causing every unthinkable thing in every place to be OUR thing.

When I get to CT for my visit, just as during my recent meetings in Texas, Georgia, California and Kansas, I expect to find the audience questions and side conversations to be focused not only on these mega matters, but also on the crises people in one region and each town are facing.  Mostly, I expect to hear how they're handling them.  That's what chamber people do -- they handle it.  Whatever it is, they deal with it the best they possibly can for their members and communities.  They (you) don't get to gasp and feel your belly drop out from under you when you hear about these unthinkable things.  You've got work to do.  Unthinkable?  Nah!

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