Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Fat Tuesday Mash Up

It's Fat Tuesday and the4 statewide icing is not making the "good times roll!" However, as folks slip slide away to their various destinations, this forum will skate our way through a mash up of the latest news making items and just plain old stuff. Let's not waste a moment as our COP 24/7 Fat Tuesday float comes on through...

Crazy Button Alert: The Mind of Jason Rapert is Loose...Again

With the recent sweep of Republicans into the statehouse, COP 24/7 started circling the wagons as our thoughts of "what could happen," went into overdrive. And just as we suspected, the "cray, cray" of the party has gone buck wild! Let's not forget those city ordinance and religious bills that have bee ushered without much opposition to be presented to the Gov. Hutchinson.

Who in turn has taken that, "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil," approach to possibly allowing the measures to become law without his pen stroke. Then if we can't be dealing with that madness, then we have none other than Jason Rapert talks out loud about "nuking Isis," Just for the record, here's exactly what has gone viral around the world no less.

"With ISIS spreading all over the Middle East and Africa and Islamic Extremists carrying out violence in Europe, The United Kingdom and even in the United States, I wonder why the civilized world just sits by when we have weapons that could wipe out these barbarians where they are concentrated? I believe it is time to annihilate the strongholds and pursue the rest till we have them all captured or killed. A strategically placed nuclear weapon would save the lives of our soldiers and quickly turn things around. It is time for the insanity to be stopped."
So just how do you "strategically place" a nuke to kill just the right people is beyond me. Hey Rapert did you not see any footage from Hiroshima or Nagasaki?  Of course we all are outraged at the savagery of these extremist and abhor their wrapping their murderous messages in the name of Islam. All of that is disgustingly sickening for all Americans who share the grief of those families who lost their loved ones to these thugs. Yet, Mr. Rapert, we can't go about the world literally "nuking" anyone and everywhere no matter the intensity. We can't kill out a zealot mindset such as these folks by raising "mushroom" clouds over those who are just as hopeful for an end to their horror and craven misuse of religion. Come on  Rapert, we are already on blast for the rest of the crazy, let's not add more fuel to the "they are crazy down their in Arkansas," fire.

More Calls to Action!!!

COP 24/7 has been on the forefront of calling folks to action and we ask your assistance with a sign-on letter to the Rehabilitation Services Administration for support across HIV and other policy and services communities concerned about employment and vocational rehabilitation services. We encourage those responding to sign-on, or with questions, to contact directly at markmisrok@workingpositive.netSign-ons are requested by Friday, February 20.

The National Working Positive Coalition is partnering with the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR) to advocate for the regulations now being developed to implement the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) to maintain standards for a qualified and effective vocational rehabilitation counseling workforce.

Many people living with HIV, and other disabilities, need to be able to access effective vocational rehabilitation services to achieve their goals for employment. The state-federal vocational rehabilitation services system is the most comprehensive employment resource for people with disabilities. Services include access to benefits counseling, comprehensive rehabilitation evaluation to determine skills, interests, and abilities, as well as case management, vocational counseling, employment services, assistance with finding and keeping a job, and on the job and other training/education.
Although these services are available here in Arkansas, many living with HIV or other health disparities have not fully engaged their availability. Also many are not updated on disability laws in which individuals are allowed to be employed to a maximum.
The rules regarding working while collecting disability benefits are too complicated to give in one short article. The Social Security website at ssa.gov has a wealth of information about working while collecting benefits:
  • Working While Disabled at http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10095.html
  • 2002 Red Book on Employment Support at http://www.ssa.gov/...redbook.pdf
    Rehabilitation counselors can also authorize medical referrals, job training, and supportive rehabilitation services, including mental health counseling, if these services will remove barriers to employment. Individuals with disabilities, including people living with HIV, often face significant barriers to employment including dealing with complex medical and psychological aspects of their diagnosis as well as social, educational, financial, legal, and vocational factors that can limit their ability to achieve viable employment outcomes that ensure continued access to care and improved economic and health outcomes.
    To adequately address the complex and interconnected issues of individuals with disabilities, including people living with HIV, we believe that vocational rehabilitation (VR) counselors need to be appropriately trained and credentialed.

    2015 Will Be A Great Year For Entrepreneurship    

    By Rod Ford, Founder & Managing Partner of XCelerate Capital

    Based upon the solid year in private equity investing in 2014, I expect 2015 to be the best year since the “bubble” for venture and non-venture backed entrepreneurship.

    The easy access to powerful cloud-based tools and the proliferation of the “internet of things” is producing opportunities for unlimited ideation of new products and services to improve the quality of consumer lives.

    Specifically, I would like to highlight a couple of other factors whose unintended consequence will provide tailwinds for entrepreneurship.

    1. Government Policy
    Irrespective of your political views in politics, in 2014 we saw two federal policy changes that will enable entrepreneurs to enjoy greater independence and freedom. The affordable health-care act is modifying the behavior of individuals to take personal control of their own health-care needs rather than view health-care as a “benefit” of corporate employment. The outcome of this behavioral shift is that traditional employment is becoming less attractive. Secondly, more lenient immigration policies will allow a more diverse and larger audience the freedoms to pursue public entrepreneurship. Both of these policy shifts will drive an influx of entrepreneurs in 2015 and beyond.

    2. Tech Enablement
    Real-time and mobile services that keep workers connected to their cohorts have empowered a new segment of workforce that thrives on flexible and independent work. This has enabled those that aren’t able to (or simply don’t want to) work 9-5 jobs to enter the workforce and creates a prevalence of non-traditional careers. In 2014 in the U.S. alone, there were 18 million independent, non-traditional workers. Expect that number to increase at sharp rates in 2015.

    For the motivated entrepreneur, never has there been more favorable business conditions for launching a disruptive business. The cloud provides ready access to technology that proliferates scale and regional resources provide access to entrepreneurial programming, mentorship, and a pathway to funding.

    About XCelerate Capital

    XCelerate Capital is a Little Rock based first round venture capital investor focused on investing and assisting founder’s during the early stages of a startup company’s life. XCelerate’s partners respect and seek out entrepreneurs with product vision, customer insight, focused execution, and unwavering ambition. We are interested in companies with innovative products or services with potential for rapid growth within a sizable market. We invest in technologies we understand and founders we trust to partner in rapidly accelerating the growth of the company. For more information, visit www.xceleratecapital.com.

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