Smart Talk makes a road trip to the 2020 Pennsylvania Farm Show for Friday’s program.
Agriculture has been described as Pennsylvania’s number one industry because it has such an economic and cultural impact on the state. So, any change in policy, the economy, weather and climate or consumer tastes affects Pennsylvanians.
Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding appears on Friday’s program to describe the “state of agriculture” in the Commonwealth. Topics to be addressed include a new farm bill signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf and the on- going trade war with China and other nations that impacts farmers.
Also, the state’s dairy farmers are hurting. Consumers are drinking 40% less milk since 1975 and milk prices have been low for a long period of time. Dave Smith, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association joins us on Smart Talk.
Finally, a growing and thriving business in Pennsylvania is craft beer. The state leads the nation with production of 3.7 million barrels of beer a year. We’ll learn more about craft beer and a Farm Show Beer competition on Smart Talk.
The concept behind the initiative that began in 2015 is to show officers that their sacrifices are recognized and appreciated. A simple thank you will go a long way to ease the negativity often directed toward police officers and troopers.
Psychological wounds caused by the traumas of war can be equally debilitating. And because the injury is not visible to friends and loved ones, those suffering often deal with it in silence or behave out of character.
A mental health condition caused by trauma is called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, frightening or dangerous event or experiences. PTSD can affect anyone, not only veterans. First responders, and even abused children, can suffer from PTSD.
In past wars, PTSD was called shell shock or combat stress. Symptoms of the disorder can be characterized as heightened anxiety, feeling constantly on edge or experiencing extreme or unreasonable anger during routine situations. PTSD can manifest itself in different ways, for different people. It might affect a person for a few months, or their entire life. It doesn’t always go away entirely; like the tide, it may ebb and flow.
There are local Vietnam veterans who found that the only way for them to move forward, was to go back. Back to Vietnam.
Joining Smart Talk to discuss their experiences and path to healing are Vietnam War veterans Bob Smoker, Edgar Hardesty, Ph.D., and Charles Lee. Also joining the conversation is Afghanistan War veteran Aaron Lax, who participates in a program geared toward healing combat veterans and their families, called Reboot Combat Recovery.
The Smart Talk guests offered these details of their military service:
Bob Smoker was drafted into the U.S. Army in May 1969. After basic and then infantry training, he arrived in Vietnam in early October 1969 and turned 20-years- old later that month. Smoker was assigned to Charlie Company 2nd Battalion of the 506th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. Smoker participated in the nearly five month-long battle for Fire Support Base Ripcord. The battle heated up on July 2, 1970 when two platoons and the company command post were attacked atop Hill 902. Smoker was part of the command post, which suffered heavy casualties. You can learn more about the battle at the Ripcord Association website.
Former Air Force Staff Sergeant Ed Hardesty was the non-commissioned officer in charge of weapons and munitions for the 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, an air rescue helicopter squadron out of Danang Air Force Base, Vietnam, from 1968 through 1969. Their mission was to rescue downed pilots, extraction of deeply inserted teams and medevac.
Former U.S. Army soldier Charles Lee deployed to Vietnam in 1970 at the age of 19, right after marrying his first wife. In Vietnam, Lee was assigned to the 5th Battalion, 2nd Air Defense Artillery, on a track vehicle known as a Duster. The Viet Cong called them “Fire Dragons,” because their high volume of fire and tracer ammunition gave the appearance of a dragon’s breath. Their U.S. Army crews called them “Dusters,” due to the large clouds of dust they created as they sped across the dirt roads of Vietnam. The Duster mission was as an anti-aircraft gun, but Lee said they often used it as an anti-personnel weapon.
The latest Franklin and Marshall College poll released this week indicates most Pennsylvanians favor an impeachment inquiry into President Trump and don’t believe Trump should be re-elected. Not surprisingly, the poll results fall along political party lines.
On the Democratic side, former Vice President Joe Biden leads Sen. Elizabeth Warren in the race to take on President Trump in next year’s election. That’s even though national polls have shown Warren pulling even with Biden.
Legalization of marijuana and red flag laws that would affect gun owners deemed to be a danger to themselves or others are two other high profile issues that are addressed in the poll.
Probation reform is making headlines in Pennsylvania and around the country.
Nationally-known and celebrity advocates are part of the reason. Rapper Meek Mill brought attention to the reform movement this summer when he successfully petitioned Philadelphia prosecutors to change a decade old plea agreement. The plea deal kept him under court-ordered probation supervision for more than 10 years, which is not unusual under Pennsylvania law.
Changes to the current system are gaining momentum and have bi-partisan support in the state legislature. In fact, reform is one of the few issues where both liberals and conservatives agree.
Also, when President Trump took office, renegotiating U.S. trade deals was one of his priorities. Trade negotiators revised the 25-year old NAFTA agreement in 2018, and it is now officially known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Mexico ratified the terms last summer and Canada is reportedly ready to sign the deal but is waiting on U.S. Congressional approval.
A year-long investigation by journalists with Spotlight PA and The Caucus uncovered an uncomfortable truth behind Pennsylvania campaign finance laws. The truth is that while candidates must keep records of their expenses, they don’t have to offer any spending details unless specifically asked.
The implication is that hiding in the law’s ambiguity are questionable financial transactions, according to the reports. The investigation found high-price dinners, liquor, sporting events and even club memberships listed as campaign expenses.
Today’s college athletes are considered amateurs. They are not paid for their performances on the field or court. At the same time, many of the universities and colleges they represent rake in millions of dollars through TV contracts and ticket sales.
Last month, California became the first state to make it legal for college athletes to be compensated for the use of their names, images and likenesses. Athletes will also be allowed to hire agents to represent them to seek out deals.
Almost a dozen other states have quickly followed up, including Pennsylvania.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association is vehemently opposed to allowing athletes to be paid. Opponents of so-called “Fair Pay to Play” say student athletes already are compensated with scholarships, meals and room and board that can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars over four years.
Appearing on Friday’s Smart Talk to discuss their proposal to allow athletes to be compensated are Democratic state Representatives Dan Miller and Ed Gainey, both of Allegheny County. We’ll also hear from former All-America football player Adam Breneman and youth coach Archie Smith, Jr., who also played college football.
Losing a loved one can be a difficult time for everyone.
When a family member or friend passes away, capturing their memories can be a challenging process. Obituaries are an essential part of someone’s life and an important way to continue someone’s legacy. However, are we prepared to write an obituary?
Obituaries today often are different than just a few years ago when just the basics of the deceased were listed. Those kinds of obituaries still exist but often there are those that talk about how the person died, what kind of personality they had, what they enjoyed doing, what was unique about them and even their quirks.
Appearing on Smart Talk to discuss writing an obituary is Alan Foster, Adjunct Professor of Journalism, Department of English, Millersville University.
Also, September is Hispanic Heritage Month. It’s a time when one of the fastest growing populations in Pennsylvania celebrate their culture and contributions but zero in on challenges they face, as well.
On Friday’s Smart Talk, we discuss the heritage and challenges with members of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs — Executive Director Luz Colon, George Fernandez and Delma Rivera-Lytle.