Bouquets and Brickbats: Our veterans deserve jobs as thank-you

On this Veterans Day, we offer all vets and their families thanks-a-million bouquets in bright hues of red, white and blue.

We recognize, though, that gratitude alone won’t pay the bills — an obligation that’s especially tough for veterans struggling to find work. Sadly, unemployment among veterans continues to rise: It was 13.3 percent in June 2011, compared to 11.5 percent in June 2010. Those figures are expected to worsen with more troops returning form overseas.

Congress has made some efforts to help unemployed veterans — the Senate passed a veterans job bill just this week — but assistance has been slow in coming, so we’ll save the credit — and bouquets — for the private individuals and organizations that have stepped up to combat joblessness and homelessness among vets.

One great example: Operation PAVE, Paving Access for Veterans Employment, which is described in the commentary on today’s Voices page.

Furor follows funding of feasts

We toss moldy, rotten, back-of-the-fridge brickbats to state senators who have been dining on the taxpayers’ dime when legislative sessions extend into the lunch or dinner hour — even though they also receive $143 in per diem pay to cover expenses while they’re in Sacramento. That sounds like a clear case of double dipping to us, even though Legislative Counsel has opined otherwise.

We aren’t talking about chicken feed, either. This year, the Senate spent at least $111,316 on meals and snacks, according to a Los Angeles Times investigation. Assembly members generally pay for their own meals. As it turns out, senators will be doing the same as well. Following the melee over meals, the senators agreed to pay $2,000 each to cover snacks, coffee and meals.

Weighing in on youth obesity rate

We’ll hold the honeysuckle and offer apple blossom bouquets to San Luis Obispo County youths who bucked a worrisome trend by lowering the childhood obesity rate. Of course, their parents, teachers, coaches, medical professionals and a host of others deserve credit, too.

We still have a way to go; 32.2 percent of youths were overweight or obese in 2010, according to a recent study reported in Wednesday’s Tribune. But that’s heading in the right direction, as the rate was 33.5 percent in 2005.

Keep up the good workouts.