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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 14,619

Journal Archives

Making It in America

In the past decade, the flow of goods emerging from U.S. factories has risen by about a third. Factory employment has fallen by roughly the same fraction. The story of Standard Motor Products, a 92-year-old, family-run manufacturer based in Queens, sheds light on both phenomena. It’s a story of hustle, ingenuity, competitive success, and promise for America’s economy. It also illuminates why the jobs crisis will be so difficult to solve.

I first met Madelyn “Maddie” Parlier in the “clean room” of Standard Motor Products’ fuel-injector assembly line in Greenville, South Carolina. Like everyone else, she was wearing a blue lab coat and a hairnet. She’s so small that she seemed swallowed up by all the protective gear.

Tony Scalzitti, the plant manager, was giving me the grand tour, explaining how bits of metal move through a series of machines to become precision fuel injectors. Maddie, hunched forward and moving quickly from one machine to another, almost bumped into us, then shifted left and darted away. Tony, in passing, said, “She’s new. She’s one of our most promising Level 1s.”

Later, I sat down with Maddie in a quiet factory office where nobody needs to wear protective gear. Without the hairnet and lab coat, she is a pretty, intense woman, 22 years old, with bright blue eyes that seemed to bore into me as she talked, as fast as she could, about her life. She told me how much she likes her job, because she hates to sit still and there’s always something going on in the factory. She enjoys learning, she said, and she’s learned how to run a lot of the different machines. At one point, she looked around the office and said she’d really like to work there one day, helping to design parts rather than stamping them out. She said she’s noticed that robotic arms and other machines seem to keep replacing people on the factory floor, and she’s worried that this could happen to her. She told me she wants to go back to school—as her parents and grandparents keep telling her to do—but she is a single mother, and she can’t leave her two kids alone at night while she takes classes


Great article about WHY we need technical alternatives to the 4 year degree

What kind of capitalist is Romney?

Michael Lind, Special to CNN

In a presidential primary season distinguished so far by the absence of substantive debates, the controversy over whether Mitt Romney and his partners at Bain Capital should be considered job creators or job destroyers raises a profoundly important issue.

Beyond the concerns about the loss of American jobs to off-shoring or automation and the food-fight tactics of Romney's rivals is a legitimate question about what kind of capitalism 21st century Americans should want.

The choice is between "stakeholder capitalism" and "shareholder capitalism." According to the theory of stakeholder capitalism, corporations are and should be quasi-public entities with responsibilities to the nation-state and to the communities in which they are embedded. The corporation should make a profit and provide a fair return to investors. At the same time, workers who contribute their labor to the company have a legitimate interest in it as well as investors who provide capital. Managers serve the company and the country, not merely the investors.


From the perspective of shareholder theory, private equity firms like Romney's are promoting efficiency, even as they make short-term profits by dismantling or destroying companies and laying off their workers.


Well worth the read - and certainly worth a "Recommend" on FB

ATTENTION America – this is the New Economy – Get Used to It

Who says things are going to get better? Just what political pressure resides out there in the American Landscape to force the American Government to wrest control of the economy from the Wealthy Elitist Corporations that have placed a strangle-hold upon the throats of the Working Class?

Some New Special Tax on Vulture Capitolism?

As economic forecast pop up on the horizon daily in our media they all have one thing in common. They produce a pretty bleak picture for the Working Class many years to come, possibly a decade away. Quite a lot can happen in that time frame and more then likely it will be at the hands of Corporate controlled economy and Washington insiders. Regretfully there is just too many future earnings to be made picking the bones of the once proud American Middle Class.

Right-wing documentary targets Occupy

Exclusive: Film in the making from Citizens United is likely to portray protesters as anti-democratic anarchists

Citizens United, which specializes in making documentaries with strong right-wing messages, is currently in production for a film about the Occupy movement, a spokesman for the group confirms to Salon.

The landmark 2010 Supreme Court case that loosened campaign finance restrictions was brought by Citizens United and centered on an anti-Hillary Clinton movie made by the group. Opposition to that ruling has been a consistent message of participants in Occupy movement.

The new film is to be called “Mic Check: The Untold Story of the Occupy Movement.” A participant at Occupy Wall Street recently received an interview request from a Citizens United producer that included this description of the film:


Middle class dropouts - American Dream Deferred

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Nearly one third of Americans who were raised in the middle class dropped down the economic ladder as adults -- and that's before the Great Recession hit.

"Being raised in the middle class is not a guarantee that you'll have that same status as an adult," said Erin Currier, project manager at Pew's Economic Mobility Project. "With all the economic turmoil in the past four years, there's good reason to think that downward mobility is more severe."

Being middle class in the parents' generation meant a household income of roughly $33,000 to $64,000 in 1979. But their children had to earn between $54,000 and $111,000 to maintain their relative standing in society in the mid-2000s. (These figures are adjusted for inflation.)


Former congressman, Missouri charity director sentenced in terrorism case

McClatchy Newspapers Mark Morris

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A long-running terrorist financing investigation centered in Columbia, Mo., ended Wednesday when a federal judge ordered two men, including a former U.S. congressman, to prison.

She sentenced three other defendants to probation for their work with a Missouri charity that purportedly had ties to Islamic extremists. Those ties had subjected the charity to intense scrutiny for 13 years.

All five men either were employees or associates of the Columbia-based Islamic American Relief Agency. The charity closed its doors in October 2004 after the U.S. Treasury Department declared it to be one piece of a global network that supported Osama bin Laden and other terrorists.

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/01/11/135624/former-congressman-missouri-charity.html#storylink=cpy

Wasn't Grover Norquest a Lobyest for an Islamic Organisation in 1999

Foreclosures, bankruptcies fall, but problems remain

Tony Pugh | McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON — The two major markers of financial distress — bankruptcies and foreclosures — declined in 2011 from the previous year, but the good news is a bit deceiving.

The 34 percent decline in foreclosure filings last year was due mainly to processing delays caused by legal concerns about proper documentation of paperwork, according to a new report by RealtyTrac, an online foreclosure database.

Foreclosures in the fourth quarter of 2011 had taken an average of 348 days to complete, compared with 305 days in the last quarter of 2010.

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/01/12/135576/foreclosures-bankruptcies-fall.html#storylink=cpy

No wonder Air America died - Bain Capitol OWNs Clear Channel

“But Limbaugh hasn’t mentioned his own tie to the venture capital firm: Bain owns Clear Channel Communications, whose subsidiary inked a $400 million, eight-year syndication deal with Limbaugh in 2008.”

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2012/01/11/in-rush-to-attack-ben-smith-blows-it-on-limbaughs-bain-disclosure-video/#ixzz1jFXvahe3

Internet piracy bill splits technology, entertainment industries

Curtis Tate | McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON — Legislation to thwart Internet piracy is dividing Capitol Hill lawmakers and has the entertainment industry facing off against the technology industry. At least one major social media website is planning a daylong blackout next week to protest the bill.

The Stop Online Piracy Act, authored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, would give the government the authority to order Internet providers to block access to foreign websites that post copyrighted content without permission and bar U.S advertisers and payment processors from doing business with them.

The Justice Department could go to court to make such sites disappear from Americans' computer screens, meaning, for example, that links from a Google search or a Facebook page might not work.

Members of both major parties are co-sponsoring the bill, but some lawmakers worry that the provisions go too far and wouldn't be effective anyway.

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/01/11/135588/internet-piracy-bill-splits-technology.html#storylink=cpy

We needed a Roosevelt, but we got an Obama

No shortage of reasons why 95% of Americans feel our Congress is a corrupt dysfunctional Jona hanging around the collective neck of the working class. Democrats in the House and Senate are applauding their political coo of extending the “Social Security Payroll Tax Cut” which may very well be the final nail in coffin of what once was our Social Safety Net.

With little surprise groups such as Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party have sprung up in reply to Washington’s Shenanigans. President Obama upon taking office immediately began surrounding himself with the same Wall St Banking insiders and CEOs that have plunged this country into the Great Recession. Even after former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan publically admitted in his testimony to a Congressional Hearing that the Failed Policies of Trickle Down Economics were directly to blame for the current Global Economic Collapse, we still have our Government and Washington insiders pushing the Top-Down Economics of the Wealthy Elite.

Today we herald Jobs Numbers that formerly would have a negative reaction as a much needed improvement. The SEC announced a Small Number of cases of Wall St. Fraud would no longer be allowed to plead “No Fault” and we consider that a significant breakthrough. The Administration announces a new plan to sell huge blocks of Foreclosed Homes to Wall St. Investment Firms, (the same firms that created the demise of our economy) so they can make room for MORE foreclosures, and it received barely a blurb in the News Cycle much less massive protest in the streets.

The Re-instatement of Glass-Steagall Act is bogged down in Committee. The Corporate Tax Code still provides financial incentives for Multinational Corporations to Outsource Jobs to China. The Wealthy Elite still pay a significantly lower percentage of income to taxes then the Working Class.

Mr Obama – to quote a famous American – “Lead, Follow, or Get the Fuck Out the Way”

Bonnie and Clyde were not the “sharpest tools in the shed” The fact they got away with what they did for as long as they did was really a lot of foreclosed upon Americans enjoyed watching the Banks who foreclosed upon their homes get a little “Pay-Back”

This time Mr Obama it is You, and our Corrupt Federal Governence that continues to look on ignoring the Bonnie and Clydes of Wall St
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