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Lincolnton furniture company's revival has global message

LINCOLNTON, N.C. — When Bruce Cochrane's family furniture company became an empty factory, he wouldn't drive by the building, even though it was just a short ride from home. There were just too many memories of what was — and what he was sure would never be again.

Five generations of Cochranes had been furniture makers, starting with his great-great grandfather, William, who built church pews in the 1850s. By the mid-1990s, though, the long, proud family tradition appeared to be at an end. Like so many other American industries, the furniture trade was moving to China, land of cheap labor.

Cochrane headed there, too, becoming a consultant to furniture makers there, making occasional trips to offer advice. Back in North Carolina, he saw globalization taking its toll. First, fewer and fewer workers in the plants. Then, shuttered factories. But it took a while to grasp the scope of the loss.

"I didn't give that a lot of thought at the time," Cochrane says. "I was making so much money that I did not really dwell on the implications of what I was doing, of what other people were doing. ... Later on, I saw how sad it was to see a $50 billion industry move offshore and all the thousands and thousands of jobs that were lost. And I was part of it."

full piece and worth the read on inshoring factory jobs.. http://www.wral.com/news/state/story/10945194/

North Carolina used to make tons of high quality long-lasting furniture that people passed down through the generations. I wish Mr. Cochrane and his employees all the luck and talent in the world to make it so again. He's an example of a business owner who finally connected the dots.

Ari Fleischer Secretly Helped Guide Komen Strategy On Planned Parenthood

Fleischer’s relationship with Komen and the Planned Parenthood controversy was previously undisclosed. Fleischer confirmed to ThinkProgress his recent role in filling key communications positions at Komen.
According to a source, during at least one interview, Planned Parenthood was a major topic of conversation. Fleischer indicated that he had discussed the Planned Parenthood issue with Komen’s CEO, Nancy Brinker, and that she was at her wits end about how to proceed. Fleischer described himself as a longtime friend of Brinker.

Fleischer confirmed to ThinkProgress that he would receive a fee from Komen when the search is complete. Fleischer did not specify the amount of his fee but said it would be “substantially below the normal placement fee charged by executive search companies” because “they’re a charity I believe in.”

Fleischer’s high-level involvement with Komen further complicates its image as an apolitical cancer charity.

more: http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2012/02/03/418797/exclusive-ari-fleischer-komen-planned-parenthood/

Me: Heh. Bolsters the argument that this past week hasn't been just a clusterfuck, it has been an intentional clusterfuck.

edit: More detailed link to article.

(NC-13) Miller won't seek another term in Congress

Washington — Thirteenth District Congressman Brad Miller will not run for re-election, he said in a statement released to his supporters early Thursday.

The five-term member of the U.S. House said North Carolina's Republican-controlled legislature "dismantled" his district when they redrew voting maps in July.

The new maps put Miller into the 4th District with political ally and fellow Democrat David Price. Miller said Thursday he didn't want to run against Price.

“I told David within a week of the election last year that, with the Republicans in control of redistricting, we would almost certainly be drawn into the same district,” Miller said in his statement. “I had two choices: Run in a primary with David or not seek another term.”

more... http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/10646398/

Dammit! This is not good. I was not looking forward to having to choose between Brad Miller and David Price. But who will we get to fill the slot now?

India's women given low-cost route to sanitary protection

The road to creating the world's first low-cost machine for making sanitary towels begins with a man who wore a sanitary towel himself. In 1998, Arunachalam Muruganantham was a workshop helper who lived below the poverty line in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. His research into sanitary towels began when he caught his wife, Shanti, trying to slip away with some filthy rags. When questioned, she said the choice was between buying towels for herself or buying milk for the family.

Her situation isn't unique: 88% of women in India resort to using ashes, newspapers, dried leaves and even husk sand during their periods, according to a report by market research group AC Nielsen called Sanitatary Protection: Every Woman's Health Right. As a result of these unhygienic practices, more than 70% of the women suffer from reproductive tract infections, increasing the risk of contracting associated cancers.

Faced with a challenge, Muruganantham decided to create a low-cost towel for his wife. His entrepreneurial spirit emerged quite early when his father, a handloom weaver, died and Muruganantham had to drop out of high school at 14. His mother earned a tiny amount as a farm worker. To supplement these wages, he began looking for low-cost business opportunities that addressed a need.

More... http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/jan/22/sanitary-towels-india-cheap-manufacture

Being from the developed world where I could always provide for my needs, I have often wondered what women did before the industrial revolution and by extension, what my less well off sisters do. Now I know. This man is a genuine bright light in his community. I hope his invention is replicated in all areas that need it.

This is entrepreneurship I can believe in.

NC: Voting map opponents ask to delay 2012 primary


The lawsuit addresses all three new maps – House, Senate and congressional.

First, plaintiffs say, the new districts split more counties than is necessary, which they say is a violation of the state constitution as affirmed by a previous North Carolina Supreme Court ruling in a 2002 redistricting case, Stephenson v. Bartlett.

Second, they split too many precincts. According to the lawsuit, the House map splits 395 voting precincts, containing 1.86 million citizens, which amounts to 19.5 percent of the state’s entire population. The Senate maps splits 257 precincts, containing 1.33 million people. Alternative plans submitted by Democrats would have split only 129 precincts in the House and six in the Senate.

Third, the lawsuit says, the new maps “pack” higher numbers of minority voters into some districts to reduce their influence in surrounding areas. According to the plaintiffs, more than half the state’s African-American voters are packed into just three of the state’s 13 congressional districts, 10 of the 50 Senate districts and 25 of the 120 House districts.

more: http://www.wral.com/news/state/nccapitol/story/10577624/

Guardian: How to tell if your olive oil is the real thing

Adulterated and even fake olive oil is widespread, according to studies. Just how big is the problem, and how can you avoid being caught out?

The answer, according to Tom Mueller in a book out this month, is very often not. In Extra Virginity: the Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil, Mueller, an American who lives in Italy, lays bare the workings of an industry prey, he argues, to hi-tech, industrial-scale fraud. The problem, he says, is that good olive oil is difficult, time-consuming and expensive to make, but easy, quick and cheap to doctor.


"So how can consumers best ensure they're not being ripped off? Ridgeway recommends paying a sensible price. Unfortunately, a 50cl bottle costing £15 is, on balance, "less likely to have problems" than one costing £2. North urges people never to buy olive oil in a clear bottle ("It oxidises and goes rancid far faster", and to buy from somewhere you can taste it first.

Both he and Ridegway, though, stress the prime importance of buying young. "Look for a harvest date," North says. "They're starting to appear now, albeit on only a few bottles, and they'll tell you how old the oil is. It's not an absolute guarantee of quality, but half the battle."


NC Amendment One: The Musical!

Excellent pro Equality piece by our stellar young Tarheels!

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