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It's about jobs

November 10, 2009

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It's now one in 10, probably more. Take a walk and glance around. You'll probably see someone in need of a job. Within two blocks of my house, I know four who are unemployed—and those are just the neighbors I know. The Labor Department's release, which pegged...

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Lean adventures continue

November 6, 2009

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I think I recently experienced one of those "Ah-ha!" moments that metal fabricators undertaking lean initiatives have pretty frequently. I was attending a meeting where the subject was improving communication between our ad sales team and our magazine production team. Incomplete and incorrect...

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How can a home-buyer's tax credit hurt you?

November 5, 2009

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If you agree that the government should get involved more or less directly in running the economy, you probably agree that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 is a pretty good idea. All told, it provides more than $500 billion in spending on infrastructure, health care, education,...

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A most-fitting memorial to 9/11

November 4, 2009

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It's been eight years since the 9/11 attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center and killed almost 3,000 innocent prople— enough time for two presidential elections; U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq; the fall of a dictatorship; the battle of New Orleans versus Katrina;...

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The economy: It could be worse

November 3, 2009

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The status of...

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RIP: High-volume metal manufacturing in the U.S.

October 30, 2009

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On the day that everyone was rejoicing about the GDP growth in the third quarter of this year, I'm still thinking about an announcement that Swedish appliance giant Electrolux made earlier this week. Somehow, that doesn't strike me as being great news, particularly for Iowa residents and...

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How can a home-buyer's tax credit help you?

October 29, 2009

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Whether it's a good idea or a bad one is a matter of perspective. It's a tax credit related to a mortgage, and it can put up to $8,000 into the pocket of first-time home buyers. A quick look at housing start permits reveals the sad state of the residential construction industry. In January 2006,...

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Lack of help for small business is 'obscene'

October 28, 2009

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Fox News—most people either love it or hate it. I'm indifferent about it, preferring to look at it as I do most media: Take what I hear with a grain of salt and watch out for bias.Just yesterday, host Greta Van Susteren chatted with David Cho, financial reporter for the "Washington Post"...

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Reworking a codependent relationship

October 27, 2009

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Did you hear? The automotive biz is rockin' and rollin'. General Motors—that's right, the same GM that trudged to bankruptcy court earlier this year—reported 2009 growth of 40 percent. Heck, the industry overall reported 90 percent growth in August. Simply amazing! Oh, I...

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A big slice of humble pie

October 22, 2009

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I was wrong. I said it. I admit it. Wrong! Wrong, wrong, wrong. Totally wrong. No two ways about it. Wrong. GM filed for bankruptcy June 1, and nearly every editor, reporter, and blogger seemed to want to jump on the bandwagon and jump all over GM's executives for decades of mismanagement. I...

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'It's all bad' (No, it isn't)

October 21, 2009

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Yesterday evening, I sat in a Jiffy Lube waiting room while my car was undergoing an emissions test—a requirement for tag renewal. A small, very old-school, rabbit-eared TV tuned to a local news station stood in the corner. As I attempted to wile away the time reading the latest but already...

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Shh & Manufacturing is looking better

October 20, 2009

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Psssst. Hey & down here. I"m the headline about 20 column inches below the story about Balloon Boy. Keep looking down. Down. Just below that expose about Polanski. See me? Good. Don't tell anyone, but manufacturing's getting a bit better. In fact, manufacturing may be the thing that pulls...

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Keeping manufacturing competitive

October 15, 2009

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The perspective was unique, but the advice was familiar: Innovation is the key to remaining competitive on the world stage.That was the message manufacturing experts with deep knowledge of the global marketplace sent to attendees at the Competitive Manufacturing Strategies session of the Pan IIT...

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Retirement? Maybe, maybe not

October 14, 2009

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I love online polls, especially those that allow takers to comment. There's a certain feeling of anonymity when you are sitting all alone in front of your computer screen that tends to make many of us more open when voicing our opinions through our keyboards. (Of course that same feeling of...

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The power of walking away

October 13, 2009

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Talk of health reform has become frenzied in recent weeks. The latest compromises have bordered on desperation. We can't pursue the public option plan, to appease budget-weary politicians (and voters) and the insurance industry. We're uncomfortable about requiring everyone to buy...

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