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When do we say enough already?

February 18, 2009

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While my neighbors are circulating e-mails about the newly opened Irish pub that's within walking distance (conserve fuel and drown your sorrows) and notices about how to reduce the tax assessments on our homes—after all, our home values have dropped; one more reason to hit the...

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Attracting the positive

February 16, 2009

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The sky fell over the weekend. Well, not really. (What would the sky falling look like anyway?) But some stuff did fall from the sky. A Russian and American satellite collided, and in another apparently unrelated incident, a giant fireball streamed over Texas.The stories read as apt metaphors for...

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Just the facts - Down and dirty

February 11, 2009

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As I began this post, I had no idea what the title would be. I wanted something positive and, if not positive, at least not negative. How do you put the best possible spin on rotten news? Perhaps I should ask government officials or financial CEOs, who have a lot of experience laundering facts...

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The recession's end: Waiting for land

February 9, 2009

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Ignacio Nacho Palomarez is what you"d call an early technology adopter. The president of San Carlos, Calif.-based Spacesonic dove into laser cutting in the 1980s, and today he has laser cutting capability that includes armored plate, thin sheet, and everything in between. These days he"s...

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No friends, no problem

February 6, 2009

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You"ve got enough on your plate to worry about—producing quality parts, shipping those parts out on time, chasing new business, addressing issues with employees, and getting home in time to grab some sleep before the cycle begins all over again. Well, here"s one thing you don"t have to worry...

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Good news for Michigan

February 4, 2009

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If any state could use some good news, it's Michigan, which is on track to reach an unwelcomed milestone: 10 consecutive years—a full decade—of job losses. The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today that of the 49 metropolitan areas with a...

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A not-so-good Year of the Ox

February 2, 2009

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This Chinese New Year wasn"t the rosiest for many folks on the other side of the planet. According to reports, Chinese exports were down 2.8 percent in December from the previous year--a significant number, considering the amount China exports. The country"s GDP grew 13 percent in 2007, but was...

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Unemployment—By the numbers

January 30, 2009

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The newspaper headlines are getting somewhat repetitive nowadays, unless you"re lucky enough to live in a state where the governor is being impeached. Layoffs here and layoffs there&mdashcompanies are shedding jobs like a politician sheds campaign promises.But an interesting thing caught my eye as...

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Labor shortage - Point/Counterpoint

January 29, 2009

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If you subscribe to the "Welding Wire" e-newsletter, you may have seen the comments in the January issue from a seasoned metalworker who questions whether the much proclaimed skilled-labor shortage really exists. His comments drew responses from those who wholeheartedly agreed with what he had to...

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Being lean pays in a recession

January 28, 2009

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I spoke with a stamper last week who found one of the few areas for growth in this economy: takeover work. Jim Schwartz, general manager of marketing at Eagle Wings Industries, Rantoul, Ill., recently implemented magnetic die clamping, a technology that has allowed the company to take on new work...

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Welcome to the factory

January 23, 2009

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A friend sent me a link to a band he heard on an Internet radio station. The band hails from downstate Illinois, and one of the bands I really admire, Uncle Tupelo, came from the same part of the country. So I gave it a quick listen.A day later I purchased the CD, The Places We Lived....

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A nice speech

January 21, 2009

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Whether or not you supported President Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election, you have to admit that he gave a nice inaugural speech. I listened to the speech (streaming online video) and turned off inaugural coverage after the entire ceremony ended. I really am not interested in watching...

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Putting a smile on a banker's face

January 19, 2009

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Away from the revelry on the National Mall in Washington, auto industry executives and insiders have spent much of January in Detroit at the North American International Auto Show, an annual event that, for obvious reasons, has been toned down significantly. One of the few areas not in such a funk,...

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Don't forget Detroit

January 16, 2009

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This isn"t about the automotive industry or bailouts. It"s a wish for better times for places like Detroit.What prompted this? An incredibly thoughtful and moving column by Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press. I"ve been to and through Detroit a handful of times in my life. I remember...

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A sound investment

January 14, 2009

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Scanning the metal manufacturing news this morning, I ran across a brief item that made me smile. Smiles from industry news don't occur often enough these days. They are almost as rare as receiving a love note from your credit card company that says your interest rate has been lowered because...

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