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  • Lance Mannion
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I love this:
"Harry Reid sounds like Harry Reid always does in times of crisis when strong Democratic leadership is called for, like an apologetic and embarrassed husband with a bad back watching his wife struggle to move the furniture."

I say bail everybody out, run the deficit up another trillion, usher in the green economy, and disentangle from the useless foreign wars. When everyone is working again retrofitting our existence with eco-friendly technology, the coffers will be filled back up in 5-8 years.

Politicians: stop whining. Just do it.

uncle merlin

"A deindustrialized America is an America that will not function as a first-rate power in the future."

What I have been saying for the last 7 years as an owner of a Company that actually MAKES something HERE to BUY with Local Dollars!

Yet for years I was beat up on price with Taiwan by people HERE who did literally nothing but make cell phone deals and never even carried the product to their customers!

Well I hear now all those "ASI- Ad Specialty People" are flat dead in the water. 'BOut Time!

If GM, FORD ,and CHRYSLER, WANT to stay in business then loan them the money to BUY, I SAID- TO BUY the patent license from TOYOTA, HONDA, and MITSUBISHI for Fuel Efficient Green Technology! They have no time to develop anything on their own now! It's too late!
Westinghouse was in this same position back in 1938:

WESTINGHOUSE in 1939 paid to BENDIX HOME APPLIANCES the tune of $125,000 in 1938 DOLLARS ( in todays market around $3 MILLION) for the patent license to build a WASHING MACHINE that RINSED better than their machine did! WESTINGHOUSE Went on to build 30 years of these successful washing machines for home and commercial duty after that purchase! And they did it all on US SOIL up to 1990 I might add!
Side Note:
Unfortunatly for Bendix Home Appliances they were an early victim of "Chop it up and Sell it Quick" and didn't survive after 1958, even though they had Literally Invented the Automatic Washer and Covered the Globe by 1939! Yes they even had stores in Pre-Communist China in 1939! And contrary to popular belief, Americans invented the front loader NOT Europeans, Miele and Zug were the first to catch on to the Bendix platform after the War and copy their design.

Talk about killing an industry! Today you walk into any HomeDepot and all the front loaders are made in Korea except for Bosch and Electrolux which are assembled domestically. Bosch & Electrolux are excellent products but they are made by Offshore Corporations in an Industry WE Invented!

Sound a bit like High Definition TV anyone??????????

MY Mother God Rest Her Soul: Always said "It's 3 generations from Shirt Sleeves to Shirt Sleeves" Well we are seeing that today all across AMERICA, INCLUDING Congress! No one seems immune to that!

I read a report 3 or so years ago. This report really drove home to me how far American's were letting their country SLIDE!

In the Report the simple question was raised " If we were to return to the Moon, could and would we build the Saturn Rocket Booster system again?"

Well the answer was astounding in the report: It was discovered that in the ensuing 40 years most of the Engineers had passed away, NASA had no hard copy blueprints on file for the Rocket, and the one person who did have a copy died leaving it to his Widow and she threw everything away! So it turns out the only known hard copy of the Saturn Rocket is rotting away in some land fill on Long Island.

Can any of you imagine what this would have meant at the height of the Cold War? It would have been treasonable!

Today I think it is one of the saddest tales I have heard and I am glad my Mother never lived to see it!

She loved Space Exploration, one night in the Early 1950's before I came along, she was walking with my Dad down a street and she spied a headline "Scientists bounce a Radar beam off the Moon" Right then she turned to my Dad and said "They're going to the Moon, we're going to the Moon". I think my father's response was a bit subdued being a Scietist himself, but Mom was proved right 16 odd years later in 1969!

Merry Chirstmas Mom wherever you are! You had it right!



This does seem to be the season for screwing over small, local, domestic producers... it's not just the automakers who are facing a doubtful future while the work moves overseas. There's a law that goes into effect February 10th that mandates end-product testing for goods that may be used by children. It sounds like a good thing, especially in the wake of the scandals issuing from China, but here's the thing:

It requires a new test for each component - even if previously tested by the maker of that component - that goes into a new product. And this obligation applies to each new product line.

In practice, what this means is that if a small craftswoman is making stuffed animals to sell on Etsy or eBay, she has to pay for a test on each part of each new animal that is not 100% identical to previously tested ones. That means a test for the plastic eyes, a test for the thread, a test for each of the kinds of fabric that goes into it, a test for the stuffing. It doesn't matter if the manufacturers of eyes, thread, fabric and stuffing already tested them; she has to re-test them, because they are going into a new product. If she makes a red elephant and tests it, then a blue elephant or a red giraffe, she needs to test again, because they are different products.

And each test runs $100-$200. So a person selling unique handmade toys that use $20 of materials and sell for $40 dollars is going to have to pay several hundreds of dollars in testing in order to comply with this law.

Worse, any items that were made prior to Feb. 10th must also undergo such testing, if the person wishes to sell them after that date.

It's that bad; people on Etsy who make a living at this are freaking out in major ways, as are other small manufacturers of things like children's science kits. Large manufacturers aren't thrilled either, but they can weather the expenses more easily, due to greater capital resources and larger product lines.

Meanwhile, funding to the FDA and for inspecting containers at the ports - in other words, checking the products that are from known violators - is severely lacking.

For more info, see here, here, and here.

Ken Muldrew

Uncle Merlin,
Thankfully there's an *actual* Saturn V at the Kennedy Space Centre, so you can always get the Chinese to reverse engineer the blueprints (they're experts at that, absolutely killer; in fact, I bet they've already done the job--unasked!).

Consumer protection laws are just on the books to punish enemies of the state. Keep up with your contributions to your local congressman and senator (and a token gift to the governor never led anyone astray) and you will be fine selling untested thread.

You owe a lot of money; what if your creditors won't let you "just do it"? Maybe they have other plans for you.

And finally Lance,
You sell your country short. I've been to the States many times, and the service industry is next to none. Nevermind manufactories, service is the future. ... I'm trying to be clever and flippant here but I'm just making an ass of myself. :-( It is true that the service industry in the States is second to none, and it's genuine (unlike elsewhere in the world where one can pay for insincere, but correct-by-the-motions service, but this is way off point). The US *is* ingenuity, inventiveness, and most of all, making things. Things that work. The US automakers already have the technology to build super-efficient cars, including hybrids (and clever hybrids, like the Chevy Volt). What they don't have is the industrial experience of making them by the hundreds of thousands, with reliability nearing that of their current line. That is what Toyota has been warning them about for the last 10 years (because if any of the big 3 fail, it gets mighty expensive for Toyota to build cars in the US, so they have been trying to ween their comrades off big trucks and SUVs). Technology, they have, technical know-how is lacking (the kind that comes from successive approximation--as Heraclitus warned, "though one thinks that one knows a thing, one has no certainty until one tries" (caveat, I think this may have been some other old Greek chap, but I can't recall, anyway...the sentiment is ancient...and important)). I wish I had something better to say here, to make up for my earlier foolishness. What about nationalizing the automakers? Bring Mikhail Gorbachev over for a speaking tour, "Actually, Ronald Reagan didn't win the cold war...I did, but not for the Soviet Union...for you! Now you will get to enjoy the fruits of socialism". If the threat of that doesn't get your Republican congressfellows to support a loan program, then I don't know Arkansaw!

I just looked back over your post to see if there was any way to redeem this comment or whether I should just delete it and forget about it. Obviously I should delete it, but I noticed the first line of your post was a disclaimer over random, uniformed thoughts. So I'll post this just to show you what genuine, random, uniformed thoughts really look like. Just so you'll know for next time.

Ken Muldrew

OK, well, uniformed thoughts are, well, uniformed. But uninformed thoughts...they just make no sense. Like those up above. Sorry...I'm polluting your blog.

Michael C

Great diary. Thanks, Lance. Wish it weren't so depressing.

But the fact is, the Big Boys - in the Senate and in the Media - all get stiffies thinking about the Big Boys on Wall Street. Manufacturing, on the other hand, is very retro and not kewl. MBAs have been heading into Finance (and consulting) for over 30 years. Only nerds go to manufacturing. Dirty dirty nerds. Very uncool.

Sic transit gloria.

Alex Jokay

Maybe I'm naive, but it seems to me that bankruptcy would create a golden opportunity for the foreign makers in this country to buy these failed companies and restructure them to perform as efficiently as their own American operations. Toyota could take over GM; Honda could gobble up Ford and Chrysler. This wouldn't please the unions, but it would give these stellar carmakers complete control of the U.S. market and likely result in better, greener products for all of us, and continued employment for a lot of people who'd otherwise have nothing. Who knows? Maybe they're circling like vultures this very moment.

jim sevin

It's Sunday. Open the paper (if you still get a paper) and look at the car ads. Look at what the Toyota dealer is selling a new Prius for this week; in Los Angeles he's got 20 on his lot and they're going below list. Used Priuses? Sixteen five. A 2 year-old Kia Rondo, a nice, reliable family car with 25,000 miles on it, is 10 grand. That's HALF what it was new. And these are the asking prices. The dealer, the salesman, the guy that sells the salesman a new cell phone, the hamburger stand across the street, and on down the line are in big damn trouble here. This is not just about American car makers. This is about America.

And meanwhile, ill-informed people write letters about how the lousy '82 Pontiac they drove in college (used, 87,000 miles on the clock) always made them late to class. So they won't buy a American car, and good riddance to the lazy car companies and their unions. Their leased Nissan Armada (12 city/17 hwy mpg) runs great.

You want to reduce the number of auto workers smoothly and save America? Stop the outsourcing of American cars. Slap a tariff on Mexican Fords and Canadian Chryslers and Korean Chevys. Build American cars in the United States. And quit giving tax dollars earned by American workers to foreign manufacturers to build plants here.

Oh, and hire Roger Penske to run GM.

James Raider

Perhaps a little creativity?


The American economy rests on the back of the American worker and consumer. Taxpayers own the government and currency is only a tool enabling commerce.

Take charge of it. Get it working for you, not against you.

Once this is done, the other problems will resolve naturally, including home owners making their mortgage payments.


Harry Reid sounds the way Harry Reid always does in times of crisis when strong Democratic leadership is called for, like an apologetic and embarrassed husband with a bad back watching his wife struggle to move the furniture.

Unless he's scolding Joe Biden about attending luncheons that Joe Biden had no intention of attending anyway.

Then he sounds like the former boxer he is.

"Bleeder Reid," they called him, a-yup. Used ta have ta fight th' last one on the card, cuz he'd leave the ring red as roses, they say.

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