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US manufacturing jobs continue to go to China...again. American companies are hiring, only it's overseas
US Poverty level at 15.1% soars to highest level in over 50 Years! In August, Standard and Poor's downgrades U.S. credit rating from a AAA rating to AA+, citing inability of U.S. government to 'stabilize debt dynamics,' marking first debt downgrade in U.S. history. The economy is actualy getting worse as China now overtakes U.S. as top manufacturer as Weekly Jobless Claims Continue to Rise. It's no wonder really since American companies are hiring only overseas.
Corporate profits are up. Stock prices are up. So why isn't anyone hiring?
Actually, many American companies are - just maybe not in your town. They're hiring overseas, where sales are surging and the pipeline of orders is fat.
More than half of the 15,000 people that Caterpillar Inc. has hired this year were outside the U.S. UPS is also hiring at a faster clip overseas. For both companies, sales in international markets are growing at least twice as fast as domestically.
The trend helps explain why unemployment remains high in the United States, edging up to 9.8 percent last month, even though companies are performing well: All but 4 percent of the top 500 U.S. corporations reported profits this year, and the stock market is close to its highest point since the 2008 financial meltdown.
But the jobs are going elsewhere. The Economic Policy Institute, a Washington think tank, says American companies have created 1.4 million jobs overseas this year, compared with less than 1 million in the U.S. The additional 1.4 million jobs would have lowered the U.S. unemployment rate to 8.9 percent, says Robert Scott, the institute's senior international economist.
"There's a huge difference between what is good for American companies versus what is good for the American economy," says Scott.
American jobs have been moving overseas for more than two decades. In recent years, though, those jobs have become more sophisticated - think semiconductors and software, not toys and clothes.
And now many of the products being made overseas aren't coming back to the United States. Demand has grown dramatically this year in emerging markets like India, China and Brazil.
Meanwhile, consumer demand in the U.S. has been subdued. Despite a strong holiday shopping season, Americans are still spending 3 percent less than before the recession on essential items like clothing and more than 10 percent less on jewelry, furniture, electronics, and big appliances, according to MasterCard's SpendingPulse.
"Companies will go where there are fast-growing markets and big profits," says Jeffrey Sachs, globalization expert and economist at Columbia University. "What's changed is that companies today are getting top talent in emerging economies, and the U.S. has to really watch out."
With the future looking brighter overseas, companies are building there, too. Caterpillar, maker of the signature yellow bulldozers and tractors, has invested in three new plants in China in just the last two months to design and manufacture equipment. The decision is based on demand: Asia-Pacific sales soared 38 percent in the first nine months of the year, compared with 16 percent in the U.S. Caterpillar stock is up 65 percent this year.
"There is a shift in economic power that's going on and will continue. China just became the world's second-largest economy," says David Wyss, chief economist at Standard & Poor's, who notes that half of the revenue for companies in the S&P 500 in the last couple of years has come from outside the U.S.
Take the example of DuPont, which wowed the world in 1938 with nylon stockings. Known as one of the most innovative American companies of the 20th century, DuPont now sells less than a third of its products in the U.S. In the first nine months of this year, sales to the Asia-Pacific region grew 50 percent, triple the U.S. rate. Its stock is up 47 percent this year.
DuPont's work force reflects the shift in its growth: In a presentation on emerging markets, the company said its number of employees in the U.S. shrank by 9 percent between January 2005 and October 2009. In the same period, its work force grew 54 percent in the Asia-Pacific countries.
"We are a global player out to succeed in any geography where we participate in," says Thomas M. Connelly, chief innovation officer at DuPont. "We want our resources close to where our customers are, to tailor products to their needs."
While most of DuPont's research labs are still stateside, Connelly says he's impressed with the company's overseas talent. The company opened a large research facility in Hyderabad, India, in 2008.
A key factor behind this runaway international growth is the rise of the middle class in these emerging countries. By 2015, for the first time, the number of consumers in Asia's middle class will equal those in Europe and North America combined.
"All of the growth over the next 10 years is happening in Asia," says Homi Kharas, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute and formerly the World Bank's chief economist for East Asia and the Pacific.
Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent often points out that a billion consumers will enter the middle class during the coming decade, mostly in Africa, China and India. He is aggressively targeting those markets. Of Coke's 93,000 global employees, less than 13 percent were in the U.S. in 2009, down from 19 percent five years ago.
The company would not say how many new U.S. hires it has made in 2010. But its latest new investments are overseas, including $240 million for three bottling plants in Inner Mongolia as part of a three-year, $2 billion investment in China. The three plants will create 2,000 new jobs in the area. In September, Coca-Cola pledged $1 billion to the Philippines over five years.
The strategy isn't restricted to just the largest American companies. Entrepreneurs, whether in technology, retail or in manufacturing, today hire globally from the start.
Consider Vast.com, which powers the search engines of sites like Yahoo Travel and AOL Autos. The company was founded in 2005 with employees based in San Francisco and Serbia.
Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria worries that the trend could be dangerous. In an article in the November issue of the Harvard Business Review, he says that if U.S. businesses keep prospering while Americans are struggling, business leaders will lose legitimacy in society. He exhorted business leaders to find a way to link growth with job creation at home.
Other economists, like Columbia University's Sachs, say multinational corporations have no choice, especially now that the quality of the global work force has improved. Sachs points out that the U.S. is falling in most global rankings for higher education while others are rising.
"We are not fulfilling the educational needs of our young people," says Sachs. "In a globalized world, there are serious consequences to that."
China has now ended America's 110 year run as the leading manufacturer of the world, the number of people filing new claims for jobless benefits jumped last week after three straight declines, another sign that hiring remains weak.
WASHINGTON -- New jobless claims in the U.S. jumped last week by the most since February, reversing a sharp fall two weeks ago. The rise is partly a result of seasonal factors but also reflects the job market's weakness. The Labor Department says new claims for unemployment insurance jumped by 37,000 to a seasonally adjusted 464,000. Analysts expected a smaller rise, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters.
First-time claims have hovered near 450,000 since the beginning of the year after falling steadily in the second half of 2009. That has raised concerns that hiring is lackluster and could slow the recovery.
The number of people continuing to claim benefits rose by 88,000 to 4.57 million
One Light Bulb at a Time
A physics teacher in high school, once told the students that while one grasshopper on the railroad tracks wouldn't slow a train very much, a billion of them would. With that thought in mind, read the following, obviously written by a good American ..
Good idea .. . . one light bulb at a time .. . . . Check this out .. I can verify this because I was in Lowes the other day for some reason and just for the heck of it I was looking at the hose attachments . They were all made in China . The next day I was in Ace Hardware and just for the heck of it I checked the hose attachments there. They were made in USA . Start looking ..
In our current economic situation, every little thing we buy or do affects someone else - even their job . So, after reading this email, I think this lady is on the right track . Let's get behind her!
My grandson likes Hershey's candy . I noticed, though, that it is marked made in Mexico now. I do not buy it any more.
My favorite toothpaste Colgate is made in Mexico ... now I have switched to Crest. You have to read the labels on everything .. This past weekend I was at Kroger. I needed 60 W light bulbs and Bounce dryer sheets.
I was in the light bulb aisle, and right next to the GE brand I normally buy was an off-brand labeled, "Everyday Value". I picked up both types of bulbs and compared the stats - they were the same except for the price .. The GE bulbs were more money than the Everyday Value brand but the thing that surprised me the most was the fact that GE was made in MEXICO and the Everyday Value brand was made in - get ready for this - the USA in a company in Cleveland , Ohio .
So throw out the myth that you cannot find products you use every day that are made right here .. So on to another aisle - Bounce Dryer Sheets . .. . yep, you guessed it, Bounce cost more money and is made in Canada . The Everyday Value brand was less money and MADE IN THE USA ! I did laundry yesterday and the dryer sheets performed just like the Bounce Free I have been using for years and at almost half the price!
My challenge to you is to start reading the labels when you shop for everyday things and see what you can find that is made in the USA - the job you save may be your own or your neighbors! If you accept the challenge, pass this on to others in your address book so we can all start buying American, one light bulb at a time! Stop buying from overseas companies!
We should have awakened a decade ago .. . .. . . . ) Let's get with the program........ help our fellow Americans keep their jobs and create more jobs here in the USA.
What does the Economic Stimulus Bill really say - Where are the Jobs for Americans? Why aren't new manufacturing jobs being created and why are existing jobs being lost? The car industry alone will now lose thousands of jobs.....
Las Vegas online retailer, www.USAB2C.com, focused exclusively on American made products, believes that its manufacturing suppliers, which produce made in USA goods, will not benefit from the Congressional Stimulus Bill as written because it does not address job creation for Americans. This Congressional Bill does not decisively link government spending to required purchases from American Small Businesses or American Large Businesses. The error of not linking the 2008 Economic Stimulus Rebates to "buy American" has not been corrected by the current bill. Did we not learn from our previous lack of targeted conditions on spending the rebate checks?
Las Vegas, NV (PRWEB) February 6, 2009 -- The new Obama administration had embraced "buy American" in the congressional passed bill yet was later changed and removed. Indeed, there were provisions that infrastructure projects such as roads and bridges contain American made steel and iron products. Vice President Biden had publicly stated that these provisions are necessary for the stimulus to work in creating jobs. Some of our trading partners have objected, calling this protectionism, but no one is protesting that the China stimulus package is protectionism. No one is protesting that prior British government spending programs were protectionist. And the list goes on throughout Europe.
George Hanos, COO of USAb2c.com, agrees: "As a small business, our company applauds this 'buy American' attitude which has been long overdue. In fact, we so strongly believed in this buy American motto that our company was established to promote American craftsmanship, preserve American jobs, and demonstrate American quality to the world via our world wide website, which is accessible by the entire Global market. We at www.USAb2c.com, which is the Internet shopping mall of America's Business to Consumers Inc., sells only American made products. Our criteria requires that the manufacturers we partner with use American labor and American materials."
We at USAb2c.com encourage all United States Senators, as they take up the stimulus bill, to clearly link stimulus provisions with American labor and American products. Our products are competitively priced and superior in quality as compared with similar items available in the world market. Clearly, there is no need nor benefit to purchasing imports with stimulus, tax payer money. Mr. Hanos goes on to add, however, that the stimulus package approved by the Democratic led Congress does not go far enough to stimulate creation of jobs in small businesses, which are the primary venues leading to job growth. "Announced layoffs by major U.S. corporations and by departments of various state agencies will not be impacted by these types of buy American provisions. We need a grass roots effort to stimulate job growth and encourage spending on products made in the USA. Government spending on the country's infrastructure, National Electric Grid, and modernizing healthcare record keeping will indeed add some jobs. However, to make it more effective, the spending should be directed towards American companies and local suppliers. What we don't want, for example, is to send medical records to India, Pakistan or the Philippines for electronic conversion and maintenance. Outsourcing should not be the outcome of the stimulus spending package."
The 2008 summer rebate program did not work to provide the needed stimulus. Statistics that are now coming to light indicate that only 15% of the funds distributed were spent on products. The rest was spent on paying down debt or deposited into savings accounts. What has not been revealed is how much of the 15% used to purchase products benefited American products and services? It is our anecdotal belief that most of the 15% went to purchase imported goods from China, India, and other Asian countries.
Mr. Hanos feels the solution is simple: "We at USAb2c.com encourage all United States Senators, as they take up the stimulus bill, to clearly link stimulus provisions with American labor and American products. Our products are competitively priced and superior in quality as compared with similar items available in the world market. Clearly, there is no need nor benefit to purchasing imports with stimulus, tax payer money."
For Media interviews with Mr. George Hanos, please call 845-627-6140.
Tues. October 22, 2013
JoNel Aleccia, NBC News
Nearly 600 pets have died and more than 3,600 have been sickened in an ongoing, mysterious outbreak of illnesses tied to jerky treats made in China, federal animal health officials said Tuesday.
Most of the cases have been in dogs of all breeds, ages and sizes although 10 cats have been sickened, too, after eating chicken, duck and sweet potato jerky treats. The pace of the reported illnesses appears to have slowed, but federal Food and Drug Administration officials are now seeking extra help from veterinarians and pet owners in solving the ongoing puzzle.
To date, testing for contaminants in jerky treats has not revealed a cause for the illnesses says Martine Hartogensis, a deputy director for the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine. Despite these warnings, we have continued to receive reports of illnesses in both cats and dogs.
The new numbers are up from some 500 deaths and 3,200 illnesses tallied in January, but the rate of reports has fallen sharply since then, mostly because two of the largest sellers of pet jerky treats announced recalls tied to the presence of unapproved antibiotic residue detected in the products.
Fast facts on the jerky treat investigation
FDA officials do not think that antibiotic residue is the big problem that has stumped the agency since 2007, when pet owners started reporting their animals were suffering gastrointestinal and kidney problems after eating the popular jerky treats.
Instead, it is likely that the recall of Nestle Purina PetCare Waggin Train and Canyon Creek Ranch treats, plus Del Monte Corps Milos Kitchen Chicken Jerky and Chicken Grillers homestyle dog treats simply resulted in fewer treats being available. Three other smaller retailers also recalled the treats because of the problem.
In fact, FDA officials remain as uncertain as ever about the source of the problem that has led to reports of illnesses and warnings about the possibility of Fanconi syndrome and other kidney problems in animals that ate jerky treats.
We still are extensively testing treats for a number of things, Hartogensis told NBC News. We do seem to be getting some leads, but we still have a little bit of a ways to go.
Kendal Harr, a veterinary clinical pathologist who has been tracking the problem, says that the specific compound responsible for the illnesses continues to elude experts.
I think that what it tells us is that the intoxicant is something that we're not used to dealing with as a toxin in North America, she said.
Now in an open letter to US veterinarians, FDA officials are asking the vets to track and send detailed information about any animals sickened by jerky treats, including results of blood and urine tests. In addition, the agency is asking vets to send urine samples from suspect pets for analysis.
This testing will allow FDA to get a better idea of how many of the suspected cases involve Fanconi syndrome, whether or not the pets display symptoms of kidney or urinary disease, the report said.
About 60 percent of reports cite gastrointestinal illness in the animals, and about 30 percent flag kidney or urinary troubles, the report said. About 135 cases of Fanconi syndrome, a specific kind of kidney disease, have been reported.
At the same time that they are seeking help from vets, FDA officials are putting out a fact sheet for owners that can be posted at veterinary hospitals, pet supply stores and other sites.
The agency has repeatedly cautioned that the treats are not necessary for a balanced diet, but the warnings stop short of a recall, Hartogensis said. The agency is still validating tests to detect the same kind of antibiotic residue that New York officials found earlier this year.
If we do find an adulterated product, we will recall them, Hartogensis said. In terms of doing a blanket recall, at this point we do not have enough evidence to do a blanket recall within the authority that we have.
Because there's no formal recall, it is not possible to list affected brands, although a previous FDA analysis indicated that three of the top-selling brands of jerky treats sold in the U.S. were mentioned in connection with pet illnesses.
That does not sit well with pet owners like Robin Pierre of Pine Bush, N.Y., who contends that Waggin Train chicken jerky treats were responsible for the sudden death in 2011 of her previously healthy 2 year-old pug, Bella, who developed kidney failure. She has long called for FDA to crack down on treat makers and manufacturers.
I am disgusted that our government continues to protect corporate American and China, she told NBC News. They need to start protecting the American consumer so that this does not happen again. As soon as a product is in doubt, a warning label should be placed at the point of sale so that consumers can make an educated choice.
If a pet does become ill after eating the treats, FDA is asking owners to provide detailed information up to and including results of a necropsy to test an animals tissues after death.
In the meantime, officials are trying to reach pet owners who might still have treats on hand to make sure they know about the potential problems.
Right now, the focus for us is to make the public aware that these cases are still coming in, she said.
Pet owners can report problems with jerky treats at the FDA consumer safety portal.
The decline of US manufacturing jobs and living standards
BBC: August 8, 2012
For decades America's vibrant manufacturing sector provided poorly educated workers a bridge to the middle class. But today's plants need highly skilled workers who know their way around ultra-high tech machinery.
On the factory floor of AMI, a Michigan-based maker of fuel cells, one can hear the future of manufacturing.
It is very, very quiet.
The loudest noise in the brightly lit factory is the beeping of a hydraulic lift used to replace lightbulbs overhead.
The contrast with traditional manufacturing is sharp: Almost no noise, no dirt, little physical effort. And requirements for workers are very different.
"You've got to have the smart people that help build it from the bottom up," says AMI President Aaron Crum.
"We don't forge things anymore. We use lasers to cut metal, we extrude ceramics, we do things that are different. And so because of it, we need a different labour force to make it happen."
Decades of losses
Manufacturing in the US is undergoing the same technological revolution that sent workers from agriculture to industry at the end of the 19th Century, says Lou Glazer of consulting group Michigan Future Inc.
Aaron Crum says manufacturing today needs "smart people" In the '50s, he says, factory work was a third of the work in America; now it's below 10%.
Although manufacturing employment has ticked up in recent months, adding 30,000 jobs since March, the gains pale in comparison to the losses of the past decade.
Three and half million manufacturing jobs have vanished in 10 years, bringing the current total to just under 12 million.
As employment has plummeted, productivity has soared. Not for nothing does the US National Association of Manufacturers boast that American factory workers are "the most productive in the world".
About 30 minutes' drive from the AMI plant is the ghost of manufacturing past: Willow Run.
It is an almost unfeasibly large plant that once turned out Liberator bombers, then Kaiser cars, then transmissions and car bodies for General Motors.
Willow Run closed in 2010 when GM went bankrupt. Of the plant's five million square feet, one million has been cleared for sale.
The rest of the factory is an astonishing reminder of what manufacturing used to be like.
Hulking presses the size of three-storey houses gather dust, corridors stretch into the gloom seemingly without end, and the warm air is thick with the smell of machine oil.
'No diploma needed'
Gathered round a table at a nearby diner, former Willow Run workers remember their first days at the plant. Now in their 50s, they reminisce about what it took to get a job at the plant.
"You didn't need a high school diploma," says Sterling Mullins.
GM's old Willow Run plant is a reminder of manufacturing past "You just needed to be a hard worker," says Gerry Gardner, "and you needed to show up every day, because it wasn't easy work."
Tom White grew up on a farm, "so the skills I had weren't really applicable".
Those were the days when manufacturing lifted poorly educated men and put them into America's industrial middle class.
"You could put the kids through college, we had a couple of weeks vacation," Mr Gardner says.
"And you had enough money to go out and buy a new car. We weren't rich - I'm not driving no Rolls Royce or anything - but I bought me a GM car."
Manufacturing jobs still pay well - an average of $77,186 (�49,223) in pay and benefits in 2010. But there are far fewer of them and, says Mr Glazer the consultant, they are changing.
"That path to mass middle-class work is gone," he says.
"The only high-paid factory work left is going be people who both programme and maintain machines. That work is going to be high-paid but it requires much higher skills."
The US is still a big player in manufacturing. More than 18% of global manufacturing output comes from the US factories.
And even if American manufacturing has stumbled a little recently as eurozone orders dry up, many of Michigan's manufacturers are optimistic about the future.
But the genie cannot be put back in the bottle.
Manufacturing in the US has already changed and will change further, pressed on one side by technology and on the other by globalisation.
It will be hugely difficult for less-skilled American workers to attain anything like the living standards of the generation before them
TECH MADE IN THE U.S
Wed, July 3, 2013
Amid rising labor costs in China and perhaps a rise in pure patriotism, some tech companies are choosing to come back to the United States. See which tech items are now proudly made in good ol U.S.A!
At the D11 Conference in May, CEO Dennis Woodside announced that the newest Motorola phone would be assembled in a Fort Worth, Texas factory that was once used to make Nokia phones. The company estimated that it will employ 2,000 people in the Fort Worth facility by August. The phone itself was said to be slated for late 2013 release.
Still no word on what the phone will look like, but their new advertisement released July 3 says it will be the "first smartphone you can design yourself."
Company: Corning, Inc.
Found in many electronic devices manufactured overseas including iPhones, Gorilla Glass is made in the United States. According to the biography by Walter Isaacson, former CEO Steve Jobs was said to have called Corning Glass CEO Wendell Weeks directly to request that the company begin making its Gorilla Glass product again, after production was halted when the company couldn’t find a buyer.
Company: Google, Inc.
Although it has yet to be sold, Googles wearable augmented reality technology will be made in the United States. Working with the Taiwanese company Hon Hai Precision Industry, otherwise known as Foxconn, the search engine giant will build a manufacturing plant near the companys Silicon Valley headquarters.
Company: Intel, Inc.
The chip-making company is building the world’s most advanced, high volume chip fabrication plant in the Arizona desert. In 2012, FoxNews.com reported that it will be completed later this year and will be set up to produce chips with parts only 14 nanometers wide – smaller than a strand of human hair, which is 100,000 nanometers.
Company: Google, Inc.
Googles spherical media player is designed and manufactured in the United States. However, that would be the only redeeming feature. Subject to mixed reviews due to the players lack of features, the console has yet to be sold to the public.
Company: Apple, Inc.
In 2012, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that Apple would begin to “do one of our existing Mac lines in the United States” without revealing which product it would be. At the WWDC last month, Apples senior vice president of marketing Phil Schiller revealed a newly redesigned Mac Pro, "unlike any we've ever made." Check out FoxNews.com for more information about the newly designed Mac Pro.
Company: Element Electronics
At the 2012 Consumers Electronic Show, the Detroit-based electronics manufacturer announced that it would begin to make its televisions in the United States. Its flat-screen facility in Detroit, Michigan makes it the only company currently assembling TVs in the country.
Light bulb factory closes; End of era for U.S. means more jobs overseas. American flag seller files for bankruptcy
The remaining 200 workers at the plant here will lose their jobs.
"Now what're we going to do?" said Toby Savolainen, 49, who like many others worked for decades at the factory, making bulbs now deemed wasteful.
During the recession, political and business leaders have held out the promise that American advances, particularly in green technology, might stem the decades-long decline in U.S. manufacturing jobs. But as the lighting industry shows, even when the government pushes companies toward environmental innovations and Americans come up with them, the manufacture of the next generation technology can still end up overseas.
What made the plant here vulnerable is, in part, a 2007 energy conservation measure passed by Congress that set standards essentially banning ordinary incandescents by 2014. The law will force millions of American households to switch to more efficient bulbs.
The resulting savings in energy and greenhouse-gas emissions are expected to be immense. But the move also had unintended consequences.
Rather than setting off a boom in the U.S. manufacture of replacement lights, the leading replacement lights are compact fluorescents, or CFLs, which are made almost entirely overseas, mostly in China.
Consisting of glass tubes twisted into a spiral, they require more hand labor, which is cheaper there. So though they were first developed by American engineers in the 1970s, none of the major brands make CFLs in the United States.
"Everybody's jumping on the green bandwagon," said Pat Doyle, 54, who has worked at the plant for 26 years. But "we've been sold out. First sold out by the government. Then sold out by GE. "
Doyle was speaking after a shift last month surrounded by several co-workers around a picnic table near the punch clock. Many of the workers have been at the plant for decades, and most appeared to be in their 40s and 50s. Several worried aloud about finding another job.
"When you're 50 years old, no one wants you," Savolainen said. It was meant half in jest, but some of the men nod grimly.
Under the pressures of globalization, the number of manufacturing jobs in the United States has been shrinking for decades, from 19.5 million in 1979 to 11.6 million this year, a decline of 40 percent.
At textile mills in North Carolina, at auto parts plants in Ohio, at other assorted manufacturing plants around the country, the closures have pushed workers out, often leaving them to face an onslaught of personal defeats: lower wages, community college retraining and unemployment checks.
In Obama's vision, the nation's mastery of new technology will create American manufacturing jobs.
"See, when folks lift up the hoods on the cars of the future, I want them to see engines stamped "Made in America," Obama said in an Aug. 16 speech at a Wisconsin plant. "When new batteries to store solar power come off the line, I want to see printed on the side, "Made in America." When new technologies are developed and new industries are formed, I want them made right here in America. That's what we're fighting for." But a closer look at the lighting industry reveals that isn't going to be easy.
At one time, the United States was ahead of the game in CFLs.
Following the 1973 energy crisis, a GE engineer named Ed Hammer and others at the company's famed Nela Park research laboratories were tinkering with different methods of saving electricity with fluorescent lights.
In a standard incandescent bulb, in which the filament is electrified until it glows, only about 10 percent of the electricity is transformed into light; the rest generates heat as a side effect. A typical fluorescent uses about 75 percent less electricity than an incandescent to produce the same amount of light.
Once again, we see how Globalization destroys the American economy. Our leaders want us to be on par with the poorer countries...how sad this is for the average American worker...we must continue to bow down to globalization and lose our American identity and prosperity as well.
American flag seller files for bankruptcy
When selling the business of patriotism, put emphasis on the red.
A little over a week before America celebrates its 236th birthday, Wisconsin-based flag seller Liberty Flag & Specialty Co. filed for bankruptcy protection.
Running low on cash, the nine-employee shop located half a block south of Reedsburg�s Main Street immediately asked its bankruptcy judge for permission to spend the pools of money that it had promised to set aside for its lender, Community First Bank. The cash will keep the lights on at its headquarters as executives figure out if the company can find a way to survive using Chapter 11 protection.
Liberty Flag�s financial hardship, which is coming at the peak of the industry�s flag-selling season, raises broader concern about Americans� sense of civic spirit.
Or is the bankruptcy another sign of the slow drip of manufacturing jobs to cheaper overseas markets? The U.S. Census Bureau noted Tuesday in their perennial round-up of Fourth of July-centric facts that the U.S. imported $3.6 million worth of American flags last year. China alone shipped more than $3.3 million worth of flags.
Liberty Flag executives didn�t return a phone message, and the company�s bankruptcy attorney declined to explain why the company fell suddenly short on cash.
But the folks at Liberty Flag�s biggest business partner, nearby Eder Flag Manufacturing outside of Milwaukee insisted that the financial hardship isn�t evenly spread.
Eder Flag�s roughly 180 employees stitched together about 6.5 million U.S. flags during the last year to keep up with growing demand, said Jodi Goglio, Eder Flag�s director of operations. Sales of flagpoles outpaced flag sales with a 10% growth rate, she said.
�For us, that�s a good indication that new construction is on the rise and people have increased their discretionary spending,� she told Bankruptcy Beat, adding that she found the amount of foreign-made American flags brought into the country �appalling.�
As for Liberty Flag�s $205,931.30 debt to Eder Flag, Goglio explained that Liberty�s bill was more than two years old. Liberty Flag, which bought Eder-made flags to sell them to customers and retailers, bought its first batch in 1984
Tuesday, Dec 28, 2010 - China's Export Quota Cut Likely to Rile Tech Manufacturers
BEIJING � China said Tuesday it is reducing the amount of rare earths it will export next year by more than 10 percent � likely to be an unpopular move worldwide since the minerals are vital to the manufacture of high-tech products.
China accounts for 97 percent of the global production of rare earths, which are essential to devices as varied as cell phones, computer drives and hybrid cars. Countries were alarmed when Beijing blocked shipments of the minerals to Japan earlier this year amid a dispute over disputed islands.
Concerns over China's grip on rare earths has led countries on a hunt for alternative sources. A number of companies in North America � notably Molycorp Inc. in the U.S. and Thompson Creek Metals Co. in Canada � are hurrying to open or reopen rare earth mines. Two Australian companies are also preparing to mine rare earths.
Numbers released Tuesday by China's Commerce Ministry show export quotas of the rare minerals will be down 11 percent next year as compared to the same period this year. China usually issues a second batch of quotas during the year, and it is not known how the figures will change later in 2011.
The new numbers say China is allocating 14,446 tons of rare earths among 31 companies. China allocated 16,304 tons among 22 companies in the first batch of quotas this year.
China has been reducing export quotas of rare earths over the past several years to cope with growing demand at home. A Commerce Ministry spokesman has also said that China is cutting its exploration, production and exports out of environmental concerns.
Earlier this month, state media reported that China plans to raise duties on some rare earth exports starting next year, but it did not say which minerals would be affected or how much the tax would be.
A state media report Tuesday said China is preparing to set up a rare earths association that would include nearly all of the country's leading rare earth companies, and could help them to coordinate their negotiating position. The report posted on the Sina Corp. portal said the association should be set up in May.
The United States last week threatened to go to the World Trade Organization with its concerns over China and rare earths. When asked for comment during a regular press briefing Tuesday, China Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu declined to answer.
But China has had to address the global concerns numerous times since the spat with Japan.
"China is not using rare earth as a bargaining chip," Wen Jiabao, China's top economic official, told a China-European Union business summit in Brussels in October
Use Chinese surge protector, burn house downOctober 7, 2013
Feds say hundreds of malfunction reports documented
Federal officials have announced the recall of a China-made surge protector sold to American consumers that started fires, including one that caused $916,000 damage to a home.
The unit, which also is made in the Philippines, is just the latest in a long list of defective and potentially dangerous products from China.
There have been carcinogen-laced foods for adults, dangerous toys for children and even contaminated treats and food for pets. News Reports even reported a Chinese pipeline was supplying falsified driver’s licenses and IDs to Americans.
Fake electronics have been found in thermal weapons sights delivered to the U.S. Army, computer chips were found to have been recycled, toy castles had parts that could choke children, kids’ jewelry was poisoned, air pumps exploded and oil-filled heaters caused fires.
Also, food products have been tainted with pesticides, carcinogens, bacteria and banned drugs. China was found to be raising many fish products intended for the U.S. in water contaminated with raw sewage and then compensating by using dangerous drugs and chemicals, many of which are banned by the Food and Drug Administration.
In the latest recall, about 15 million surge protectors from Schneider Electric.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said it had received 700 reports of overheating and melting, and 55 reports of property damage from smoke and fire, including $916,000 in fire damage to one home and $750,000 in fire damage to a medical facility.
There were 13 reports of injuries, including smoke inhalation and burns from touching the surge protectors.
The federal government reports the units were supposed to protect electronics from power surges and were labeled APC SurgeArrest.
They were sold at Best Buy, Circuit City, CompUSA and other stores from January 1993 to December 2002 and cost between $13 and $50.
The CPSC said consumers should immediately stop using the recalled surge protectors, unplug them and contact Schneider Electric.
Meanwhile, Food Safety News reported that both Milo’s Kitchen and Purina pet food companies were recalling chicken dog treats from China because of the unapproved antibiotics they contain.
According to investigators, a Senate panel tracked some 1,800 cases of suspected counterfeit parts through the supply chain. It found that U.S. defense contractors had purchased many of the critical components from U.S. companies who, in turn, obtained them from Chinese firms but never subjected them to testing before handing them over to the U.S. military as part of their contract.
The Senate unit, whose investigators were denied access to Chinese firms by Chinese authorities, said the evidence “consistently point(s) to China as the epicenter of the global trade in counterfeits.”
To put the growing problem into perspective, Gen. Patrick O’Reilly, director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, said, “We do not want a $12 million missile defense interceptor’s reliability compromised by a $2 counterfeit part.”
The military aircraft that have been affected include the SH-60B, AH-64 and CH-46 helicopters; and the C-17, C-130J, C-27J and P-8A Poseidon airplanes. Investigators said if the component in the FLIR’s Electromagnetic Interference Filter, or EIF, had failed, then the FLIR itself would fail and the SH-60B could not conduct surface warfare missions, which included firing its Hellfire missiles. A FLIR failure also would compromise the pilot’s ability to avoid hazards and identify targets at night, thereby limiting the SH-60B’s night mission capability.
were being purchased by the U.S. military for use in U.S. warplanes, ships and communications networks.
She wrote that malfunctions traced to the chips were being reported as early as 2005. Targeted were computers aboard U.S. F-15 fighter jets at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia. Even at that point, officials said at least 15 percent of the spare and replacement chips the Pentagon was buying were counterfeit.
Officials in the National Intelligence Agency and the FBI expressed concern then that the fakes could let the Chinese gain access to secure systems inside the United States.
Schlafly wrote at the time: “The U.S. bought 59,000 counterfeit microchips from China for use in our warships, planes, missile and antimissile systems but fortunately were discovered they are fake in time. How many didn’t we catch?”
One Senate investigator even discovered that electronic components had been harvested from “e-waste” and sometimes were sold on public sidewalks and in public markets in China.
There also are whole factories in China with up to 15,000 people employed for the purpose of counterfeiting products.
But a US News organization’s reporting on the subject even has gotten the attention of China, when the official Chinese news agency Xinhua blamed a US news Organization for over-hyping the safety issues about food and consumer goods.”
The Chinese news outlet specifically cited a story that sparked a wildfire of coverage by other media.
It was the only example of negative news coverage mentioned.
During a one-month period, 17 of 28 products recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission were Chinese imports.
•Hammock stands that are unstable and cause those who use them to fall to the ground in alarming numbers: About 3,000 imported by Algoma Net Co. of Wisconsin and sold in Kohl’s, Target and other retail outlets have been called back. There have been at least 28 reports of brackets cracking or breaking and consumers falling to the ground.
•Toy castles that could choke your young child: Some 68,000 Shape Sorting Toy Castles produced by Infantino were recalled after at least four reports of children nearly choking on colored beads that slid off the toy and lodged in their throats.
•Kids jewelry that could poison them: About 20,000 Essentials for Kids Jewelry Sets have been recalled by the CPSC because of toxic levels of lead in the paint – a frequent problem with products from China.
•Magnet toys that could perforate your child’s intestines: About 800 Mag Stix Magnetic Building Sets were recalled by the CPSC, which found the plastic sticks can be swallowed or aspirated. The agency found one 8-year-old girl was hospitalized after swallowing loose magnets. Extensive surgery was required to remove the magnets and repair intestinal perforations.
Other products found to have problems were portable baby swings that entrap youngsters, swimming pool ladders that break, faulty baby carriers that result in babies falling out and getting bruised, Easy-Bake Ovens that trap children’s fingers in openings, resulting in burns, oscillating tower fans whose faulty wiring results in fires, exploding air pumps, oil-filled electric heaters that burn down homes, notebook computer batteries that burn up computers and circular saws with faulty blade guards.
Found to have been contaminated in recent years are Chinese products ranging from pet food to seafood intended for humans.
A study showed the Food and Drug Administration found products intended for human consumption tainted with pesticides, carcinogens, bacteria and banned drugs.
Also, the deadly contaminant found in Chinese-made toothpaste – diethylene glycol – is a solvent used in antifreeze that killed 107 Americans when it was introduced in an elixir 70 years ago.
A resurgence in lead-poisoning cases in U.S. children was linked to Chinese imports – toys, makeup, glazed pottery and other products that contain significant amounts of lead and are being recalled by the CPSC on a regular basis.
Imports from China were recalled by the CPSC twice as often as products made everywhere else in the world, including the U.S.
Other reports state how China was shipping to the U.S. honey tainted with a potentially life-threatening antibiotic as well as adulterating exports with sugar.
Apple creates 2,000 jobs shifting production back to US - Technology company's renewable energy-powered Arizona laboratory set to grow sapphire crystals for fingerprint scanners
Updated November 5, 2013
By Juliette Garside - The Guardian
Nearly a decade after the closure of its last US factory, Apple is to create 2,000 manufacturing, engineering and construction jobs at a new plant in Arizona.
The California technology titan is beginning to shift production back to its home market, with the creation of its second US plant in under a year. It is understood the renewable energy powered facility in Mesa, Arizona, will produce laboratory grown sapphire crystals of the kind used in the iPhone 5S fingerprint scanner.
The initiative is a joint venture with crystal growth equipment specialist GT Advanced Technologies, which said Monday it had signed a multi-year agreement with Apple to provide furnaces to make sapphire. The material, which has been used in watch faces, is more scratch-resistant than glass and may eventually be used to make Apples screens.
Apple will have an incredibly positive economic impact for Arizona, said governor Janice Brewer. Their investment in renewable energy will also be greening our power grid, and creating significant new solar and geothermal power sources for the state.
Run with solar and geothermal energy, which uses heat from deep underground, the plant has been designed in collaboration with local utility Salt River Project.
The building will be owned by Apple, while the furnaces will be supplied by GT Advanced, with a $578 down payment from Apple which will be reimbursed over five years starting in 2015 and is understood to come with certain exclusivity rights.
Demand for industrially produced sapphire has rocketed since Apple began using the material to protect camera lenses in 2012, according to research firm IHS Suppli. The deal will help Apple secure control over a scarce resource.
Next month, the first Macintosh computer made in America since 2004 will go on sale. The Mac Pro, whose internal parts are contained in an unusual cylindrical shell, has been produced from a purpose-built plant in Austin, Texas, in a joint venture with contract manufacturer Flextronics which has created 1,700 jobs.
Apple closed its last American computer assembly plant in Elk Grove, California, in June 2004, having by then shifted much of its production to contract manufacturers in Asia. By then, the company had given up making its own products and outsourced the work to sub-contractors such as Foxconn.
But bad publicity surrounding the treatment of workers at the plants owned by Foxconn and other companies operating in China have led Apple to take more control over production.
Other companies have followed suit. Google, which now owns the Motorola smartphone group, has opened a site in Texas, where its latest smartphones are being assembled. Caterpillar, the construction and mining equipment maker, and General Electric, have been opening factories at home in recent years. Samsung has also opened a semi-conductor fabrication plant in Texas, where it makes chips for Apple.
We are proud to expand our domestic manufacturing initiative with a new facility in Arizona, creating more than 2,000 jobs in engineering, manufacturing and construction, Apple said in a statement. This new plant will make components for Apple products and it will run on 100% renewable energy from day one.
Chinese-Made Drinking Glasses Contain 1000 Times Allowable Levels of Lead
Drinking glasses depicting comic book and movie characters such as Superman, Wonder Woman and the Tin Man from 'The Wizard of Oz' exceed federal limits for lead in children's products by up to 1,000 times, according to laboratory testing commissioned by The Associated Press.
"The decorative enamel on the superhero and Oz sets - made in China and purchased at a Warner Brothers Studios store in Burbank - contained between 16 percent and 30.2 percent lead. The federal limit on children's products is 0.03 percent."
Now, come on--hasn't China been caught enough times that it might have sunk in by now that slathering lead all over just about everything they send our way might not seem like such a great idea anymore?
The AP's testing, conducted by ToyTestingLab of Rhode Island, "found that the enamel used to color the Tin Man had the highest lead levels, at 1,006 times the federal limit for children's products. Every Oz and superhero glass tested exceeded the government limit: The Lion by 827 times and Dorothy by 770 times; Wonder Woman by 533 times, Superman by 617 times, Batman by 750 times and the Green Lantern by 677 times."
When the safest piece of glassware "only" exceeds federal standards by 6,770%, it may be time to a) stop importing painted glasses from China, or b) stop importing painted glasses from China.
Why do they keep doing it?
Price, of course.
A report by David Barboza in the New York Times explains:
"Paint with higher levels of lead often sells for a third of the cost of paint with low levels. So Chinese factory owners, trying to eke out profits in an intensely competitive and poorly regulated market, sometimes cut corners and use the cheaper leaded paint.
"On the books, China�s paint standards are stricter than those in the United States, requiring that paint intended for household or consumer-product use contain no more than 90 parts of lead per million. By comparison, American regulations allow up to 600 parts per million.
�'The standard doesn�t matter,' said Scott Clark, a professor of environmental health at the University of Cincinnati. 'Remember, in the Soviet Union during the cold war, they had very high standards on the books, but they never enforced them. It was just for show.'�
Hang on, didn't China swear to god, cross its heart, hope to die, stick a needle in its eye in 2007 that it was banning lead paint on toys exported to the US?
Chuanzhong Wei, vice minister of China�s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, seemed so serious about it, so dedicated to fixing the problem.
Well, about that...don't forget that he also said that, "We should not over-propagandize the problem."
Good point, my man. Why get all tangled up in "over-propagandizing" this whole lead thing? It's not like lead is a neurotoxin that causes impulsivity and aggression. Or that a study by economist Rick Nevin shows a relationship between early childhood lead exposure and criminal behavior later in life.
�It is stunning how strong the association is,� Nevin told the Washington Post. �65 to 90% or more of the substantial variation in violent crime was explained by lead.�