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A bump in the road...

For those following this year's Presidential election festivities (as well as keeping tabs on the GOP's ongoing record-breaking race to obstruct, deconstruct, vilify & destroy all possible progress in the United States), there's a possible minor news item that may be seized upon by the Right to try and take the wind out of the sails of President Obama's re-election bid.

The President is running on job creation, saving the auto industry, rebuilding the economy & creating new energy initiatives (among other things), and up to now his record hasn't been bad. Recent news from GM, however, may give some of the opposition party something to grab onto:

GM Will Stop Building Volt Plug-In to Cut Inventory

General Motors Co. said it will halt production of its Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid car for five weeks in an effort to control its inventory. The car maker had a stock of about 6,300 Volts on hand at the end of February.

[...more...]

Apparently, this will lead to the layoff of 1,300 workers. Make the jump»

Business and Value: Groupon?

For fourteen years, I ran a store in Brooklyn, NY called Shakespeare's Sister. In the back, at first, we had a cafe. Later, I turned it into an art gallery and retreat... and eventually into additional sales space for the gift store which occupied the rest of the space. Naturally, I learned a great deal about retail. Now a teacher, I still keep an eye on what is happening in the world I left.

The other day, I came across a blog post, "Groupon is a Straight-Up Ponzi Scheme."  Though I think it's a little more complicated than that, I think the author may be right.

Let me explain. Make the jump»

Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Tsunami Impact, Tech Shortage Edition

The tsunami that struck Japan in the wake of the recent major earthquake has wrought tremendous damage in terms of both loss of life and physical destruction. But the impact isn't limited to Japan. Via Mashable (hat-tip Roxy);

As Japan digs out from its worst earthquake and tsunami in recent history, and engineers scramble to contain the damage at the Fukushima nuclear plant, another crisis is unfolding behind the scenes: massive disruption to the global supply chain.

As relatively unimportant as it may seem, Japan’s factories are the lifeline for electronics companies the world over. Some 20% of all semiconductors and 40% of all flash memory chips sold in the world’s smartphones, tablets, cameras and computers are made in Japan.

[...Read more...]

Affected manufacturers and suppliers include Toshiba, Sony, Texas Instruments and Hitachi. See the original Mashable article for more detail on the products impacted, and share your thoughts in comments below about what other types of impact the series of disasters may have on both Japan and the world at large.

Keep the Japanese people in your thoughts, meanwhile, and remember: This is an Open Thread.

A US NHS universal medical system could become America's largest employer

Originally posted 2011-02-11 12:29:30 -0500. Bumped and promoted. - GH

(Written by an American expat living in the European Union)
There are 59 million Americans who don't have medical insurance. There are 132 million Americans who don't have dental insurance. What if there were an alternate United States where everyone was medically and dentally insured? Well it just so happens that I live in what some call the United States of Europe otherwise known as the European Union and here everyone that I see everyday is fully medically insured. They live on average longer than we do in America and they pay less for their medical system than we do in America, even though they insure 100% of their populations.
Why can't the Teabaggers see this? If they could see it, would it change anything? Would it change you? It changed me. It is possible to change America, one person at a time. All we have to do is get the word out that universal medical works in every major industrialized country in the world, therefore it can also work in America not only to provide health care but also to become America's biggest employer with jobs that pay a living wage that can't be outsourced.

  Make the jump»

Thieves Guild: Keeping Tabs on the Big Banks

For those who may be wondering what some of our illustrious "big" banks might be up to -- well, you're not alone. Seems like some of the big banks, part of what I like to refer to as the thieves guild, are under some form of investigation:

  Bank Investigations Cheat Sheet

The main players?

  1. Citigroup
  2. Credit Agricole
  3. Credit Suisse
  4. Deutsche Bank
  5. Goldman Sachs
  6. JP Morgan Chase
  7. Merrill Lynch (now part of Bank of America)
  8. Morgan Stanley
  9. UBS

It's always good to keep a finger on these things...

Pondering 2012

After watching President Obama and the Democratic party water down healthcare reform with the help of AHIP and seeing them get insurance corporations some serious corporate welfare, water down FineReg with the help of the Bankers that destroyed the world economy by propping them up with trillions of dollars worth of free money so they could keep on rolling in their bonus money and profits, I am finding it hard to see how this can possibly lead to anything good in any way, shape or form:

President Barack Obama is preparing new overtures to business that may start with a walk into the headquarters of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a retreat with corporate chief executive officers, according to people familiar with his plans.

The Obama administration has been at odds with the Chamber, which fought Obama’s health-care and financial regulatory overhauls and committed $75 million to political ads in the midterm congressional elections, mainly directed against Democrats. The CEO summit would be a way to address complaints from some executives the Democratic administration is anti- business.

Markos at Daily Kos hits the nail on the head with this one: Make the jump»

Healthcare: Why Can't We Get the Congressional Option?

BENEATH THE SPIN • ERIC L. WATTREE

There's at least one thing that Republicans do much better than Democrats, and that's marketing their initiatives. It doesn't matter how regressive the idea, Republicans manage to frame it in a way that if you oppose it you look like you're either degenerate, or at the very least, un-American. For example, instead of accurately calling themselves "The Order of Religious Bigots Dedicated to Shoving Our Version of God Down America's Throat," they market their insanity as "The Moral Majority," and instead of being honest and calling themselves "The Public Vagina Brigade," they call themselves "The Right to Life" proponents (even though they're willing to let that very same life starve to death after it's born). Conservatives get a lot of milage out of their creativity in this area, and progressives would do well to follow suit.

The initiative to legalize same-sex marriage would have been much more marketable, for example, if it had been dubbed "The Right to Love."  And the same is true of healthcare reform. Proponents of a public option for healthcare could make life a lot more difficult for opponents in congress if instead of calling it "The Public Option" they simply dubbed it "The Congressional Option" - that way the issue would be self-explanatory. It would force every member of congress who placed the interest of the insurance industry over the welfare of his or her constituents to explain why they want to deny the American people the opportunity to opt into the exact same plan that congress and their families enjoy.

But I only bring this issue up as an introduction to a much more serious problem - demagoguery. All of the public manipulation above is symptomatic of a system that's out of control. It's a clear example of how politicians who are suppose to represent the people, are using marketing and public manipulation to feather their own nests. Make the jump»

As Newspapers Go Under Local Radio Can Benefit

Promoted. Originally posted 2009-06-06 11:10:50 -0400. -- GH

As we have been hearing over the past several months, more and more newspapers are finding themselves up against the ropes and shutting down.

I'm not going to get into the printed press' blame game and their claims that if a local newspaper goes under, less "reliable reporting" will be available to the public.

No here in this posting it's not about loss, but gain and opportunity.

While it will be three years next month when I was caught up in the nationwide CBS Radio downsizing, I still keep in touch with former co-workers and do still on occasion listen to or at the very least visit the website of one of my former stations, WTIC-AM in Hartford, CT.
Make the jump»

The Rigor Mortis Chronicles

Bumped and promoted. Interesting and worthwhile bit of reflection from the national gadfly.  It was originally posted the other day (I lost the timestamp). -- GH


My 'day job' has me traveling today.  I am in rural MA, but I could be anywhere.  Looking at this hotel and the surrounding...um...civilisation, I am actually nowhere.  That has nothing to do with the city, though.  It has everything to do with the effect this economy is having on the people.

I've traveled for business for a couple decades now and I have this habit of getting up at the crack of dawn, showering, getting dressed and being the first one down to the hotel restaurant for breakfast.  It gives me a little mental edge to know that I'm prepared and ready for the day and I avoid any risk of becoming - that dumbass that rolled into the meeting late with his necktie crooked and his cell phone unmuted. Make the jump»

GOP Destroying World-Class Wisconsin University System

Wisconsin used to take pride in its university system supported by a bipartisan consensus to create a world-class educational facility.

Now, under the leadership of today's GOP-led state Assembly, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and its sister campuses are under assault, deadly assault.

From the blog Waxing America: Make the jump»

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