Nov 29, 2006

100 Top Albums of All Time???

Take a look at the list of the TIMES TOP 100 Albums and post your comments about who you think is missing. It’s difficult to think of anything, that’s been produced lately, that will have a future influence on music. But to say that Sam Cooke, Muddy Waters and Elvis Presley are three of the top albums released in the last six years is too much of a stretch. All three deserve to be on the list because of their influence to music 50 years ago.

In the 90’s they have Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley and James Brown. Again great artists but their influence is long past. There are quite a few more I could argue about like in the 60’s they list The Velvet Underground. Lou Reed broke through several barriers and brought social commentary to music but in my opinion that album has only one great cut on it: Sweet Jane. I prefer his newer version from AOL Sessions.

Let me know what you think.

Nov 28, 2006

Christmas Bonus Video

Caraustar Closing York, Pa. Plant

As reported this morning on, Caraustar a leading manufacturer of recycled paperboard, will be closing its York, Pa. plant laying off its hourly and salaried staff of 61. Caraustar also has Pennsylvania plants in Hershey and Lancaster. No news has been released as to the plants closing date.

If anyone has any additional info please E-mail me.

Nov 27, 2006

Christmas Bonus or Performance Incentive Pay

Last year only 31% of business gave their staff Christmas bonuses. This is from a survey done by Hewitt Associates and reported on in the Dayton Business Journal by Suzelle Tempero. This was a drop of 14 % from prior years. Companies have opted to incorporate their annual Christmas bonuses into some form of incentive or performance award.

Under the tree this year: A Performance Review
Quoted from an article by Marilyn Gardner, Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor: "We're seeing the holiday bonuses disappear," says Brian Drum, president of Drum Associates in New York. "Thirty-five years ago, when I first dealt with a lot of companies that used to pay the so-called Christmas bonus, it was a gift. Today, as companies are becoming larger and consolidated, they are giving because it's performance-related." Tying rewards to the performance of the company serves to motivate workers, employment specialists say.

Small wonder companies pay this guy the big bucks.
From a PR Newswire: "They're humbug because they often subvert employee incentive rather than fostering it," says Filson, founder and president of the Filson Leadership Group, Inc. "After all, when it comes to incentives, pay and perks are far less effective than good leadership."

Nov 26, 2006

Dell Computer to Employ 20,000

In India That Is
In an article by NetworkWorld, Dell will open its third customer service center in India by the end of the year and plans to build their total employment in India to 20,000.

IBM employs 43,000 in India and is still building as stated in this Reuters article.

Microsoft ramping up to be a major presence in India as previously posted.

Government Wants You

As the aging baby-boomers near retirement, federal and state agencies have hundreds of thousands openings. In this article by Time various government agencies are facing a continual need to replace these retiring workers and the Fed. is ramping up its hiring. Federal jobs may be applied for here:

The CIA has just restyled its web site to draw more applicants and can be applied for here:
Openings are also available at state and local levels.

Like Catfish Read The Lable

Delta grown catfish sound good, check the label. Mekong Delta

In an AP article, Greg Bluestein wrote that the US catfish industry has declined 15% over the last three years because of Asian imports. These imports are basa and tra from Vietnam and China and are being sold as Catfish. Check the label if you want real catfish raised in the United States.

Our labeling laws need a lot of work.

Nov 24, 2006

Offshoring Motherhood

There are no parameters to the offshoring industry. As written in the BloggingBaby the relatively inexpensive and regulation free environment in India could grow the in vitro fertilization business to 3 billion a year. As is the normal situation, a good portion of the cost inherited to someone interested in having this procedure is meeting the legal and medical requirements.

In the United States the procedure could easily cost $50,000 if everything goes smoothly and often breaks the $100,000 mark. In India you’re looking in the range of $1,100, for the bargain shopper, to $4,500 for the deluxe treatment. Not to mention the value received of having immunity from any future legal liability.

Nov 22, 2006

Alcoa Restructuring

From the Pittsburg Business Times. Alcoa announced 6,700 layoffs through 2007. The layoffs effect it’s operations around the globe and will be spread out among numerous plants.

Earlier this year Alcoa moved it’s headquarters from Pittsburgh, where it’s been for over a hundred years, to New York. In a statement made to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review at Alcoa’s 2001 annual meeting CEO Alain Belda said:

"I want this to be clear that the corporate headquarters will be here. ... Pittsburgh is our corporate headquarters."

Nov 19, 2006

Now Here's the Extreme in Medical Offshoring

As posted on WND: Beijing official acknowledges foreigners benefited from execution of prisoners

Is there anything that China won't sell.

Nov 18, 2006

Housing Market and Imports

Do we spend that much overseas that a slump in the United States housing market could hurt global growth. As quoted from this article.

AP’s Matt Crenson reported on David M. Walker, the chief at the Government Accountability Office, speech in Austin. "We the people have to rise up to make sure things get changed."

There is one thing we can do: Buy American while you still can.

Nov 16, 2006

Jacob Weisberg was on Lou Dobbs

For years I've read hundreds of well written articles and reports about the presumed truths and falsities of outsourcing and the effects that foreign competition has on the American workforce.

The bulk of these articles, along with Mr. Weisberg’s comments, makes the point that outsourcing has been good for this country. Outsourcing allows American companies to be competitive with foreign enterprise. We need to face the fact that a healthy American company is better than no American company. Americans benefit from the lower prices that imported goods provides, as evidenced in Wal-Mart’s study that claims a savings of $2329 per year for the average family of four. Outsourcing also keeps America involved in a global economy. Our outflow of dollars creates jobs and builds economies all over the world.

Weisberg didn’t contend that this redistribution of jobs from this country to “somewhere else” is crucial for a compulsory workplace evolution. But it is a common assumption among people who favor globalization.

In my previous article I presented the notion that some of these writers were actually getting their pink slips in this latest round of newspaper layoffs. Even if the jobs being lost are not directly caused by outsourcing or foreign competition, they are still jobs that have been lost by some very dedicated and talented people. And I have to wonder if they have re-evaluated their attitudes on the subject.

Admittedly the positives of outsourcing and foreign competition can be compelling but we are not on a level playing field. If wages in India and China are a fraction of ours, and cost is the primary factor, then all labor in the United States is at risk. As the higher paying jobs are eliminated through outsourcing, then the pool for less skilled work is increased and wages are put under greater pressure. Add to that the large pool of immigrants and wages have nowhere to go. Once this downward cycle starts it can have grave consequences for the overall US economy.

At this time, with unemployment at 4.4%, the economy appears to be strong, but the truth is there are less people working today, as a percentage, than there has been since in 1991. In the last five years the medical field has added 1.7 million positions, the private sector has netted out at 0 new jobs. The last few years the housing market has carried the economy but it to, is weakening, and estimates run 300k to 900k layoffs in the near future. America was built by its manufacturing might, today our manufacturing infrastructure has been in a fifteen year downward cycle and there are no plans to change that.

I have faith in the American people but it can be a rough lesson if we don’t make a substantial commitment to support American jobs.

Newsroom Layoffs

It depends on the meaning of news.
It was the late 90’s when I became disillusioned with traditional broadcast and newsprint media. The migration of the news sources from delivering current, factual and unbiased news to an mechanism dispensing opinion, commentary and controversy seemed to emerge over night. By the late 90’s partisan reporting had actually been escalating for some time, but it was during the Clinton scandal that it appeared as if every reporter felt compelled to give their personal slant of the unfolding circumstances of the day as news. What made it worse was every opinionated broadcast or article demanded an equally annoying response.

Workplace evolution.
Over that same period of time the economy has experienced some serious bumps, and the one constant has been a drain of manufacturing jobs. Whole industries have been decimated such as steel and textiles, while the outsourcing community has experienced dynamic growth, it has reached into every sector. Articles have abounded about the benefits of outsourcing, how it’s just a required step in workplace evolution. For me, the recent rash of newsroom layoffs, here, here and here has brought the lofty status I had previously given journalists and broadcasters down to the real world. The layoffs haven't been isolated to the print media as NBC announces layoffs at Dateline. I sincerely hope that all those affected, transition well, because it’s only a step in workplace evolution.

Nov 12, 2006

Congrats to Ford & G.M

Both are ahead of Company Goals… in layoffs that is
Ford’s announced layoffs of 75,000 production workers and 14,000 white-collar positions is “a little bit ahead” of schedule, as stated by Ford’s CEO Malally. G.M., not to be outdone by Ford, announced that their restructuring program was up to 28,000 buyouts and is also ahead of schedule.

We’re not sure if the new announcement of layoffs, at Ford’s Wayne, Michigan truck plant, is part of the 75,000. But if its not, it would certainly place Ford as Job #1. As posted in the Record Eagle in Michigan I & W Industries will be closing the Traverse City Plant because Bankrupt Delphi has not renewed its contract and will be purchasing the parts from plants in Mexico.

From Car Buyer’s Notebook: General Motors Recognized for “Outstanding Corporate Citizenship, Innovative and Exemplary Business Practices” in Columbia, South America.

Good ideas have a way of spreading, Volvo and Mack trucks will be shedding over 1,000 jobs at its Dublin, Virginia plant.

And the good news: Micheline Maynard, author of “The End of Detroit” writes about Alabama’s success with plants for Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Toyota and Hyundai. Toyota should open its San Antonio, Texas plant next year employing 4,000 workers.

Nov 11, 2006

Outsourcing: Just one more insult to the American worker

Outsourcing is good for US economy: Microsoft CEO
From Rediff India Abroad Steve Ballmer blames the US government for Microsoft's outsourcing.

"With the US government making it more difficult for people to come into the US from outside, it puts pressure on companies like ours to relatively grow our talent pool in India even faster."

Ballmer also indicated that India accounted for 30% of the world's top software developers and Microsoft was working hard to tap into this talent pool.

For years Americans have been dedicating themselves to learn and get certified by Microsoft. A MCSE certificate can do more for a persons career than a degree. An entire industry sprouted around the training required for a Microsoft Certificate. Now it seems that after years of getting people to pay for their training 30% if the World's top software developers are in India. It couldn't be that they can hire 3 programmers in India for what 1 would cost here in the United States. Or is it that Microsoft has developed a marketing plan that allows them to dominate an entire national market, and it's just India's turn.

If we don't wake up the American dream will be just that.

Trade deficit will hit high-wage, non-college workers harder than others

This Briefing Paper was issued by the Economic Policy Institute in 1998. It has been proven to be prophetic and could of been written yesterday.
But eight years later the outsourcing community is now going after the professionals.
Care to take a medical vacation? Read this New York Times article "Basking on the Beach, or Maybe on the Operating Table", Patients without Borders: The Smart Traveler's Guide to Getting High-Quality, Affordable Healthcare Abroad or another well written article "Businesses May Move Health Care Overseas"
How about becoming an Engineer? "The Next Big Thing In Offshoring"
If you think your IT or R & D position is safe? "Offshoring R&D Operations to India and China Holds Great Potential for Reinvigorating the Biopharma Industry"
Here's one aspect of outsourcing even I might agree with, lawyers are under attack; "Next, Outsource All the Lawyers" I'm going to have to spend more time on this one. I hope they figure out how to outsource the politicians.

One benefit you won’t find in the United States.

Read the story by GEOFFREY YORK
Workers issued mattresses so they can sleep, under their desk, when they have to. There is no shortage of labor in China, if we are going to compete we have to get serious.

Nov 10, 2006


Is what your family will ship out of this country this year
That's the latest US Census Bureau estimate on how much the average family of four will spend this year for imported products and services. Imports to the US this year will average out to $7463 for each and every person. In contrast the average person, in 1960, spent less than $11 per month on foreign products.

China holds the US economy hostage.
With unemployment at a five year low the effect of such an outrageous outflow of American dollars is noticeable only by the lack of American made goods on retail shelves. In fact, the lower cost of imported goods is actually improving the living conditions of many Americans. Wal-Mart has been criticized as being the largest importer of products from China and other foreign markets. But a study completed for Wal-Mart, by an independent group, stated that that Wal-Mat saves the average American family $2329 per year.

But what happens when (not if) China revalues their currency, the yuan. Yesterday the Chinese issued a statement that they would consider "selling" all their US dollars, and exchange them for euros, in response to comments by our newly elected Congress that a sizable tariff could be considered to slow the torrid flow of imports. China has such a large holding of US dollars that a flood of dollars on the market would cause it's value to drop so precipitously that it could devastate the US economy.

So at the present time only smallish isolated groups have been hit by the outsourcing epidemic. There isn't an industry or its employees that hasn't felt the effect. Currently the outsourcing community is targeting accounting, legal and medical offices to ship there data entry overseas. The next time you go through McDonald's drive-thru you might be speaking to someone in North Dakota or North New Delhi.

The government is helpless to curb the flow of imports. When President Reagan first presented an investment tax credit, over 20 years ago, to get the nation out of a deep recession, it was meant to be American tax dollars supporting American businesses. There were screams of isolationism and protectionism that the program was changed to include all capital business purchases. Twenty years later a politician suggests a tariff be put on Chinese goods and the next day Beijing sends a strong and real threat.

To me there can only be one answer. It's the same answer that worked through-out American history whenever something threatens the US. It's the American people themselves, Americans helping Americans, Americans supporting Americans. What a novel idea. I know it's hard to do but please buy American.