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Obama Stands up for Tire Workers

September 12th, 2009 1 comment

President Barack Obama took a stand on Friday night by imposing an import tax on tires imported from China.  This has been an issue I have been involved with since 2004 with the “Export Tires not Jobs” campaign. And, I am proud to say that this is a step in the right direction for salvaging what is left of the US Tire Manufacturing Industry.

China may appeal the Tariff to the World Trade Organization according to the Wall Street Journal and according to the New York Times China denounced the new 3 year declining tariffs within hours of its announcement.  Appeals and denouncing the tariffs are probably on the horizon as it is in China’s best interest since the USA is likely the largest importer of Chinese exports.

Tariff’s will begin September 26th at 35% for one year with 30% the second year and 25% the third in the form of an Ad Valorem tax in addition to the duties and taxes in place prior to the announcement. The Ad Valorem tax, often called VAT, will only cover tires for cars, light trucks, vans, and sport utility vehicles.

The timing of Obama’s announcement is particularly suspicious as the meeting of the top 20 economic countries, known as the Group of 20,  is in 2 weeks.  This will come off to many, and me, as a political move to pay back union members for their support and financing his election and will be used as a trading card in the Pittsburgh meeting.  The opposition argument will be protectionism, like Daniel Ikenson of the Cato Institute, or international obligations. This bold and perhaps controversial move by the Obama Administration will be put on the chopping block for other political gain in the international politics marketplace.  My early prediction is that Obama’s stand for Tire Workers is short lived or best case scenario will be scaled back.

My biased opinion is we have to take care of ourselves first.  As a friend of several tire workers I have seen the impact of globalization of tire manufacturing.  With plants closing, hours cut, and jobs lost the illegal flood of Chinese made tires has impacted domestic tire workers and most importantly my family and friends. If the tariff does stand it sets a precedent for other Ad Valorem tariffs to come.  I hope it will be a Tariff on Steel Products particularly Tubular as it is cleaner than steel pipe made in China.

Michelle Obama’s Walking Shoes cost $540

May 5th, 2009 No comments

Lanvin Mens Shoes - Fall-Winter 2008/09

What do you think of First Lady Obama’s sporty new shoes?

Michelle Obama was caught sporting her new pair of casual tennis shoes with a hefty price tag of $540.  I have never heard of the French Fashion company Lanvin – but can tell you $540 for a pair of dog walking shoes is expensive.

My New Balance 574’s usually do the trick for comfort and reliability.  But if you really want a pair of shoes like First Lady Michelle Obama you can for a nice price tag.

Check out the NY Daily News article below or live on their site, here.

First Lady Michelle Obama steps out in Lanvin sneakers and they’re only $540!

BY Amy Diluna
DAILY NEWS FASHION EDITOR

Friday, May 1st 2009, 3:22 PM
They’re in poor taste. That’s way too much to spend on sneakers, especially in a recession.

Michelle Obama has taken casual to a haute new level.

While volunteering Wednesday at a D.C. food bank, the First Lady sported her usual J.Crew cardigan, a pair of utilitarian capri pants and, on her feet, a sneaky splurge: trainers that go for $540.

That’s right: These sneakers – suede, with grosgrain ribbon laces and metallic pink toe caps – are made by French design house Lanvin, one of fashion’s hottest labels. They come in denim and satin versions, and have been a brisk seller all spring.

They’re out of stock at posh Meatpacking District boutique Jeffrey, and Barneys New York boasts a limited selection of the sneaks, which are a cult favorite among fashionistas.

It’s likely Michelle got hers through Ikram, the Chicago retailer that often outfits her.

“They’re shoes,” the First Lady’s reps sniffed when curious reporters inquired about the fancy footwear.

Michelle has stepped out in Lanvin before while getting down to business. A week ago, she shoveled dirt at a tree planting while wearing the line’s chiffon tank.

Dresses and strappy pumps cost upward of $1,500, while tops go for $400 to $1,000.

Other celebrity fans of Lanvin’s costly kicks include Ellen DeGeneres and Kanye West, who has blogged about his faves.

As the family’s primary dog walker, Michelle clearly requires comfortable footwear.

“I got up at 5:15 in the morning to walk my puppy,” she joked Thursday. “That’s how my day starts. Even though the kids are supposed to do a lot of the work, I’m still up at 5:15 a.m. taking my dog out.”

She’ll be trodding on New York’s sidewalks Tuesday for the first time as First Lady. Michelle will meet with staff at the U.S. mission to the United Nations. Later, she headlines Time magazine’s “100 most influential people” gala.

[email protected]

With Kenneth R. Bazinet

Maglev Comes to Birmingham

April 17th, 2009 3 comments

High Speed Rail MapMaglev high speed trains are coming to Birmingham.  In a proposal by the Obama Administration high speed trains will connect Atalanta, New Orleans, Houston, and Birmingham in the Gulf Coast Corridor.

According the Federal Railroad Administration the “vision is to transform the nation’s transportation system, by rebuilding existing rail infrastructure while launching new high speed passenger rail services in 100-600 mile corridors that connect U.S. communities. Similar to how interstate highways and U.S. aviation system were developed in 20th century: partnership between public sector and private industry, including strong Federal leadership that provided a national vision”.

The proposal was released yesterday (April 17, 2009) and by no means definite. Funds have been allocated to the tune of $8 Billion initially and $1 Billion annually over the next five years. These funds are considered a down payment on what is surely to require many more Billions of dollars from state and local governments. First round Federal Grants are expected to be awarded by the end of Summer 2009.

Obama’s administration is promising a transparent approach in development and outlines what appears to be a three phase plan to implement based on merit and benefits.

  • First round of applications will focus on projects that can be completed quickly and yield measurable, near-term job creation and other public benefits.
  • Next round to include proposals for comprehensive high-speed programs
    covering entire corridors or sections of corridors.
  • Additional funds will be available for planning to help jump-start corridors not yet ready for construction.

Ten Major Corridors have been Identified.

  • California Corridor (Bay Area, Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Diego)
  • Pacific Northwest Corridor (Eugene, Portland, Tacoma, Seattle, Vancouver BC)
  • South Central Corridor (Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, Little Rock)
  • Gulf Coast Corridor (Houston, New Orleans, Mobile, Birmingham, Atlanta)
  • Chicago Hub Network (Chicago, Milwaukee, Twin Cities, St. Louis, Kansas City, Detroit, Toledo, Cleavland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Louisville)
  • Florida Corridor (Orlando, Tampa, Miami)
  • Southeast Corridor (Washington, Richmond, Raleigh, Charlotte, Atlanta, Macon, Columbia, Savannah, Jacksonville)
  • Keystone Corridor (Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh)
  • Empire Corridor (New York City, Albany, Buffalo)
  • Northern New England Corridor (Boston, Montreal, Portland, Springfield, New Haven, Albany)

Also, opportunities exist for the Northeast Corridor (Washington, Baltimore, Wilmington, Philadelphia, Newark, New York City, New Haven, Providence, Boston) to compete for funds for improvements to the nation’s only existing high-speed rail service, and for establishment and upgrades to passenger rail services in other parts of the country.

The proposed high speed rail system is intended for immediate economic relief creating new jobs, specifically in the construction and manufacturing sector.  Proposals have also been made that this system will be a green system.  A date for breaking ground on the project was not proposed in the announcement.  Planning and funding application time line goes through February of 2009.  So the immediate impact on Middle-class workers isn’t likely until years to come.

From the Federal Railroad Administration on the Gulf Coast Corridor:

Gulf Coast High Speed Train Corridor
Major Cities: Houston, New Orleans, Mobile, Meridian, Birmingham, Atlanta

Overview: The designated Gulf Coast Corridor would use New Orleans as its hub, with three spokes reaching (1) Houston, (2) Mobile, and (3) Birmingham and Atlanta. At Atlanta, the Gulf Coast Corridor would connect with the Southeast Corridor to Charlotte, Richmond, Washington, and Northeast Corridor points. At present, no corridor-type intercity rail service operates in this corridor, although Louisiana has been working with Amtrak and the Kansas City Southern to initiate a commuter service between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. The FRA has made study grants to the Southern High-Speed Rail Commission (SHSRC, formerly known as the Southern Rapid Rail Transit Commission), which comprises appointees of the three member states (Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama).

Status: Current activity includes a Baton Rouge to New Orleans conceptual engineering study and a New Orleans gateway rail improvement project.

For Further Reading on the High Speed Rail system from the Federal Railroad Administration:

Other News articles:

Presidential Honeymoon Period Over

January 20th, 2009 No comments

Obama Barack PresidentAs President Barack Obama gets ready for his first night in the White House the Honeymoon is ending. Wednesday begins his first full day as President.  Obama’s Presidency begins in a time of Economic Turmoil and trying times internationally.  It is unlikely that he will get a long honeymoon that has been extended to presidents past.

Pres. Obama inherits a two front war in the Middle East.  A weakened economy full of scandal and turmoil that directly effects the falling employment rates.  Many people from around the world will be  looking to the Leader of The Free World for guidance.

So to spare you the obvious problems that face America lets take a look at days gone by with information from the United Steelworkers Rapid Response.  Only history will tell the legacy of Former George W. Bush today’s stats are dim and perhaps indicative of how history will be written.

The Legacy of George W. Bush

Printable format

When Bush Took OfficeToday
Unemployment Rate4.2%7.2%
National Debt$5.7 trillion$10.6 trillion
Manufacturing Jobs17.2 million13.0 million
Americans without Health Care Coverage40 million46 million
Employers Offering Some Type of Insurance Coverage69%63%
Annual Premium Cost for Family Coverage$6,230$12,680
Americans in Poverty31.6 million37.3 million
U.S. Trade Deficit$362 billion$688 billion
Cost of College6 Public Private $3,766 $17,377$6,585 $25,143
  1. U.S. Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment, Hours, and Earnings from the Current Employment Statistics Survey, Manufacturing Employment, 2000 & 2008.
  2. Kaiser Family Foundation, Employer Health Benefits, 2008 Annual Survey.
  3. Kaiser Family Foundation, Employer Health Benefits Surveys.
  4. U.S. Census Bureau, most recent available data is for 2007.
  5. U.S. Census Bureau, data is from a 12-month period of December-November for both timeframes.
  6. College Board, Trends in College Pricing, data is for tuition and fees only.

Image from Counton2.com
Statistics eblast original source for USW.org