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Month: March 2008

You Read Their Lips Correctly

You Read Their Lips Correctly

  A National Press Club invite to see senior advisors – all with impressive resumes – from the three presidential campaigns talk about trade issues in the wake of the NAFTA uproar a few weeks ago!  How could I possibly turn that down?   Senator McCain’s representative was of course the most boring.  Though one shouldn’t oversell the benefits, the apparent Republican nominee is all for free trade and its prevailing gains, doesn’t want debates over the environment (where Read more [...]
U.S. Fire Administration Officially Endorses Fire Sprinkler Systems for Homes

U.S. Fire Administration Officially Endorses Fire Sprinkler Systems for Homes

U.S. Fire Administrator Greg Cade announced this week that his agency is officially adopting the position that all homes should be protected by residential fire sprinklers. Only fire sprinklers can detect fire AND automatically control it – affording families the time to make a safe escape and protect valuables and property. Cade announced that in January and February alone, over 300 people have already lost their lives in home fires.   In its announcement the U.S. Fire Administration Read more [...]
Digging for the Goods

Digging for the Goods

This week brought us a few key indicators: consumer spending, durable goods orders and home sales (both new and existing). Although the personal consumption report showed income growth accelerating at the same time inflation was easing, consumers apparently remained a cautious lot since real spending edged up a paltry 0.1 percent. With consumer confidence plunging to its lowest point in 15 years (excluding March 2003), slower spending growth is not at all surprising. This article (subscription required) Read more [...]
Brain Drain

Brain Drain

We’re not talking about the 1989 Ramones album (though it might make an interesting soundtrack here) nor even the classic concept of an emigration of trained and talented individuals from one nation to another due to lack of opportunity, conflicts, or health hazards.   In today’s world of standardizations, Brain Drain refers to the loss of knowledge due to resignations, retirements, reorganizations, and relocations of talented engineers who write electrical and other standards.   Read more [...]
Transformer Core Steel A Problem in the Near Future

Transformer Core Steel A Problem in the Near Future

At an IEEE PES Transformer Committee meeting I attended recently, there was a discussion on the impact of the DOE transformer efficiency rule for Medium-Voltage Dry-Type and Liquid-Immersed distribution transformers on core steel.  It is expected that there will be an increase in demand in 2009 and price increases are likely in 2010 when the rules go into effect. It is not clear if the steel mills can meet the demand for the higher grade steels (M3 or better) that will be required.  A more Read more [...]
A Swing Towards More Regulation

A Swing Towards More Regulation

Trusting the marketplace is “out” and regulation is “in.” So suggests a front-page Wall Street Journal story on March 24. “The idea that less regulation is better for the economy has held sway in Washington since the Reagan administration,” the story begins. “Now that consensus is crumbling ….”  The writer points to the housing “crisis,” turmoil on Wall Street, and safety challenges involving food, drugs, and toys as the driving forces for more regulation.   Of course, political Read more [...]
Time for ACTA

Time for ACTA

  Last week we submitted comments to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative on the proposed “Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement” between this country and our principal trading partners.  With counterfeiting in the electrical equipment industry a growing problem worldwide, the idea of getting governments to all up their games with better enforcement and cooperation is pretty much a no-brainer.    Specifically, we would like the ACTA to include provisions that:  Read more [...]
The Devil Is in the Details

The Devil Is in the Details

A hectic, roller-coaster week (yet mercifully short) on equity markets as everyone digested Bear Stearns collapse and its possible outcomes, a large interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve and piles of cash shifting away from commodities. On the data front, a handful of indicators offered a look at the manufacturing sector, with the most important being the monthly reading on industrial production. Many analysts latched onto the fact that overall industrial output sank 0.5 percent in February, but Read more [...]
A New Era of Rationality at EPA

A New Era of Rationality at EPA

Not many in the business community would readily call the EPA "rational." So let me be among the first. Inside EPA (subscription only) and eNewsUSA both report that the agency that brought us regulation without cost-benefit analysis has determined the EU's REACH initiative is -- gasp! -- too unworkable even for devoted regulators. Of course, EPA didn't use those exact words. According to eNewsUSA's blog, EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson the other day told a Global Chemical Read more [...]
Home Builders Association Presses the Attack on the 2008 NEC

Home Builders Association Presses the Attack on the 2008 NEC

The South Dakota Electrical Commission is under attack by the South Dakota Home Builders Association to amend the AFCI provisions in the 2008 National Electrical Code adoption.  The Commission is having a rules hearing April 25, 2008 at 10:00a.m. at 1981 East King Street, Chamberlain, SD at the Americinn (605) 734-0985.  For more information, click on http://www.nema.org/stds/fieldreps/codealerts/ and subscribe to NEMA’s Code Alerts. Read more [...]