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Month: November 2008

Obama’s CEA Chair Should Provide Economic Balance

Obama’s CEA Chair Should Provide Economic Balance

Business advocates are among those most pleased with President-elect Barack Obama's decision to named Christina Romer as the head of his Council of Economic Advisors. Conservative economist Greg Mankiw called it "an excellent choice."  One thing that has a lot of people excited is that, along with Fed Chair Ben Bernanke, Romer is considered one of the top economic experts on the Great Depression. Which should come in handy if we're to steer clear of another one. Even more Read more [...]
CBP Seems to Have Seen the Light

CBP Seems to Have Seen the Light

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), an arm of the Department of Homeland Security, today indicated that it has not forgotten that there are two elements to "secure trade" - security and trade. Based on constructive comments from traders, importers and manufacturers, CBP announced significant changes to its January 2008 proposal to require advanced security filings for imports entering the U.S. through maritime ports. The "interim final rule" (IFR) will be Read more [...]
Of Deflation and Depressions

Of Deflation and Depressions

Large declines in the CPI and PPI during October have prompted a flurry of concerns that deflation may be taking hold. Add to that, a host of lousy economic data such as the recent spikes in unemployment insurance claims, declines in consumer spending and tumbles in manufacturing activity and talk of Great Depression 2.0 has started to crop up. This abundance of negative data makes it tough for even the most bullish person to sugar-coat the health of the economy right now. Some parallels to the Read more [...]
Recession May Slow But Won’t Stop Smart Grid

Recession May Slow But Won’t Stop Smart Grid

Jesse Berst of the Smart Grid Newsletter wonders whether the recession will kill the Smart Grid. In today's "Grid Automation" column, he details reasons why it might and reasons why it won't. He says a recession might kill Smart Grid because (1) utilities can't afford to pass the higher costs on to consumers, (2) falling energy demand and prices are diminishing incentives for energy efficiency, and (3) it might "fall prey to the same panic that has gripped Read more [...]
The Multiplier Effect

The Multiplier Effect

Top execs from the Big Three automakers come to Washington this week to make a pitch for a federal infusion of cash to save their companies. Whether you think the government should prop those companies up or let them fall -- and the NAM has come out in favor of providing some relief -- their successes and failures have long had a ripple effect on the American economy. The auto industry's gone as far as to develop a video detailing the many Americans who rely on that industry for their livelihoods. Read more [...]
The North Platte Canteen – A Wonderful Gift

The North Platte Canteen – A Wonderful Gift

Last summer, I was passing through North Platte, Nebraska. For those who do not know, North Platte, on the Union Pacific Railroad, has the largest and busiest railroad yard in the U.S., and witnesses the passage of over 100 trains a day. North Platte however is known for something else, something wonderful and poignant which happened there during World War II.-the North Platte Canteen. Just after Pearl Harbor in 1941, a rumor spread throughout the town that members of the Nebraska National Guard Read more [...]
Going Global

Going Global

Globalization is a good thing, particularly when it comes to freeing up trade and capital flows. Unfortunately, it looks like the recession has infested all the world's largest economies, leaving some (wrongly) pushing for a little autarky. The euro zone has very likely fallen into a recession for the first time ever under monetary union as real GDP in the 15-country area contracted for the second consecutive quarter. Today we learned Japan is also in the same boat, with Read more [...]
On Second Thought, We Do

On Second Thought, We Do

For a while now, Costa Rica has been more than a little hesitant to ratify its free trade agreement with the United States.  Never mind that "DR-CAFTA" (the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement) has already been negotiated, passed by the U.S. Congress, and implemented with all the other countries, many Ticos (as they are pleasantly referred to in Spanish) have wanted to stay apart.  Truth be told, the votes have probably always been there in the San Jose Senado, Read more [...]
Trade Risk?

Trade Risk?

The word on the street here in DC is that U.S. Customs and Border Protection is making some changes to its proposed rule to require advance security filings for all imports that pass through maritime ports. Known as "10+2" -- for the ten data elements that importers will be required to file with CBP for each container and two elements that the carriers will have to handle -- the long-awaited final rule is expected to emerge before the Bush-Obama changeover. A major reason Read more [...]
Amazing Facts about DICOM

Amazing Facts about DICOM

DICOM is the name of a very unusual standard.  You won't be surprised to learn that this name is an acronym for Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine.  However, you might be surprised to learn that the DICOM Standard: Has proved itself over a 15 year period.  (This standard really works.) Is the world's only standard for medical imaging. Covers virtually every medical specialty that uses imaging. Is expanded and maintained by a network of 26 separate working Read more [...]