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Author: John Meakem

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 [...]
How to Buy an Ally

How to Buy an Ally

During my first (of two) years working at the U.S. Embassy in Honduras in the ‘90s, electricity rationing was the norm. 12 regularly scheduled hours a day with and 12 without. I ate a lot of meals at the cafeteria in the Embassy – which had its own generators to keep the refrigerators running – and went to bed very, very early in the evenings. Sure, the climate was such – think Miami at 3000’ altitude – that I never needed heating or AC, yet it still wasn’t the most inspiring of periods (especially Read more [...]
The Easier Course

The Easier Course

If you’re going to be the Secretary-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), you’d better be a marathoner.  Trying to get more than 150 nations -- most all of whom don’t want to reform any of their own “market irregularities” -- to agree on a new international trade liberalization agreement has proven to be extremely difficult over the past 8+ years, if not extremely bad for the health. Which is why Pascal Lamy, the current victim at the head of the WTO, likes to go out and actually Read more [...]
Way Beyond Tunnel Vision

Way Beyond Tunnel Vision

Despite my already having undergone several parathyroid gland tests, the endocrinologist still couldn’t figure out why the calcium levels in my blood are high, so she told me it was time for an MRI scan – “I hope you aren’t claustrophobic”. Well, it’s not every day that you get to be a crash test dummy for a NEMA product – especially, by coincidence, after paying my annual life insurance premium earlier in the morning -- and so I took proper precautions. Specifically, to cover my eyes I took Read more [...]
“Couldn’t Have Said It Better Myself”

“Couldn’t Have Said It Better Myself”

The October 15 "U.S.-EU High-Level Regulatory Cooperation Forum" was meant to be a cheery affair, but there were cracks in the façade that couldn't be covered over.  Yes, cast against the larger goal of addressing barriers to Transatlantic trade, regulators on either side of the ocean are now not only more aware of each other, they can and do communicate with each other regularly.  But the various business, consumer and legislative dialogues haven't really yielded much Read more [...]
Why Did They Name An Orchestra After Electric Light?

Why Did They Name An Orchestra After Electric Light?

Why Did They Name An Orchestra After Electric Light? Working at NEMA as a non-technical specialist often has its “Hey what about…?” moments. And so in these days of financial uncertainty, while others might be seeing their lives pass before their eyes, here I am out of the blue remembering ELO. How did that British group of the ‘70s/’80s come up with the name “Electric Light Orchestra”? It turns out that, while they did at first use a spoof of GE’s logo, ELO’s emphasis was meant Read more [...]
"We’re in the Bazaar Now"

"We’re in the Bazaar Now"

Thus spoke Congressman Gary Ackerman of New York in a meeting three weeks ago as Capitol Hill's end-of-session scramble was starting, essentially indicating that it was well-nigh impossible to predict which legislative proposals would be going through.  And this was before the financial crisis really hit.  Well, now that the dust has settled and Congress has gotten out of Dodge, which NEMA trade priorities were actually approved?  As it happens, the financial crisis actually Read more [...]
“All This For A Turbine”

“All This For A Turbine”

Got juice? In Afghanistan power means, well, power, with international and Afghan forces recently going all out to bring a strategic source back on line. We’re talking about Kajaki, a lake and dam northwest of Kandahar that were key points-of-attack when the U.S. beseiged the Taliban in 2001. Now with the “students” (which, intriguingly, is the translation from Urdu of “Taliban”) pushing back in recent months, the challenge was to get the hydroelectric facility going again – the Taliban Read more [...]
Nuclear Medical Consultations

Nuclear Medical Consultations

Last week I called my mother, who grew up on the Gisland, not far from Brooklyn. "Hello Muddah." "Hey Bambino." "Say Muddah, it looks like I may have a ty-roid problem." "Djoo been getting angry and trowing a tirade?  Dey been taking good care of youz in dat office der for a decade now, but you always worry me working on international tirade issues!  You want to go back to being on welfare -- excuuz me, a "Diplomat" with the Department Read more [...]
Headline “Electra”

Headline “Electra”

It’s worth clicking on the following link to access a recent CNN World Report on the European electrical and electronic industry’s new “Electra” initiative, which seeks to foster new technologies, an improved environment, and better Continental business conditions: http://www.orgalime.org/News/news.asp?id=279 The actual Electra report, “Twenty Solutions for Growth & Investment to 2020 & Beyond”, can be accessed via http://www.orgalime.org/ While we have our differences with regards Read more [...]