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  • Are you ready for the self-service society?

    The IDEA Standards Committee has been addressing a quiet evolution in our industry and unless you are actively involved, their work may have gone unnoticed. Seems we are quickly moving from a full service, to self-service society. The technology and options to conduct business online have grown exponentially...
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  • Christmas Season Made All the Brighter in the Modern Era

    And now, as the Christmas holiday is upon us, some pontification ... With all the nostalgia for past Christmases, when the holidays were less commercial, I'd like to suggest at least one advancement today: Christmas time is a much more colorful season in the era of electricity. The Christmas season...
  • To Card Check or Not to Card Check, That is the Question

    As Congress prepares to leave Washington for the holiday season, weary and somewhat battered by the recent health care overhaul debate, the question remains: when - if at all - will the Senate take up the so-called "Employee Free Choice Act" ( HR 1409 / S 560 )? In a December 14, 2009 article...
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  • LEDs Signal Traffic Nightmares

    As the first major winter storm of the season takes aim on the Northeast, energy-efficiency may be contributing to guaranteed traffic nightmares. LED traffic lights can't melt the snow and ice that encrust them. LEDs may use 90 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs, and municipalities may have...
  • Electric Car Roundup

    It’s been an exciting couple of weeks for news about electric cars. Of course, as a news junkie, I might have a skewed sense of what counts as exciting. Below are some of my favorites. An interesting way to get the Christmas tree home : A man in the U.K. towed a 50-foot Christmas tree home using...
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  • Social Media and Product Safety

    This fall, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) launched " CPSC 2.0 ," a comprehensive social networking initiative designed to harness the phenomena of social media to provide consumers with important product and life safety information. According to CPSC Chairman Inez Moore...
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  • Can (Should) Congress Save the System?

    This week, the U.S. House of Representatives will consider a comprehensive set of reforms designed to respond to the recent economic crisis. H.R. 4173, the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act , creates a new federal agency (Consumer Financial Protection Agency) tasked with regulating financial...
  • ‘Tis the Season to be...Thrifty

    Consumer spending has only now begun to tick above the levels observed last year when the financial crisis and recession really snowballed. However, recent data from the Federal Reserve’s flow of funds report point to a consumer still rattled by the housing market’s implosion, stock portfolio...
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  • Stuck on the Sidelines

    Judging by the reaction , this morning’s employment report, which showed a net decline of only 11,000 jobs and 0.2 percentage point drop in the unemployment rate, is being received as a sign the job market is on the mend. While the rapid deceleration in job losses is certainly welcome news, some...
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  • Recession Reins in the Inflation Grinch

    After several consecutive years of robust growth, the cost of Christmas took only a slightly larger bite out of the household budget this year. PNC Bank’s Christmas Price Index registered a 1.8 percent gain in 2009, as the economic downturn helped to restrain prices for many of the items that appear...
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