31st July 2011

News & Rants: Latest Reviews From MotherProof.com

Whether you’re considering the 2011 Lexus CT 200h, a hybrid hatchback, or the 2011 Toyota 4Runner, which has stayed true to its SUV roots, we have car reviews that will appeal to all kinds of families. Here are our latest reviews:

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31st July 2011

Los Angeles, California Red Light Camera Program Officially Canceled

Red light cameras are coming down in Los Angeles, California after midnight on Sunday. The city council yesterday voted unanimously to drop the program primarily over the county court system’s refusal to enforce unpaid tickets, depriving the city of millions in expected revenue. The council instructed the city attorney to work with American Traffic Solutions (ATS) to decide the cheapest way to remove the systems and process all tickets issued through the end of the month.

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31st July 2011

Parking issues in Beijing



A report in today’s China Daily is a reminder of the overriding importance of being able to park your car when you get to your destination. Sure, you can drive for pleasure or for pose value, but the chances are high that you will also want to use your car to get from A to B and if there’s no parking available at B, you will eventually consider better – more ‘time efficient’ – alternatives. Driving around looking for a parking space or having to pay a big premium to park the motor is no fun (my own central London experience). Cities need transport strategies in order to avoid congestion and to make living with the car work for the population.

At a recent Frost & Sullivan event that considered urban mobility issues, BMW’s ‘Director of Project Mobility Services’, Dr Bernhard Blattel, described the BMW value proposition with regard to sustainability, stating that the consumer needs to “enjoy their way”, and therefore use a particular service because they like it, not because they are forced to. As such, he said, BMW is focusing on comfort and convenience in developing electric vehicles that satisfy this requirement, as well as removing the barriers between personal and public transport, with innovative car sharing schemes and connectivity.

The future, he said, will need to see a joint effort between both public and private transport in order to develop practical and sustainable solutions. Either side cannot afford to progress individually. Dr Blattel said: “As time runs out…we need to use every lever we have to get towards sustainable transport solutions…the future is more about a joint effort of these two means than having a battle between them”.

BMW also says that the growth of the ‘mega-city’ across the world will be a defining global societal trend in the coming decades. Finding room for the cars we want to drive will be a growing challenge, alongside making them more environment friendly and perceived as such, especially in urban areas. Places like Beijing are now hitting the buffers after a rapid surge in car ownership. Interesting that some car companies are putting plenty of thought into the connection between purchase of the car and its use.  

Something to ponder next time you are stuck in an urban traffic jam.

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31st July 2011

Manufacturing Troubles Remain a Drag on Recovery, Trade & Jobs


via The Seattle Times

by Jon Talton

Top of the News: The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index seems consistent with recovery, coming in at 53.6 for November; any number above 50 signifies expansion in the sector. Unfortunately, the reading sagged from 55.7 the month before, tripping up what economists had hoped would be a steady climb out of recession.

A deeper look shows that the index provides no relief for the biggest immediate problem facing Americans, unemployment. Only six of 18 manufacturing industries reported growth in employment. Only 11.7 million Americans worked manufacturing as of October. That compares with 17.3 million in October 1999.

Not only do manufacturing jobs pay better than their counterparts in service industries, they tend to add real value to economic activity (as opposed to selling mortgage swindles). They are also twined with our trade issues. Even fewer manufacturing jobs are now in industries that export, a key part of our huge manufacturing trade deficit.

Unfortunately, this phenomenon was happening even before the Great Recession. A report from the Economic Policy Institute shows that manufacturing employment between 1965 and 2000 never dipped below 16.5 million. This even as manufacturing shrank as a share of the economy (take out Boeing and it would be much smaller). This changed as imports surged after China joined the WTO and other Asian factory centers upped their game. By 2004, the number was lower than any time since 1950.

“It is often claimed that declines in manufacturing employment stem entirely from productivity growth,” according to EPI economist L. Josh Bivens. “However, rapid productivity growth is the norm, not the exception, in manufacturing. What is new about the manufacturing job crisis of the last four years is the sharp downturn in the ratio of domestic production to demand.”

Indeed, American steelmakers are shrinking yet again.

The Back Story: The official unemployment rate including discouraged workers and part-timers seeking full-time work is 17.5 percent. But Shadow Government Statistics, a provocative and reliable site, argues even this underestimates the problem. Try…22 percent.

Complete Article



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31st July 2011

Dukes of Hazzard “Replacement” Star Dies

Christopher “Chip” Mayer enjoyed a brief run of celebrity in 1982 as Vance Duke on the top-rated TV series after stars Tom Wopat and John Schneider staged a contract holdout.
| July 29, 2011

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