30th May 2012

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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30th May 2012

ECOtality Sues California Public Utilities Commission Over Electric Rate Settlement

EV charger company ECOtality is suing the California Public Utilities Commission, claiming regulators gave a near monopoly on public chargers to rival NRG in an electric rate overcharge settlement.
| May 29, 2012

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30th May 2012

Indianapolis 500 Race Report

Indianapolis 500 Race Report

5/28/2012 12:59:00 AM

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Circuit: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (2.5-mile oval) Speedway, IN
2011 Winner: Dan Wheldon (Bryan Herta Autosport Honda) 170.265 mph average
Weather: Sunny, hot, humid, 91 degrees F

Indianapolis 500 Results:

Fn. St. Driver Team Engine/Chassis Laps Average Speed/Notes
1. 16. Dario Franchitti-W Target Chip Ganassi Honda Dallara 200 167.734 mph avg., led 23 laps
2. 15. Scott Dixon-W Target Chip Ganassi Honda Dallara 200 -0.0295 seconds, led 53 laps
3. 8. Tony Kanaan KV Racing Technology Chevrolet Dallara 200

-0.0677 seconds, led 7 laps

4. 27. Oriol Servia Panther DRR Racing Chevrolet Dallara 200 -2.9166 seconds
5. 1. Ryan Briscoe Team Penske Chevrolet Dallara 200 -3.6721 seconds, led 15 laps
6. 2. James Hinchcliffe Andretti Autosport Chevrolet Dallara 200 -4.0962 seconds, led 5 laps
7. 21. Justin Wilson Dale Coyne Racing Honda Dallara 200 -4.2430 seconds
8. 14. Charlie Kimball Chip Ganassi Racing Honda Dallara 200 -4.6056 seconds, led 2 laps
9. 20. Townsend Bell Schmidt Hamilton Honda Dallara 200 -5.6168 seconds
10. 6. Helio Castroneves-W Team Penske Chevrolet Dallara 200 -7.6352 seconds
11. 10. Rubens Barrichello-R KV Racing Technology Chevrolet Dallara 200 -7.9240 seconds, led 2 laps
12. 11. Alex Tagliani Bryan Herta Autosport Honda Dallara 200 -8.2543 seconds, led 2 laps
13. 12. Graham Rahal Chip Ganassi Racing Honda Dallara 200 -8.7539 seconds
14. 18. JR Hildebrand Panther Racing Chevrolet Dallara 200 -11.3423 seconds
15. 17. James Jakes-R Dale Coyne Racing Honda Dallara 200 -13.4494 seconds
16. 23. Simon Pagenaud-R Schmidt Hamilton Honda Dallara 200 -14.1382 seconds
17. 19. Takuma Sato Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda Dallara 199 Did not finish-crash, led 31 laps
18. 9. E.J. Viso KV Racing Technology Chevrolet Dallara 199 Running
19. 22. Michel Jourdain Jr. Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda Dallara 199 Running
20. 25. Sebastian Bourdais Dragon Racing Chevrolet Dallara 199 Running
21. 28. Ed Carpenter Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet Dallara 199 Running
22. 30. Katherine Legge-R Dragon Racing Chevrolet Dallara 199 Running
23. 13. Ana Beatriz Andretti Autosport Chevrolet Dallara 190 Running
24. 4. Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport Chevrolet Dallara 187 Did not finish – crash, led 59 laps
25. 7. Josef Newgarden-R Sarah Fisher Hartman Honda Dallara 161 Did not finish – mechanical
26. 24. Sebastien Saavedra Andretti Autosport Chevrolet Dallara 143 Did not finish – mechanical
27. 3. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Chevrolet Dallara 123 Did not finish – mechanical
28. 5. Will Power Team Penske Chevrolet Dallara 79 Did not finish – crash
29. 29. Mike Conway A.J. Foyt Racing Honda Dallara 78 Did not finish – crash
30. 31. Bryan Clauson-R Sarah Fisher Hartman Honda Dallara 46 Did not finish – handling
31. 26. Wade Cunningham-R A.J. Foyt Racing Honda Dallara 42 Did not finish – mechanical
32. 33. Jean Alesi-R Fan Force United Lotus Dallara 10 Did not finish – handling
33. 32. Simona de Silvestro HVM Racing Lotus Dallara 8 Did not finish – handling

W – Previous 500 Winner R – Indianapolis 500 Rookie

Franchitti Claims Third “500″ Win in Honda 1-2 Finish

Dario Franchitti came from the rear of the field to win a dramatic Indianapolis 500 Sunday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, leading Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon to the checkered flag in a 1-2 finish for Honda in near-record heat and humidity. It is the third Indianapolis 500 victory for Franchitti, and the third for Honda with engine manufacturer competition.

After starting 16th, Franchitti was hit during his first pit stop by the car of E.J. Viso, spinning Franchitti around and dropping him to the rear of the field. But he fought back to the front, reaching the lead for the first time on Lap 151 and then entering into a multi-car battle for the victory over the final laps.

Once at the front of the field, Franchitti spent the late laps trading the lead with Dixon, part of a record 34 lead changes during the race; while the Honda Dallaras of Takuma Sato and Justin Wilson; as well as the cars of Tony Kanaan and Ed Carpenter all looked like potential race winners.

Carpenter was the first to fall by the wayside, spinning without contact on Lap 180. On the Lap 184 restart, Kanaan jumped from fourth to the front on the run to Turn One, but the yellow came out again just three laps later as Marco Andretti spun and crashed without injury.

On Lap 194, the green flag waved for the final time and both Franchitti and Dixon passed Kanaan. Sato also was quickly past Kanaan and then Dixon. On Lap 199, Sato moved alongside Franchitti and attempted a last-lap pass for the lead as they entered Turn One. But Sato lost control mid-corner, made contact with Franchitti and then spun hard into the wall, crashing without injury.

Franchitti was momentarily sideways, but corrected for the slide and claimed his third Indianapolis 500 victory, and the 96th IndyCar win for Target Chip Ganassi Racing at the 96th running of the Memorial Day weekend classic. Dixon finished second, with Honda drivers Justin Wilson seventh, Charlie Kimball in eighth and Townsend Bell, ninth.

The IZOD IndyCar Series now enters June with a run of four consecutive race weekends, starting with the June 3 Belle Isle Grand Prix temporary street circuit race in Detroit, Michigan, followed by oval races at Texas Motor Speedway, The Milwaukee Mile and Iowa Speedway.

Dario Franchitti (#50 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) started 16th, finished 1st, his third Indianapolis 500 victory, 31st IndyCar victory (all with Honda power) and first win of 2012: “I moved over for Takuma [Sato]. I knew he was coming and I moved up the track. I felt it was a good move, but he got loose underneath me. It was the last lap of the Indianapolis 500 and I didn’t expect him to lift. I think he did everything right up until the point he lost the rear of the car. It kind of reminded me of Emerson [Fittipaldi] and Little Al [Unser, at the 1994 Indianapolis 500] at the end there. This means the world. This is Indianapolis.

I also have to say ‘thank you’ to Honda. I have all of my [IndyCar] wins with them and today showed us all exactly why. They worked incredibly hard throughout the event, and never more so than in the week after qualifying. Honda showed us all today what they can accomplish.”

Scott Dixon (#9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) qualified 15th, finished 2nd, led 53 laps: “We had the car to win today. Between the efforts of the team and Honda we had the power, reliability and mileage we needed, but at the end it was Dario’s race. He did a hell of a job today, so I’m super happy for him, but super gutted for myself. Still, it couldn’t be a better day, a 1-2 finish for the Target Chip Ganassi team at the Indianapolis 500.”

Art St. Cyr (President, Honda Performance Development) on today’s Honda victory in the Indianapolis 500: “This is why we go racing. To be able to participate in such a competitive race is one of the most amazing things in my career with Honda. It was an exciting day, and a great race for the fans – but pretty stressful for the participants! Any of several Honda drivers would have been a deserving winner today, but somehow it seemed destined that this was Dario’s day. He drove a fantastic race, never giving up after getting hit during his first pit stop. It was an inspiring drive, and an incredible race, that had all of us riveted throughout. My congratulations to all our associates at Honda Performance Development, who worked so hard to make this victory a reality. What a great day.”

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30th May 2012

2013 Volkswagen Golf GTI Cabriolet

Good news for cabrio fans: the new 2013 Volkswagen Golf GTI Cabriolet will begin arriving in dealerships across Europe from mid-June with prices in Germany starting at €31,350.

The new Golf GTI Cabriolet features the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine with 207hp with a standard six-speed manual or an optional dual-clutch DGS transmission driving the front wheels.

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29th May 2012

BMW Zagato Coupé Concept: Photo Gallery

BMW has always been more aggressive with its roadsters’ styling; check out the avant-garde 2003-08 BMW Z4 for an example. For folks who think the aggressive look of the current BMW Z4 is just too conventional, feast your eyes on the BMW Zagato Coupé Concept. Co-developed with automotive design consultancy Zagato, this one-off design could point toward a more radical-looking Z4 in the coming years. Continue below for more photos.

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29th May 2012

Airbag Saves Man, Then Slowly Kills Him

A driver from Scotland became involved in a six car pileup. The airbag deployed, the man escaped uninjured. Then, the airbag slowly killed him.

The airbag broke a window and got cut. Chemicals from the ruptured airbag of Ronald Smith’s Vauxhall Insignia’s airbag triggered chest and breathing problems, the Daily Record says. Two months after the crash, the driver was taken to a hospital with an infected lung. After 21 days on a respirator, Smith died. Coroner Carney said:

“I accept the death was attributed to bronchial pneumonia and pulmonary fibrosis and that it was developed after this incident in November, and the deceased’s exposure to noxious substances. This man died as a result of this incident and more pointedly because of the explosion of his airbag.”

Vauxhall did not want to comment.

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