Communications

Manufacturers Win Several Website Design Awards

The NAM is proud to announce that it has been honored with several awards for its redesign of www.nam.org. Launched in 2010, the website reflects modern manufacturing in America and highlights this critical theme: manufacturing’s vital leadership in innovation, job opportunity, technological progress and economic security. The website is a source of information about policy issues and breaking news affecting all manufacturers in the United States.  The user-friendly site features policy issues, information on how to take action and quick facts on manufacturing in America.

Design & Build Team

Christian Moritz – Vice President, Communications

Jeff Colburn – Vice President, Information Technology

James Skelly – Senior Director, Multimedia

Brian Machi – Senior Director, Information Technology

Ronni Hutchason – Manager, Multimedia

Matthew Preiss – Specialist, Multimedia

Hannah Cheadle – Digital Producer (Digitaria)

 

GD USA Interactive Media Awards Emerging Media Award WebAward The Webby Awards
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A New Phone Service Potentially Disrupting GPS

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports on LightSquared’s plan to create a new cell- and satellite-phone system, a local story for the paper since Minnesota-born billionaire Philip Falcone is behind the company and Best Buy has agreed to sell the service. Manufacturers and other companies are concerned that LightSquared’s approach will interfere with Global Positioning System devices that are so critical to transportation, supply chains and consumer products.

From “Smartphone network is aiming sky-high“:

GPS and LightSquared are in adjacent parts of the electromagnetic spectrum,” said Brian Raymond, director of technology policy for the National Association of Manufacturers in Washington, D.C. That could cause GPS signals to be “drowned out” within 4 miles of a LightSquared tower, he said. For aircraft, the interference extends as high as 12 miles above a tower, he said.

As a result, the GPS industry opposes LightSquared through a group called the “Coalition to Save Our GPS,” and has received verbal support from the U.S. Air Force Space Command that operates the GPS satellites. About 500 million GPS units are in use in the United States, the coalition said. GPS chips are widely used in smartphones, but also are used in industrial equipment as varied as aircraft and farm tractors and in cars and boats.

The NAM is a member of the Coalition to Save Our GPS.

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Way to Bias a Poll, League of Conservation Voters

So here’s a public opinion survey from the League of Conservation Voters trumpeted in a news release, “New Poll Shows Strong Public Support in Midwest for EPA Setting New Standards to Limit Pollution, Opposition to Delay.”

Wow. Striking results. Too bad the LCV does not list any of the polling questions, even in the polling memo it posts from Geoff Garin at Hart Research Associates.

But judging from the topline results summarized by Garin, the survey tested public opinion about “carbon pollution.” IV, for example:

Regarding the potential impact of new standards on carbon pollution, voters are just as likely to believe new standards that limit carbon pollution will have a positive impact on jobs and the economy (33%) as those who think that new standards will have a negative impact on jobs and the economy (35%).

Carbon pollution? You mean carbon dioxide, the gas emitted by all living creatures? Because that’s what the EPA intends to regulate under the Clean Air Act. It’s good ol’ CO2 and other greenhouse gases.

You can bet that people who hear the term “carbon pollution” think smoke and soot and dirt. Those aren’t at issue this week in the Senate.

While never having studied statistics or polling, we used to report on politics and later worked on campaigns. We had a technical term for these kinds of opinion surveys, ones that purposely presented the public with misleading terminology and loaded questions. They’re called “crap.”

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AT&T and T-Mobile: Sign of Growing Confidence in the Economy

Marketplace Morning Report’s Chris Farrell is excited about AT&T’s proposed acquisition of T-Mobile for what it means for the U.S. economy. From “The positive side of the AT&T-T-Mobile merger“:

CEOs for the past couple of years have been scared. They’ve been in a survival mode. Well, they’re now leaving the bunker. They’re willing to take a risk; they’re going to buy a business, they’re going to expand. And so, the famous phrase of John Maynard Keynes: Animal spirits of capitalism, at least in the executive suite, are being unleashed.

Extra points to Farrell for invoking Schumpeter’s “creative destruction”: “I think we’re seeing more growth, I think we’re seeing more opportunity. So overall, job creation. But if you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time, job losses.”

The Hill also blogs today on the predictable opposition for reactionary “consumer groups,” with a good response from AT&T. From “Groups say AT&T merger is job killer“:

“We have a metric that every billion dollars results in 7,000 new jobs, so I think that’s bringing new jobs to the economy, bringing new jobs to the country, extending a critical infrastructure to the country, and I think it’s good for the overall economy,” AT&T executive Ralph de la Vega said in a CNBC interview on Tuesday.

“We have said we are going to invest an additional $8 billion — $8 billion — in infrastructure to facilitate us making this merger work and extending LTE to 95 percent of the population,” he said.

Block efficiency, innovation and investment, and jobs will wither away.

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Darn. Left? Left? Or Take a Right? My GPS Just Stopped Working

So we were reading the latest GPS World Magazine and thought the article, “Act Now to Protect GPS Signal” did a nice job describing the problems industries have with a proposal to develop a cell phone/broadband service that could disrupt GPS. The website has a short and clear report, as well:

Threat to GPS. You may be following the very serious interference issue that threatens the GPS signal. LightSquared is developing high wireless bandwidth capabilities (4G-LTE) for wireless operators. LightSquared received an unnervingly fast-tracked FCC conditional waiver that permits it to broadcast a new terrestrial broadband service from 1,500-watt terrestrial transmitters. This will be in the portion of the L Band that is immediately adjacent to the band used by GPS. The FCC waiver was required as LightSquared’s FCC license only extended to dual-mode phones, but LightSquared wants to offer the option of terrestrial-only, hence the waiver. According to industry experts, the LightSquared terrestrial broadband signal is about 1 billion times the received power of the GPS signal on Earth. This may result in wide-scale GPS interference and jamming worldwide. As a result of ensuing uproar, a working group conducted by LightSquared and the U.S. GPS Industry Council was formed to study the issue.

The National Association of Manufacturers is one of the founding members of the Coalition to Save Our GPS announced earlier this month. Today the coalition announced its new members, representing major industries. From “UPS, TomTom, the American Car Rental Association, Four Key Aviation Groups and Others Sign on to Expanding Coalition Amid Fears of GPS Interference“:

New members representing a variety of concerned industries including aviation, transportation, technology, shipping, and consumer manufacturers are concerned about a serious threat to the Global Positioning System (GPS) – a national utility upon which millions of Americans rely every day.” GPS now provides smaller airports with equivalent levels of safety to those serving large commercial airlines,” said National Business Aviation Association Senior Vice President for Operations and Administration, Steve Brown. “But unlike carrier airports there are no alternate sources of landing guidance if the GPS experiences interference of any kind. The continued protection of satellite navigation is imperative to safety of flight.”

Meanwhile, LightSquared is moving forward on the business front.

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Keep the Economy Moving in the Right Direction, Save GPS

The National Association of Manufacturers is one of the founding members of the Coalition to Save Our GPS, a new group dedicated to ensuring the reach and effectiveness of the Global Positioning System.

From the news release,”‘Coalition to Save Our GPS’ Launched,”

WASHINGTON, March 10, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ – Representatives from a wide variety of industries and companies announced today that they have joined together to form the “Coalition to Save Our GPS” to resolve a serious threat to the Global Positioning System (GPS) – a national utility upon which millions of Americans rely every day.

The threat stems from a recent highly unusual decision by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to grant a conditional waiver allowing the dramatic expansion of terrestrial use of the satellite spectrum immediately neighboring that of GPS, potentially causing severe interference to millions of GPS receivers. The conditional waiver was granted to a company called LightSquared.

A representative of one of the founding members of the coalition, Trimble Vice President and General Counsel Jim Kirkland, will testify on this issue on Friday, March 11 before the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science of the House Appropriations Committee.

“GPS is essential to Americans every day – it’s in our cars, the airplanes in which we fly and the ambulances, police cars and fire trucks that help keep us safe. It’s also used in many industrial applications and even synchronizes our wireless, computer and utility networks,” the group said in a statement.  “LightSquared’s plans to build up to 40,000 ground stations transmitting radio signals one billion times more powerful than GPS signals as received on earth  could mean 40,000 ‘dead spots’ – each miles in diameter – disrupting the vitally important services GPS provides.” (continue reading…)

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A Review of a Very Busy Week for Manufacturers in Congress, Executive Branch

Catching up with last week’s blizzard of legislative action and regulatory excess…

On Thursday, Dec. 23, the Environmental Protection Agency circumvented the policymaking branch of government, the U.S. Congress, and announced its plans to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from such sources as coal-fired power plants and refineries. In a statement, Jay Timmons, executive vice president of the National Association of Manufacturers, said, “Today’s announcements demonstrate the EPA’s commitment to move forward with an overreaching agenda that will only raise energy costs and hurt manufacturers’ ability to grow, create jobs and compete in the global marketplace.” 

As its final legislative action before adjourning, the House on Wednesday, Dec. 22, agreed to the Senate’s stripped-down version of H.R. 6517, the Omnibus Trade Act. With removal of the critical Miscellaneous Trade Benefits language, the bill is more minibus: It extends for six weeks Andean Trade Preferences Act benefits for Colombia — well-deserved — and for Ecuador, now governed by the leftist government of Rafael Correa, which has attacked the rule of law and violated its treaty obligations. The bill also extends Trade Adjustment Assistance authority for retraining programs for workers affected by trade. The incoming Ways & Means chairman, Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), commented, “I would rather have passed a longer-term extension of ATPA and TAA, and unfortunately, the other provisions of the House bill died in the Senate.  I look forward to working in the next Congress on additional trade legislation, including enacting the trade agreements with Colombia, South Korea, and Panama.” 

Also on Wednesday, the House approved the Senate-amended version of H.R. 847, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, by a vote of 206-60, with 168 members not voting. The earlier House bill had a pricetag of $7.4 billion; thanks largely to the doughtiness of Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), the total cost has been reduced to $4.2 billion with stronger oversight provisions included and a cap imposed on trial lawyer fees. (Coburn news release.) The compromise language replaces the House’s early funding mechanism, a tax on multinational companies that do business in the United States. Instead, the law charges  “a 2 percent excise fee on foreign manufacturers/companies located in countries where the U.S. does not have an international procurement agreement receiving government disbursements made under future procurement agreements.  In addition, the bill would extend fees on H-1B and L-1 visas until 2015.” (Senate GOP release.) 

The Senate confirmed federal judges, but did not act on two controversial nominees to U.S. District Court of interest to manufacturers: John “Jack” McConnell, the Rhode Island trial lawyer who masterminded the state’s litigation against paint manufacturers, and former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Louis Butler, Jr., who helped strike down the state’s limits on medical liability and promoted the scheme of “market share liability” for paint manufacturers. 

On Tuesday, Dec. 21, the House of Representatives agreed to the Senate amendments to the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act as contained in H.R. 2751, and the bill now goes to President Obama for his signature. The NAM supported the bill. For more, see Food Manufacturing’s report, “What The Food Safety Modernization Act Means To You.”  (continue reading…)

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Internet Regulation is a Policy Decision that Congress Should Make

Manufacturers appreciate efforts at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to bring closure to the debate over regulating the Internet. Providing certainty in this area will encourage the deployment of new broadband services and the jobs that go with them. But  comments today by FCC Commissioner Julius Genachowski and his plan for the Commission to adopt a Net Neutrality Order at its December 21st Open Meeting just create more uncertainty. We share the views of Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker that the decision of “whether the Internet should be regulated is a decision best left to the directly elected representatives of the American people.”

Ensuring the deployment of new broadband lines and high-speed wireless data services is critical to manufacturers across the nation – these are the companies that can create the jobs we need to strengthen our economy. In the end, Congress needs to step in and adopt a comprehensive broadband policy, and it should be aimed at the deployment of services, open access and smart resource allocation, including policies that:

  • Remove barriers to entry that prevent broadband providers from offering high-speed information services to homes and businesses;
  • Balance the need for regulations against the potential to dampen private industry’s incentive to invest in broadband technology;
  • Encourage federal and state regulators to monitor the rollout of broadband services;
  • Support a federal framework to ensure fair, technology-neutral competition for all providers; and
  • Allow for the continued public/private collaboration to improve the security of the network through incentive-based legislative and regulatory tools.

In the words of Commissioner Baker, “We all believe in an open Internet.  It is open today, it is fast moving, and it serves as a vibrant growth engine for our economy and job creation.  Let’s not rush to undermine it.”

Dorothy Coleman is vice president of tax and domestic economic policy for the National Association of Manufacturers.

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You, Out of the Car! Drop that Cell Phone! Now Ride! Ride!

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood endured a new round of blog-based criticism this week after suggesting that people who use their cells phones while driving should have their ignitions disabled by an elecro-magnetic-pulse weapon, dragged out of their cars and forced to ride bicycles up and down that special lane on Pennsylvania Avenue so at least someone will use the darn thing after we spent all that money on it.

But others at the DOT have apparently talked him down.

From The Daily Caller, “After raising the idea, Department of Transportation says it’s not interested in cell phone jamming technology in cars“:

While Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood stressed personal responsibility in a recent TV appearance, the Secretary said the department was “looking into” other technological possibilities.

“I think the technology is there,” said LaHood on MSNBC, Monday. “ I think you’re going to see the technology become adaptable in automobiles to disable these cell phones.”

Or not.

“While NHTSA is currently researching various technologies, Secretary LaHood believes first and foremost that everyone has a personal responsibility to drive safely,” said U.S. Department of Transportation spokeswoman Olivia Alair. “The Department of Transportation currently has no plans to endorse any particular technology.”

Secretary LaHood has also been in a dispute with incoming Republican governors in Wisconsin and Ohio who want to reallocate federal funds for high-speed rail projects for more pressing infrastructure projects, like repairing roads and bridges.

It surprises us that no one has made the connection. The new, intrusive pat-down searches and high-tech screening devices that have caused such a fuss at airports? Isn’t it obvious? They’re intended to make air travel so unpleasant that people will ride the train instead. As The Washington Post reports today, “Instead of a TSA airport search, he’ll take the train.”

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DISCLOSE Act, an Update

Could there be a last minute push in the Senate to pass the DISCLOSE Act, legislation that attempts to limit political speech in violation of the First Amendment? Well, the President did make the bill the topic of his weekly address Saturday, a odd choice when  the salient economic and political issue is jobs.

As Ben Smith of Politico reported, “Grumble of the day: Campaign finance?!:

This week’s address attacked the Citizens United ruling, an question of campaign finance, Constitutional law, and, above all, process. The White House and some of its allies view the issue as a way of getting at the supposed Republican allegiance to big corporations. But the skepticism that this issue cuts through — at a time of overwhelming economic focus — is pretty widespread, and the decision to use any platform to talk about anything other than the economy is drawing quiet grumbles from Democrats.

“Any wonder there’s a growing impression that these guys are disconnected, not just from Democrats up for election, but from middle America?” a senior Democratic strategist said to me this morning.

Time is running out for action on the DISCLOSE Act before Congress recesses to campaign. But meanwhile, the House Administration Committee on Thursday is holding a hearing on a semi-related campaign finance bill, H.R. 6116, the Fair Elections Now Act  sponsored by Rep. John Larson (D-CT). Now that we read Rep. Larson’s news release and the bill summary more closely, we conclude it wasn’t fair in Monday’s Dispatch from the Front to call it “yet another attempt to limit political speech akin to the DISCLOSE Act.” It’s more recondite than that.

Rep. Larson’s bill is a public financing of campaigns bill, creating a Fair Elections Fund with 400 percent matches for small dollar contributions. It’s more obscure in its attempts to control speech, at least at the start, using dollars to structure and regulate campaign spending and thus the political debate.

Although there is this obvious attempt to determine expression:

(continue reading…)

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