Culture and Entertainment

RIP, Richard Cornuelle, Classic Liberal, Former NAM EVP

From The New York Times, “Richard Cornuelle, Libertarian Author, Dies at 84“:

Richard Cornuelle, a libertarian writer whose best-known book, “Reclaiming the American Dream,” championed volunteerism as a means of addressing social problems like poverty, unemployment, delinquency and urban blight, died on April 26 at his home in Manhattan. He was 84.

Richard Cornuelle

Published in 1965, “Reclaiming the American Dream” was Mr. Cornuelle’s first book. In it, he used the phrase “independent sector” to describe the network of existing voluntary associations — foundations, churches, labor unions, trade groups and fraternal organizations — that, he argued, could marshal their resources to solve a range of contemporary ills more efficiently than government could….

In the 1950s, Mr. Cornuelle was vice president and editorial director of the Princeton Panel, a center for the study of American capitalism; he was later executive vice president of the National Association of Manufacturers.

In reading about Cournelle (pronounced Cornell), we discovered a jeremiad against the NAM of the 1970s in his book, “De-managing America: the final revolution (1975).” The tone is harsh, and the passages ask a trade association to be something it is not, but that was 35 years ago. It’s an interesting read.

Peter Boettke, a professor of economics at George Mason University, also cites the book in a tribute to Cornuelle in a blog post, “The Passing of a True Prince of Modern Classical Liberalism: Richard Cornuelle (1927-2011)“: (continue reading…)

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Circumnetting Today’s Washington Post

Many items of interest and irritation in today’s Washington Post relating to the economy and manufacturing.

Why overregulate leading U.S. innovators?FDA approval process faulted at hearings on medical devices,” covering last week’s hearing on medical device regulation in the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health:

FDA leadership is in the process of overhauling the 35-year-old system used to clear most devices, triggering a slew of reports and analyses aimed at influencing the agency’s plans.

On the one side are device manufacturers, who say that FDA reviews have gotten longer and less predictable, forcing some companies to launch their devices overseas to stay in business. They say American patients no longer have access to the latest medical treatments, forcing some to fly to Europe for surgery.

Infrastructure took only 40 years?Md.’s Intercounty Connector gets ribbon-cutting as opening is delayed for snow”:

Given that officials once thought the Intercounty Connector would open by 1970, the fact that they finally cut the ribbon on Monday and then postponed the opening until Wednesday seemed very much in keeping with the story line. (continue reading…)

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If Elected, I Will Moonlight as a Hollywood Press Agent!

As the natural gas industry group Energy in Depth reports, “At a Capitol Hill press conference today, a small group of critics opposed to the responsible development of job-creating American oil and natural gas – including U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), actor Mark Ruffalo, and GasLand filmmaker Josh Fox – are poised to renew calls for a one-size-fits-all, federal takeover of hydraulic fracturing, a 60 year-old energy stimulation technology used to enhance 90 percent of the nation’s onshore wells.”

Lee Fuller, executive director of Energy In Depth, issued a statement:

It’s clear that this event, scripted by a Hollywood publicist one week before the Academy Awards, is focused on achieving staged drama and inside-the-beltway chatter about a ‘documentary’ that’s been debunked in its entirety.

Refusing to engage in a fact and science-based dialogue, New York City stage director Josh Fox, his Hollywood friends, and a few congressmen are more concerned with stunts and scare tactics than working to address critical energy security issues. The American people deserve and expect nothing less than a serious discussion and common sense solutions regarding national energy policy, not tired, misleading talking points from Hollywood elite who’ve never been on a drilling rig.

American natural gas and oil production must absolutely be done safely and in way that protects our environment and water. And for more than 60 years, state governments have ably and effectively regulated hydraulic fracturing. Energy-producing states, who understand their unique geology best, have inspectors and expert scientists in place to ensure that fracturing is done safely not impact groundwater.

The full statement is here. EID offers debunk the bunk-filled film, Gasland, at the group’s website here.

Seems like even members of Congress  can’t resist the lure of movies and movie stars, which is apparently what Mark Ruffalo is. They should try. Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), for example, was a prominent promoter of the anti-Chevron movie “Crude,” a film revealed to be a cynical part of the PR strategy directed by U.S. trial lawyers in a corrupt ashakedown suit.

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On Undercover Boss: Denny Slagle of Mack Trucks

Great to see a manufacturer working  on the factory floor for the popular CBS reality series, “Undercover Boss.” The president and CEO of Mack Trucks, Denny Slagle, has the honor next Sunday in the episode airing at 9 p.m. Eastern.

Mack Trucks provides the nuts and bolts in a news release, “CBS to Air Mack Trucks Episode of Undercover Boss, Sunday, February 20“:

In production of the episode, Slagle worked side-by-side with employees at the Macungie, PA, plant that assembles every Mack truck sold in North America; the Hagerstown, MD, plant that produces every Mack engine sold in North America; and the Baltimore, MD, distribution center that provides parts to Mack dealers and customers.

“I came away from this experience with a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by our front-line employees,” Slagle said. “Mack people live up to the brand’s reputation – they’re tough, genuine, dedicated, and reliable. The future truly is bright for this 111-year-old American icon.”…

Each week, Undercover Boss follows a different executive as they leave the comfort of their corner office for an undercover mission to examine the inner workings of their companies. While working alongside their employees, they see the effects that their decisions have on others, where the problems lie within their organizations and get an up-close look at both the good and the bad while discovering the unsung heroes who make their companies run.

Denny Slagle, Mack President & CEO, working in disguise at the company’s Macungie Assembly Operations during production of the hit CBS show, Undercover Boss.

A description of Mack Trucks, Inc., from the company’s website:

Founded in 1900, Mack Trucks, Inc. is one of North America’s largest producers of heavy-duty trucks. MACK® trucks are sold and serviced in more than 45 countries through a worldwide network of more than 670 sales, parts and service centers.

Mack is a member of the Volvo Group.  The Volvo Group is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of trucks, buses and construction equipment, drive systems for marine and industrial applications, aerospace components and services, and is the world’s leading producer of heavy-diesel engines (9-16 liter).  The Group also provides complete solutions for financing and service.  The Volvo Group, which employs about 100,000 people, has production facilities in 19 countries and sells their products in more than 180 markets. 

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After Industrial Designers, a Stamp to Honor Assembly Lines

The U.S. Postal Service has unveiled the details of its 2011 commemorative stamp program, which includes among its honorees Ronald Reagan on the centennial of his birth, the Indianapolis 500 and Latin music greats. It’s exciting to see the tribute planned for the “Pioneers of Industrial Design,” as well. From USPS.com, “2011 Stamp Program Debuts“:

The Pioneers of American Industrial Design stamp pane honors 12 of the nation’s most important and influential industrial designers. Encompassing everything from furniture and electric kitchen appliances to corporate office buildings and passenger trains, the work of these designers helped shape the look of everyday life in the 20th century. The stamps go on sale in July.

Austin Weber, editor of ASSEMBLY Magazine, proposes a great idea to follow up on that series — a stamp to honor the centennial of the industrial assembly line. From “It’s Time to Stick It” at the magazine’s Assembly Blog:

In just a few years, we’ll mark the centennial of an important milestone in world history – the modern assembly line. On April 1, 1913, the first moving assembly line for a large-scale manufacturing application began to operate at Ford Motor Co.’s Highland Park, MI, factory. It was used to mass-produce flywheel magnetos, which were a key part of the Model T’s revolutionary ignition system.

Ford engineers tinkered with the concept and adopted it in other parts of the 4-story factory. On Jan. 14, 1914, the chassis assembly line became power-driven when an endless chain was attached to an electric motor. By the end of the year, manufacturing engineers developed chain-driven assembly lines for mass producing dashboards, bodies and upholstery….

I urge the USPS to celebrate the centennial of the assembly line by issuing a stamp in either 2013 or 2014. How about a series of four stamps that depict a Model T (or a generic automobile) in various stages of assembly? Or, perhaps better yet, how about a block of four stamps that depict a wide variety of assembly lines, products and eras, such as a 1914 automobile, a 1944 bomber, a 1974 refrigerator and a 2014 wind turbine?

Excellent, excellent ideas. Austin has submitted a letter to the U.S. Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee proposing the series, and we join him in encouraging the commeration of this important centennial. (He wrote about those historic events in the February 2003 issue of ASSEMBLY.) The address is:

Stamp Advisory Committee
c/o Stamp Development
U.S. Postal Service
Suite 5013
1735 N. Lynn St.
Arlington, VA 22209-6432

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RIP, Geraldine Doyle, Image for Famed ‘Rosie the Riveter’ Poster

Detroit Free Press, “Geraldine Doyle, inspiration for ‘Rosie the Riveter,’ dies

LANSING — A memorial service will be held Jan. 8 for Geraldine Doyle, who said her photo was the inspiration for a popular poster lauding the efforts of working women during World War II.

Ms. Doyle died Sunday in Lansing. She was 86.

A war production committee used Ms. Doyle’s likeness from a photo taken when she was a 17-year-old operating a metal-stamping machine at American Broach & Machine Co. in Ann Arbor. The head-scarf-wearing woman flexing her bicep in the “We Can Do It!” poster encouraged women to enter the workforce.

Another “Rosie” was Rose Will Monroe, who starred in a promotional film for War Bonds. She died in 1997 in Clarksville, Ind., The New York Times reported:

Mr. Pidgeon had gone to the Willow Run Aircraft Factory to appear in the promotional film and found out that there was a woman named Rose who was a riveter, Mrs. Jarvis said. The song ”Rosie the Riveter” by Kay Kyser, inspired by a Long Island woman named Rosalind P. Walter, was already a hit. And the poster, with the title ”We Can Do It” above a painting of a muscle-flexing woman in a bandanna and overalls, was becoming a worldwide symbol of women in the defense industry in World War II. A real Rosie the Riveter, Mrs. Jarvis said, proved too good for the film’s producers to resist.

To hear the Allen Miller Orchestra performing the song, “Rosie the Riveter,” go here. (Couldn’t find the Kay Kyser version online in public domain. Is it this one?) The sheet music is available here from the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historic Park in Richmond, Calif. 

The Richmond Shipyards produced more merchant ships in WWII than any other shipyard. Richmond’s government has a different, more progressive attitude toward industry and national defense these days. We can’t do it!

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In the Culture Today

The darn funny Pearl Before Swine has just started a new storyline that draws on energy extraction.

Hydrofracking does NOT contaminate the aquifer with rodents.

And how is that Brewster Rockit: Space Guy! can turn around a strip about TSA screenings in less than two weeks? Impressive literary reference, too.

Meanwhile, Black Eyed Peas are everywhere in an Oprah sort of way with their new release, “The Beginning.” As the ultimate consumer product, the group is comfortable dropping the names of other consumer products. From The Washington Post’s review today, a citation of lyrics from the song “XOXOXO,” which the reviewer hates, hates, hates: “Girl you stole my heart like a klepto/Butterflies in my tummy need Pepto/Bismol.”

That’s got to be good for sales.

Meanwhile, we’re still waiting for a revival of Carter’s Little Liver Pills as a universal cultural reference. America’s too bilious these days.

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Happy Thanksgiving, Drive Safely, and Save Your Fats and Grease

The National Association of Manufacturers closes at noon today. We wish everyone an enjoyable, gratitude-filled Thanksgiving.

If you’re on the road, remember the words of William Bendix, who says, “When you drive your car, remember that your only guarantee of safety is lawful driving. Obey the traffic regulations and drive carefully. The care you take may save a life, and that life may be your own.”

Since we cite William Bendix, here’s a Thanksgiving-themed episode of “Life of Reilly” from 1944, “Turkey Hunt,” sponsored by the American Meat Institute.

And remember, if you have used fats left over …

(From Archive.org, the Old Radio OTR Public Service Announcements Collection)

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Haynesville! The Movie

From The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, “Documentary about natural gas field debuts on CNBC,” announcing tonight’s premiere of Haynesville, a documentary film that tracks the lives of three people affected by the big Haynesville Shale natural gas field in Louisiana and East Texas.

The full title is Haynesville: A Nation’s Hunt for an Energy Future. The film outlines potential economic benefits of the field and shale gas development in the U.S., as well as concerns of residents it could directly affect.

The three “stars” of the film are Kassi Fitzgerald, a single mother and community activist who tries to help secure a favorable gas lease agreement and environmental protections for the rural area where she lives; Reegis Richard, a pastor who uses drilling proceeds to benefit his growing church and expand education and recreation opportunities for youths; and Mike Smith, a self-described “country boy” and lover of the outdoors who marvels at his new millionaire status while trying to keep his rural-oriented life on an even keel.

Haynesville will premiere tonight 9 p.m. Eastern on CNBC. The one hour documentary will repeat at 10 p.m., midnight and 1 a.m.

The movie’s website is www.haynesvillemovie.com. We’re already awaiting the sequel, Marcellus!

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’60 Minutes’, Hydrofracturing, and Cowboys Beat Giants

“60 Minutes” ran a segment Sunday on the growth of natural gas production in the United States thanks to hydrofracturing; the technology uses pressurized fluids to crack shale formations deep underground to release the gas. Given the CBS program’s tendency to sensationalize, we were a little surprised to see industry representatives make such positive comments about the piece, “Energy: The Pros and Cons of Shale Gas Drilling: Emerging Energy Source Burns Cleaner Than Coal, Could Reduce U.S. Dependence On Foreign Oil.”

As The Times-Leader of Wilkes-Barre reported in “TV report focuses on gas drilling”:

Chris Tucker, of EnergyInDepth.org, an organization that promotes the benefits of natural gas drilling, said the segment was “fairly balanced,” although the show didn’t get everything right.

“I think they did a great job of telling the story of real people, everyday people, all across the country whose lives have changed for the better thanks to the development of this clean, American resource,” Tucker said.

“They didn’t quite get it right when they attempted to venture into the regulatory history of hydraulic fracturing. The reality is that fracturing technology is among the most thoroughly regulated procedures that takes place at the wellsite, which is a big reason why it’s been able to compile such a solid record of safety and performance over the past 60 years of commercial use.”

The most heated debates over hydrofracking are occurring in Pennsylvania and New York, regions where the Marcellus Shale formation is being developed (less so in New York). Critics often claim methane contaminates water wells and even causes explosions. A “60 Minutes” scene showed a man lighting a flame while filling a water jug from his well. But, as Travis Windle of the Marcellus Shale Coalition points out in the Times-Leader story, “Pennsylvania has a long and well-documented history of naturally occurring methane entering private water wells. ‘It will take private water well standards and fact-based reporting on pre-existing methane in water wells from shallow sources of contamination to demonstrate how safe shale gas development is,’ he said.” (continue reading…)

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