GM’s Fate Offers Hope

Sixty Percent Good for the Country
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Everyone has felt the effects of the recent economic recession. Some of the biggest companies in America closed, or came close. One of the industries to feel the impact of recession was the automobile industry. From bailouts to bankruptcy to completely revamped management teams and business models, the big car companies came crashing down to earth.

GM was no exception. Known for its sluggish decision making, this giant fell hard and required billions of dollars in government aid to remain in business. Now, reports, promises, and an entirely new structure of business offers a glimmer of hope to the company and the Americans who view this icon as a symbol of prosperity within our economic structure.

Although GM faces the largest slump in car sales according to predictions, it is promising to pay off government loans in less time than the mandated payment term of 2015. The company spent 40 days under the supervision of courts, which is less time than most expected. During that time, the changes made to the company should produce the speed, customer care, and streamlined decisions necessary to pull the company up by its bootstraps.

“We recognize that we’ve been given a rare second chance at GM, and we are very grateful for that. And we appreciate the fact that we now have the tools to get the job done,” CEO Fritz Henderson said in a news conference.

Some of the tools come in an eight member executive committee which will replace two senior leadership forums. This alone indicates the company’s seriousness in the matter of improvement. It is estimated that over the coming year 6,150 positions in the salaried employment departments will be cut. Of those destined to be eliminated, 450 positions are with executive jobs.

Based on this and the fact that the government will now own a majority of the company, it is looking as if GM can see the light at the end of the tunnel. If GM stays relevant, produces vehicles a more earth conscious society wants, increases the speed at which decisions are handled, and improves customer care, they may just pull off one of the biggest come backs in corporate history.

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Obama’s Stimulus Package: Is it Working?

The Economics of Wall Street
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Obama’s aggressive stimulus plan may be failing, or at the very least, hitting a stumbling block. 467,000 were shed from the U.S. economy, giving hints that the average American worker has not seen relief from the recession.

The current rate of unemployment is an at the highest rate seen in the last 26 years, sitting at an unpleasant 9.5. Thursday’s reports show an alarming trend that promises the end of the recession and the loss of jobs to come are not yet at an end.

Alan Ruskin, a strategist at RBS Greenwich Capital. “The employment report can largely be taken at face value, and the face value story is a labor market that is not improving nearly as rapidly as the May data suggested.”

Before depression sets in at the newest reports, it should be noted that June did show an improvement from the starting point of January as more than 600,000 jobs per month were being lost at that time. Also, the jobs lost according to the report are widespread among several industries and not limited to specific job markets. Some of this loss could be the simple fluctuation that occurs naturally within any one industry over a period of time.

In layman’s terms, this translates into the short term goal of Obama’s stimulus plan not being met. While there is still hope and a sense of promise from the data that the long term effect of the stimulus package will be reached, the immediate state of the economy is not showing it. The recession will end based on a simple physics concept: All things end. The ending of one process will spark the beginning of the next. The solution offered by Obama is not one that can be expected to have immediate results the population desires. Instead, it will have a slow but steady increase in success as the economy recovers with each new aspect of the package as it is introduced.

The bottom line: be patient. There will be a brighter economic future, but nothing gets fixed overnight.

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Eating Together

A header for the "Meals" infobox tem...
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Remember when you were a child and families sat down together at the table every night at the same time for dinner? You probably weren’t allowed to inform your parents you weren’t going to eat at that time or tell them you’d just skip because it wasn’t your favorite dish. Back then, everyone in the family was expected to clear the calendar for dinner, regardless of what important thing you had to do.

I can. I remember telling my friends I had to go, dinner was on and Momma expected me for supper. I couldn’t call home with an excuse from a cell phone (no one had them back then) and even if I had, I would have been in trouble the second I walked through the door.

Supper or dinner, depending on where you lived in the country, was an important activity and one not to be missed. Families used the time to connect, relax, communicate, catch up, and enjoy each other.

Then we grew up, got jobs, went to college, had families, and got busy. Unlike our parents, we didn’t insist on eating together once the kids started school and began to have schedules of their own. We stopped sitting down at the table and instead clamored for the best seats in front of the television to  eat. We stopped talking to each other, learning about each other’s days, and enjoying the comfort that comes with being with family.

And we paid a price.

If you’re wondering about that price, look around. It’s our health. Obesity is a huge American problem along with stress, heart disease, cholesterol, diabetes, and other dietary influenced diseases.

As we stopped having the family dinner and opted for the eat on the run alternative, we began to experience change. Fast food became preferred over a meal that took hours to prepare. Calories and balance were tossed and replaced with convenience and speed.

In our quest to keep up pace with everything we wanted to do, we stopped exercising and grabbed the car keys, even for those errands less than two blocks away! There was no stopping us-we wanted to do more, be more places, experience more simultaneously. And, we found a way to do it.

At first it was just a few pounds. We disregarded these as a part of getting older. Then, when our tempers shortened and demands on our grew taller, we said it was a part of aging, to be expected, nothing to worry about.

By the time we reached our 40s, many of us began to really feel the price we’d paid. Unlike our parents, who didn’t see as many heart attacks, strokes, incidences of diabetes, ect, until closer to the golden years of 60’s and 70’s, we began to need our medical providers earlier and more often.

That’s when it finally hit home. The family dinner was much more than just a time of day we ate. It was the release, the stepping back from our lives, we needed to stay healthy. Our parents understood this and made sure we had it.

Obesity rates as a percentages of total popula...
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Studies back this up. Recent studies show evidence that teens have less stress, adults less depression, anger, and heart disease when a family dinner is part of a daily routine. Part of the reason this may be true is that we tend to cook healthier at home than we eat out in restaurants. Therefore, the family dinner helped control obesity, alleviating a vast number of problems we experience today.

Perhaps as concerns raise for saving the planet and living green, we should also consider that we are a part of the animal kingdom and therefore part of the planet that needs saving as well. It would only take a few adjustments to fit in an hour each night to eat dinner with the family. It might be a hard adjustment at first, and we’d probably feel as if we weren’t being as productive as possible, but that misplaced guilt would fade with time. And, we, too, would reap the benefits in health that our parents did.

Living green doesn’t just mean living in a way our environment thrives. We can’t fix the environment if we aren’t here. And, with current health habits suffering for a vast majority of the population, that is a real possibility.

Learn to live green by first taking care of you, then transferring that knowledge to the rest of the world.