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Last year was a good one for U.S. manufacturing and related industries, with the value of production increasing more than it has in quite some time. This means that these segments of the economy are growing, which is clearly good news. Businesses of all types benefit when manufacturing expands. Some provide the goods and services needed for production, and others sell the items purchased with the wages and salaries earning up and down the production chain. more
Let’s see a show of hands of those who have had their car seat catch on fire – while driving. I’m thinking there’s only one of us in the vicinity and luckily, I lived to tell the tale. Some 45 years ago, I was spending the night at a church day camp site when I was roused awake by a couple of park rangers who informed me that they noticed my car was on fire. So they doused it. more
You know, this is one of my favorite times of the year. That’s right, Valentime’s. I know, it’s spelled, and pronounced V-a-l-e-n-t-i-n-e, with an “N”, but it ought to be Valentime. After all, that’s the way a kid says it. I’ve always loved Valentime’s Day, especially when I was a kid in school. I remember Valentime’s in the first grade. I was Valentime King and my childhood sweetheart, Kathey Bell was Valentime Queen. We sat side by side on our thrones, with our paper crowns and presided over our subjects. It was magical. more
The U.S. personal savings rate fell to its lowest level in more than a decade, setting off a firestorm of speculation about the implications. For 2017, the annual savings rate was 3.4 percent, down from 4.9 percent in 2016 and worse than it’s been since 2007. Late last year, savings dipped to 2.4 percent (the December reading), which is the lowest monthly level since the fall of 2005. more
I stood before the small group of people, feeling very nervous. All eyes were on me, as I tried to hide behind the small podium. I swallowed hard, my throat was dry. Finally, I spoke. “Hi. My name is Janet.” “Hi Janet!” the group said in unison. more
International trade is good for the economy, and barriers to trade are bad for the economy -- it’s that simple. The recent decision to levy a sizable tariff on solar panels and certain washing machines is likely to cost more U.S. jobs than it creates, and it is neither needed nor desirable. more
Take a drive around Lindale and/or East Texas pretty much anytime and you are apt to see examples of a long-time scourge in the area -- wild hogs. They can be seen grazing on the side of the road or belly up on the shoulder. Most of my driving is done in the day and even though these bristle-backed porcine are nocturnal, they will still show their ugly snouts when the sun is shining. Just a few days ago, while driving along Interstate 20 not far from Lindale, I noticed another dead-as-a-hammer wild hog on the shoulder. more
I got home the other night and man, I was pooped. I plopped down in my easy chair, and low and behold, the blame phone started ringin’. My wife Janet is like a cop; she ain’t never around when you need her, so I had to get up and get the phone. “Yellow,” I said into the receiver, but no one said anything back. “Yellow!” I said louder. Then I heard that slight little click, and I knew I had a Phone Creature on the line. more
Technological advances and innovation change every industry, and energy is no exception. In 2008, the Energy Information Administration was estimating that crude oil production in 2020 would be 13.4 quadrillion British thermal units and would fall to 12.0 quads in 2030. In the most recent estimates (from EIA’s 2017 Annual Energy Outlook), 2020 production is expected to be 20.7 quads, with 22 quads in 2030 under baseline assumptions. The EIA also looks at other scenarios including one involving more growth from technology, which indicates that production could be even higher. more
My granddaughter, Brynley Baetz, third grader at Van Elementary School, recently won several awards from her school the other day and one of these awards was a Magic Eight Ball. Brynley, we love you and are sure proud of you and all of your accomplishments and here’s a story about my Magic Eight Ball. more
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