Where have all the factories gone, long time passing...?

Submitted by Jeff Buster on Wed, 04/14/2010 - 09:35.

America has been closing its mills and factories for decades – and sticking its head in the sand about the issue.  
Now we are a “high tech” and “service oriented” economy – because, as President Bush often said, “Americans don’t want to do this work”.
The mill room in the image above was used to blend chemicals for the plastic and rubber coating of fabrics – this particular factory at one time sold bolts of fabric to Detroit automakers for seat covering.
Of course, during the hundred years the factory was in operation, they liberally soaked the ground with toluene, naphtha, fuel oil, and everything else they used in their manufacturing processes.
When the factory closed about 20 years ago – they just left everything in the building –  explosion proof vacuum pumps, drum mixers, overhead blending conveyors, the works.
Then  nature, in the form of graffiti creation, began to take back the buildings.
For me, this image is an accurately lurid representation of the our present chaos as American workers flounder with nothing to do….


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“It may be we have to shift jobs to Mexico or China,” Mixon said

Our Federal healthcare dollars go to fund factories in China to make wheelchairs for people harmed by industrial/corporate America here... and the people behind all that are treated as heroes here.

About Invacare... from Cleveland.com, 2008: Invacare's embrace of China spurs comeback

Cutting costs was at the heart of Invacare's turnaround. The company did that largely by moving production to its plants in China. That meant cutting jobs here and abroad. It also meant closing or consolidating factories worldwide.

But Invacare also invested in changing its operations.

It opened a purchasing office in Hong Kong five years ago. That office is "really running smoothly now," Mixon said.

The office gives Invacare the flexibility of buying its parts and components at the lowest prices. "We can buy anywhere in the world now. That could be China, Vietnam, India, Taiwan," he said.

As a result, Invacare has changed from a company that made most of its parts and products to one that buys and assembles most of its products.

And the Invacare Chairman's Christmas Card to America, 2009, regarding Invacare fighting Healthcare reform, from last December 25th, in The Elyria Chronical...Invacare chief says health care bill will force company to move jobs to China:


ELYRIA — A new tax on medical device manufacturers in the health insurance reform bill could force Invacare Corp. to move 1,300 jobs to Mexico or China, according to A. Malachi Mixon III, chairman and chief executive.

Mixon said the tax, which would raise an estimated $2 billion a year, just doesn’t make sense, and he is urging employees and concerned residents to contact U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton and U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown and George Voinovich to express their opposition.

The theory that medical device manufacturers would sell more products — and earn more revenue — if health care reform passes is flawed, Mixon said.

The uninsured now get treatment through the government or through health care provided by hospitals to the indigent, and there will not be any more wheelchairs sold if health insurance reform passes, Mixon said.

“I assure you there will not be any more gunshot wounds, spinal cord injuries or car accidents,” Mixon said.

If imposed, the tax could cost Invacare an estimated $11 million to $12 million — or the equivalent of its combined $18 million research and development budget and its $6.4 million loss in U.S. sales in 2008, according to figures Mixon provided to Voinovich.

But the proposed device tax is not deductible, so Mixon said Invacare would have to earn $15 million to $16 million to pay the federal, state and city taxes in order to earn the $11 million to $12 million.

Overall, the company reported 2008 earnings of $38.6 million — all made outside of the United States.

“How am I going to pay this tax?” Mixon asked. “We’re already losing money in the United States. We’re going to look at whether we can pass the tax on or cut salaries and benefits.

“It may be we have to shift jobs to Mexico or China,” Mixon said.

Our Officers

Image of A. Malachi Mixon, III A. Malachi Mixon, III

Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer
Mixon has led the company since 1979 when he and a group of Cleveland based investors bought Invacare from then parent Johnson & Johnson. He serves on the boards of several Cleveland area corporations and civic organizations, including chairmanship of the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic. Mixon is highly regarded in the Cleveland business community and has been recognized nationally for his entrepreneurial skill and leadership. He received his education, BA and MBA from Harvard, and served four years in the Marine Corps prior to launching his business career.

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Thanks Jeff

  Great photo--as disheartening as it may seem to folks, especially if you read the Plain Dealer--I don't happen to think that NEO is a great failure in manufacturing and industry.  We may have failed leadership, but ultimately we have location  and despite the F-ups in this town, it is a great place to live.  I just returned form Austin TX.  I love my sister and I love what she does to make the world a better place, but Texas is NOT a hospitable place to live.  NEO is a hospitable place to LIVE.  And, we have amenities galore.  Believe me, people will know it.  Young people will know it.  And they will come here, because they will need a place to REALLY be able to LIVE.

Texas is NOT a hospitable place but Austin is amazing

Austin was green when most Americans thought it's not easy being green... their hippies never sold-out.

Very hospitable city! And really focused on being green - and being open source.

Until our region gets serious about pollution and remediation of our toxic state, we are not hospitable to families. I'll argue that to my children's graves.

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Austin is not GREEN

Talk about toxins.  You can not get anywhere in Austin without driving. Period.  It's one superhighway after another.  Like I said--I love my sister and I love what she appreciates in Texas, but it's not the quality of life I would look for in a community.  Just my opinion.

Photo of car after car at the Lady Bird Wildflower Center in Austin TX

I lived in Austin for a year without a car

I lived in Austin for a year without a car - I was one of those 1,000s of bicycle riders all over town - it never rains... you can ride anywhere, and they have those great hills - spring fed Barton Creek - hydro power - green zoning for decades - source of zeroscaping - but sprawl is everywhere... not all people are green.

I lived right downtown, and it was paradise.

Did the air seem fresh and clean?

I really miss living in Austin.

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Air quality today in Cleveland vs. Austin

According to NOACA, the air quality in Cleveland today was moderate at best - http://ohioair.info/quality/currentmapPM25.asp

According to the TCEQ, Austin Air Quality today was good - http://www.tceq.state.tx.us/cgi-bin/compliance/monops/aqi_rpt.pl?metro:5

I'll take good over moderate at best any day.

Austin probably wins this race every day.

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And the freeways are lined with wildflowers

Claudia Alta "Lady Bird" Taylor Johnson in the Austin Hill County she loved, in 1990

And the freeways are lined with wildflowers, thanks to Lady Bird, who still lived in downtown Austin when I lived there, about when this photo was taken, and was still much beloved. Much of the greenness in Austin and America may be credited to her.

Read her amazing bio on Wikipedia and wish we had such leadership influences living here, EVER!

Just a few highlights from her remarkable life and career:

Claudia Alta "Lady Bird" Taylor Johnson (December 22, 1912 – July 11, 2007)[1] was First Lady of the United States from 1963 to 1969 during the presidency of her husband Lyndon B. Johnson. Throughout her life, she was an advocate for beautification of the nation's cities and highways and conservation of natural resources and made that her major initiative as First Lady.

As First Lady, Johnson started a capital beautification project (Society for a More Beautiful National Capital) to improve physical conditions in Washington, D.C., both for residents and tourists by planting millions of flowers.[30] Her beliefs regarding the importance of national beautification can best be summarized in her statement that "where flowers bloom, so does hope." She worked extensively with American Association of Nurserymen (AAN) executive Vice President Robert F. Lederer to protect wildflowers and the planting of them along highways. Her efforts inspired similar programs throughout the country. She became the first president's wife to advocate actively for legislation[3] when she was instrumental in promoting the Highway Beautification Act, which was nicknamed "Lady Bird's Bill"[6] and sought to beautify the nation's highway system by limiting billboards and by planting roadside areas. She was an advocate of the Head Start program.[3]

Lady Bird Johnson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Gerald Ford on January 10, 1977. The citation for her medal read:

"One of America's great First Ladies, she claimed her own place in the hearts and history of the American people. In councils of power or in homes of the poor, she made government human with her unique compassion and her grace, warmth and wisdom. Her leadership transformed the American landscape and preserved its natural beauty as a national treasure."[33]

Johnson then received the Congressional Gold Medal in 1988, becoming the first wife of a president to receive the honor.[2] In a 1982 poll taken of historians ranking the most influential and important First Ladies, Johnson placed third behind Abigail Adams and Eleanor Roosevelt for her work as a conservation activist.[6]

In addition to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, she was honored by the naming of the Lady Bird Johnson Park on Columbia Island in Washington, D.C., which was founded as a result of her efforts as First Lady to beautify the capital.[6] She declined many overtures to name Austin's Town Lake in her honor after she had led a campaign to clean up the lake and add trails to its shoreline; following her death, Austin Mayor Will Wynn's office said it was a "foregone conclusion that Town Lake is going to be renamed" in honor of Johnson.[33] The lake was renamed Lady Bird Lake on July 26, 2007.[34]

A majestic grove of coastal redwoods, named in her honor by President Nixon in 1969, is located just north of Orick, California. "Lady Bird Johnson Grove" is part of Redwood National Park. In April 2008, the "Lady Bird Johnson Memorial Cherry Blossom Grove" was dedicated in Marshfield, Missouri. The dedication took place during the city's annual cherry blossom festival. Johnson had been supportive of the rural community and their initiative to plant blossoming cherry trees.

Johnson was also named the honorary chairwoman of the Head Start program.[33]

In the 1970s, she focused her attention on the Austin riverfront area through her involvement in the Town Lake Beautification Project. After her death in 2007, Town Lake was renamed Lady Bird Lake to honor her efforts.

From 1971 to 1978, Johnson served on the board of regents for the University of Texas System.[35] She also served on the National Park Service Advisory Board and was the first woman to serve on National Geographic's Board of Trustees.[27]

On December 22, 1982 (her 70th birthday), she and actress Helen Hayes founded the National Wildflower Research Center, a nonprofit organization devoted to preserving and reintroducing native plants in planned landscapes, located east of Austin, Texas. This earned her the nickname of "Johnny Appleseed" of Wildflowers. The Center opened a new facility southwest of Austin on La Crosse Avenue in 1994. It was officially renamed the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in 1998 in honor of Johnson, who raised $10 million for the facility.[30] On June 20, 2006, the University of Texas at Austin announced plans to incorporate the 279-acre (1.1 km2) Wildflower Center into the University.[36]

For 20 years, Johnson spent her summers on the island of Martha's Vineyard renting the home of Charles Guggenheim for many of those years. She said she had greatly appreciated the island's natural beauty and flowers.[37]

That is how a community becomes the brightest and greenest in the world... great leaders caring and doing until they die...



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You win

I am going to bed.  I ride my bike here in Cleveland as much as I can.  It seems that I can't out last you in anything, but since I have never seen you on a bike I might be able to outlast you there.  Let's see a photo of that:) 

My bike was stollen by my old landlord

It was a vintage Colnago with full Campy Super - very fast, even pulling a trailer full of kids. I miss it.

I've been watching Craig's list for a cheap beater

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I worked with Austin Power - even their utility is cool

I've worked with Austin Public Power, among scores of utility companies - even their utility is cool (don't know the status of this project)

Austin taught me there was such a thing as a Green Movement nearly 20 years ago.... can't put them down for that legacy.

They were also one of the most progressive GLBT communities I ever saw, way back then... I assume they still are today.

And those bats - in Cleveland, we would have found a way to kill them.

Amazing city.

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