Hey you, yeah you in the green Tshirt!

Made in the usa imageSo you with the green T-shirt.  Did you ever look to see where that shirt is made?  Probably not because we normally just think of T-shirts as functional or cool.  Who cares where they come from, right?

Well I’m sure there’s a lot of people who wish some of those jobs were still here in the good ol USA.  There are some shops still in operation but I imagine they are just getting by financially.  At one time there were areas in the North and South Carolina with textile mills.

The problem became when some retailers figured out that products could be made overseas cheaper due to the wages in those countries.  Then they ‘encouraged’ manufactures to move their production overseas so they could see the products for less.  OK encouraged is really not the right term.  They twisted the arms of those companies because the retailer wanted lower prices.  If the manufacturer wanted to sell their products in stores then they were going to outsource their manufacturing.

The thing some people miss about this change is that jobs started going away.  Our unemployment started to climb due to this trend.  Factory after factory started closing down.  It seemed like there was nothing anyone could do.

If people are on unemployment then they aren’t able to take care of their families or spend money for a quality product.  It’s a vicious circle and over the past 16 years I think we can all see how things have changed in this country.  I say 16 because that’s the span of the last 3 presidents.  We ended one presidential reign (Clinton) with a surplus.  The next president (Bush) ran the country into the ground. Then our current president (Obama) has managed to build the economy back up.

Now you could blame everything on the elected officials but I don’t go for that game.  We are just as much to blame for some of the problems with our country today.  Our everyday decisions drive the economy of this country.  So if we buy the cheapest shirt, pants, table, sofa, refrigerator or car then we’re only encouraging companies to make cheaper products.  The outcome of that is that companies have to move their manufacturing overseas to keep cost down.

Do you think you think if people bought more products that are made in the US that the economy would be the same today?  I would venture to get that it would NOT be in its current state.  It would be healthy and thriving.  More people would be employed and number of people in poverty would be an infinitely smaller.

So next time you pick up a shirt or a pair of pants check out the label and see where they’re made.  Think how buying products that are made here in the USA is helping a fellow American who are trying to feed their family, afford a home or pay for healthcare.  It may take a little work but the results will be tremendous.

I’ve started doing this so I’m not just preaching.  I’ve been buying clothing that’s sewn here in the US and some of the Christmas gifts I bought this year were Made in the USA.  Granted it’s not easy to find American made products but if you can just buy one new item a week that’s going to improve the economy and help your fellow Americans.

If you’re wondering I’ll be writing more about the products that I’ve found.  Sometimes it’s surprising how easy it is to find the products. Other times it’s more of a challenge.  The other thing to keep in mind is that if you’re buying say clothing it’s very likely be more expensive.  They are going to cost more like a luxury brand and honestly that’s what they are in comparison.  They’re made by Americans who are trying to produce a quality product.

What are your thoughts on this topic?  Leave your feedback in the comments.

Day 2 of 2015

The first day of the year is always full of hope.  Day 2 is equally full of hope but it starts to get a little real as well.  This morning I started to think what can I do to support my goals.  I want to have better focus and create something awesome.
First thing I see in my inbox this morning was Ben Huberman’s article Make 2015 a Great Blogging Year.  I read it and I feel the power and support surge through my mind.  Why wouldn’t WordPress be the perfect place to look for support and encouragement?  Everyday we need support and encouragement and ironically it’s just a website away.
Something I have heard a lot is that you need to set time aside to do this thing you love.  The thing that I take away from this is you have to bring it down to the most basic components.  Many times people say there’s a shortcoming due to a lack of time.  Setting aside time is the easiest thing to do but we often don’t slice out the small amount of time that’s need to make ourselves happy.
Nothing inspires more than learning something new.  Ben mentions a Blogging 101 course that WordPress is going to offer.  I’m going to sign up for the 4 week course.  The course description talks about some pretty crucial pieces that I know I need to work on for successful.  I’ve always joked about how I wasn’t an English major in college but in today’s world I see how I need to improve my writing skills.
Something else I was thinking this morning is developing my skill at building a gratitude List.  I’ve been working on being more positive and nothing helps like a gratitude list.  I started doing it last year but I got away from it.  This year I’m going to renew that effort and try to find 2 or 3 things each day that I’m grateful for in my life.  It all starts with I’m grateful for…
I also believe that I need to read more.  Reading helps focus and calm the mind.  I’ve done it some but again I fell out of the habit.  Reading a blog post is the easiest thing to do.  Reading a blog post can take 15 minutes and give you inspiration and support.  I don’t know about you but I have a curious nature.  This would only feed and support this natural state for me.

Random Rant
Something else I wanted to bring up and put out there into the internet is when we shop do we support American businesses.  Do you think about where a product is made?  I’ve thought more about that lately.  One of the things I’ve seen is that most Americans have this disposable attitude.  When I say disposable attitude I’m referring to buying the cheapest version of a product.  This means it wears out quickly and you end up throwing it in the trash.  It sounds pretty hippy dippy but we can see how this has changed the face of our nation.  So many companies have relocated their manufacturing overseas.  I understand that we’re living in a global market but we’re upside down when it comes to what we import vs what’s being exported.
Do you look for the Made in tag/label?  Again I’m curious by nature so I’ve been looking for the Made in information for years.  I’m sure you can list the top 5 countries that would be found.  I don’t want to take the negative attitude that it’s a conspiracy or anything so drastic.  I want to urge you to think about how buying something as crazy as your underwear could impact people here in the USA.
So funny story I thought to myself last month.  How easy would it be to find underwear made here in the USA?  WOW it was slightly more difficult than one might imagine.  I did find some companies making underwear here in the US after using Google to search the web.
The somewhat shocking thing was the cost.  A pair of underwear made here in the US cost about $25 PER PAIR.  I’m sure that would be jaw dropping to most Americans.  Unless you’re a person who buys high-end underwear because they are “made by” a particular designer that’s a lot of money for a pair of plain white briefs.  If you go to Amazon and search for Hanes underwear you’ll see a 7 pack of plain white briefs for $15.
At one time the US had all kinds of fabric mills producing fabric and clothing.  Yeah, not so much today.  Most of those buildings I imagine are sitting empty and rat infested.  As Americans we’ve become comfortable with buying the cheapest version of a product.  The thing we don’t think about is how each time we buy something made overseas there are hundreds of people doing the same thing. The effect is that these companies or plants move their manufacturing overseas and close down the plant here in the US.  The piece we follow through on is downstream this means people are out of work and on unemployment.  I’ve had family members in this situation as many of you reading this have as well.
What are your thoughts on this issue?  Leave me a comment and share your thoughts.
Gratitude List:
  1. I’m grateful for a supportive group of friends (to long to list).
  2. I’m grateful for others out there who are sharing their stories.
  3. I’m grateful to live in San Francisco and all its beauty.

It’s a time to reflect and renew your passions

Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge

Well it’s January 1st 2015 and I’m thinking about how 2014 went.  2014 was a great year.  I was reminded this morning of how I’ve done a lot of great things and I HAVE been successful!

Today I’m out hiking with my friend Susan in the area of Ocean Beach and the Presidio.  The views were amazing.  It’s also a good reminder that I live in one of the most amazing cities in THE WORLD.  People travel to San Francisco from all over the world.  We have views that are breathtaking and even more are the views of the Pacific ocean.
This last year I had my contract extended twice.  So I’ve been successful with work.  The first extension was when the project I was working on hit a snag and it was going to take longer. The second extension came when I was finishing the first project and another manager wanted to bring me in to work on another project.  I mean if they didn’t like me they wouldn’t keep me around, right?
I met a wonderful person and we’ve been dating now for 5 months.  That’s a HUGE deal for me.  I’ve not been very successful in dating and this relationship is based on truths and honesty.  No one is claiming to be perfect and we own up to our shortcomings.  Everything is open for discussion which has made for a great relationship.
Over the past year I’ve kept my weight in check which has been a concern.  I’ve watched what I was eating but not as diligent as I had been.  I have been going to the gym over the past year so that’s helped.  I’m by no means a gym bunny.  Nor do I have a strict routine that I just HAVE to follow.  I would still far rather sit on my ass and watch television but I’m working to balance that with doing something physically exerting.
I’ve become far more connected with myself.  I know more regarding who I am, what I want  and where I want to go with my life.  I worked on being more positive.  I knew that being negative wasn’t going to attract a healthy friendship or relationship.  I’ve always thought I knew what I wanted.  What you want needs to be specific.  I had always had a bigger/larger/broad picture and that’s helpful to get you started but it’s like looking at the planet and saying “I want to live there.”  As for where I want to go it’s about a forward motion.  I want to be something more and do something more.
So what do I want to do in 2015 to move forward and make a better life?
Lets run it down ..
  1. I want to make an exercise routine for me.
  2. I want to blog on a regular basis.
  3. I want on developing my positive attitude.
Making an exercise routine specifically for myself shouldn’t be horribly difficult, right?  The great thing about the information age is that you can Google any subject.  You’ll have several options and you can cherry pick what exactly what you want.  An Exercise routine is nothing something I have ever thought I would need or use.
Blogging is something that I think will help me in many ways.  I need to improve my writing.  I think most to all people need to improve their writing skills.  It’s something we learn in grade school but most of us never really work to improve the skill.  For me it also it helps me build a better world.  There are some people that blog some dribble but I’ve been thinking that i want to ask people to think beyond the dribble of our daily lives.
Having a positive attitude is not even nearly as easy as it sounds.  I’ve been getting motivational emails daily.  I’ve also been reading a book regarding building a “Buddha Brain.”  So I want to do this more and really focus on reading the book.  This will also require some additional research but I don’t believe that’s going to be that painful.  Maybe I’ll become a Buddhist.  That my friends would send my family over the deep end. People in Ohio don’t really believe in Buddhism.  Buddhism to them is ‘hippy dippy’ and not ‘the christian way.’  Funny right because it’s NOT CHRISTIAN!
So this is my focus for 2015.  This is what I’m going to work on in 2015.  This is my list of New Years resolutions.
I welcome your feedback.  Ask me your questions and point out my faults.  I see this as a way to grow for this most part.

Happy New Years to all that read this!