Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Pure Insanity

Tons of stuff this week… tons of topics too... but they will all go the backburner so we can talk about the biggest issue out there… USGNN’s tremendous effort on blowing the cover off the Chinese supply of glass to the bottom 20 floors of America’s next great monument the Freedom Tower… aka One World Trade Center…

Pretty sickening eh? If you missed the story on the fact that a huge American landmark will have 20 floors worth of communist Chinese glass, click HERE. (Note the rest of the building is Viracon, so at least they got that right).

Also ABC News in NY did a great piece on it and you can view that HERE.

Overall this is a sad issue but not unexpected… what bothered me the most is the fact that WABC reported that the Port Authority has gone to China to monitor the glass and will continue to do so. Ummmm… since when were the taxpayers of NY and the US flush with enough money to support that part of it?

At the end of the day this is no different the Sprint Arena in KC where the mayor of that town blindly ignored the Buy American provision (more on that in a separate post) to allow the Chinese glass. Or the council in Durham, NC that allowed their airport to have all chinese stuff. Amazingly, this is allowed to happen but maybe this job, with the high profile will change it.

I know that USGNN got at least one incredible letter from a fired up industry guy and one of the items he mentioned was it was time to take on the higher levels of government on this one… see if they can scrape the egg off their face. Already the senior senator of NY jumped in…. Regardless this is extremely shameful and you have to wonder who else the Port Authority is allowing to provide material. Simply disgusting…

But there is a sad irony here… and I had several people e-mail me to remind of it… what’s lost in this issue is that PPG’s dealing with China came back to bite them… When I first started this blog I linked to an article called “Sleeping with the Enemy” and it was about PPG doing work with the Chinese. The full piece is HERE, but how about this line:

PPG now actively co-operates with many Chinese glass manufacturers, ranging from contractual arrangements to technology licensing. "We give orders to Chinese companies and then we supply them in the United States or we license our technology to local companies to help them develop better glass," Diggs says.

Yep bet your glad you helped them develop BETTER glass… unreal. Whether or not it’s the same company or not that is supplying this job, by teaching and selling the formulas you opened up yourself for this mess. I am sorry that PPG spent so much time and money and now looks to be burned by this, but years ago that thought did not come into play… and with China also being a part of PPG’s vaunted CFP program when do you think that issue will raise its ugly head?

Oh and don’t worry at this depressing rate I am sure when the White House needs new glass it will probably come from Colombia.

That’s it for now, but something tells me there’s more to come on this….

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Buyer Beware... Again

A while back I linked to a story on bad Chinese drywall… since then the story has grown and grown and today as I am sitting in South Florida, the lead story on the news is none other than… Bad Chinese Drywall… A quick Google search and you see major coverage of this story (people are calling it a “Massive” problem) is now taking place… and guess what there is nowhere to go on this.. no one to get retribution from or sue… yep that’s what happens when you deal with these folks. Now people will be going out of business and bankrupt because of this… and I have been warning and warning… now we (those of us who never went cheap and bought in) can sit back and watch as all of you who went that route have to worry that your glass and aluminum is not going to fall apart or fail miserably. Somehow I have a feeling we will see the failures come to us, just a matter of time. Maybe now people who still are tempted by this whole adventure will realize that buying material made in North America is the only way to go. Otherwise you may be the lead story someday in a place other than this blog. (I’ll link to some of the stories below)


-- Let’s talk DOE which is becoming a favorite of mine and instead of putting it in the links, I’ll throw it here… the New York Times did a nice piece on the new Secretary of Energy Dr Chu. The man is facing some challenges, and heck he probably has no idea how hamhanded some of the people he inherits really are. Oh and there is an opening for his #2 by the way… anyway the story can be found HERE.

-- Our industry does lack a true “ambassador” though that could go to Washington somewhat unencumbered. You know like an envoy to the middle east like former secretary of states like Warren Christopher and James Baker… If we had a guy/gal that could go to Washington and work our industry without being attached or an a payroll of an “evil” trade group (the “evil” is because that’s how all trade groups are looked at by some of the morons out there). Now I have no idea how we would compensate but to me a perfect candidate would be Jack Deyo… the man would immediately command respect on the hill, he’s a veteran and a business owner and would put us in a much better light. Just an idea but every day I believe we fall further and further behind the special interests…

-- Remember last year at this time all the talk was BIM… BIM.. BIM… whatever happened there? Yes I was solidly on that bandwagon and still do see the advantages but I was clearly wrong about how quickly it would become a significant player at our end of the industry. Thankfully smarter people than me (which adds up to about 2499 actually) at my company made the right call.

-- I was in the car for a ton last Friday and while I love Satellite radio I must say the commercials (on places like ESPN Radio) just kill you. Every ad is for either credit protection, lawyers who will help you with bad credit, bankruptcy, and lawyers who will help you with bankruptcy. I mean you start to think after a while, are the only people who listen to this stuff broke or about to be broke? Or is this just an offshoot of the growing economic storm? Or are these folks the only ones with marketing or ad budgets left? Anyway you slice it… it’s not fun.

-- How’s your brackets doing? I am still alive… but I really have no chance… meanwhile the King of West Virginia, aka Joe Staffileno of Zeledyne is in position to win his poll yet again.. he wins every year and if he wins this year I am officially changing his name to Joey Brackets… much easier to spell…

Off to the links!

Some assorted Chinese Drywall nightmare stories.. and the stories are scary with lots of words like “toxic” and “deadly”… yikes…

-- The LA Chronicle weighs in HERE.
-- ABC News HERE

And I could go on and on and on… but I won’t…

-- Watch out YOUTUBE is cracking down on… Christmas Carols?

-- And a sign of the 2000’s… a mistrial by IPhone… man oh man jury duty nightmares..

Video of the Week:

A guy trying to pole dance… and if that’s not funny enough, his choice of music… the Doobie Brothers… (Don’t get me wrong I love the Doobie’s but not exactly the right music…)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

March Madness

It’s March Madness and that really does count for one of the great times of the year. And while the tournament will keep many people’s attention (my picks are below) the other “Madness” that of the shameful 30/30 provision continues to make news daily. This week, AGC jumped into the fray and a local congressperson from their territory pulled some of the covers back on the issue. First off, kudos to the folks at AGC, I know none of them read this blog (because if they did they’d come to BEC) but regardless it’s nice to see the passion! And they are not the only ones, basically I have been hearing from a ton of people who are not “connected” to the company that drove this measure that they will be jumping in as well. Who knows what will happen but it sure is nice that there’s logic in our world.


-- Also on the 30/30 last week another website had a story on this and they included a quote from a pretty big window guy. The quote was basically this… that anyone “could” meet this 30/30 provision if they would so choose. Amazing… so my comment back is.. hey… Mr. Window Big Shot, what if the government slipped in a provision that every window had to be 120 x 120. Surely everyone “could” make that too if they choose… you know if they change out equipment, change manufacturing etc and spend tons of tons of money. I also “could” eat my young if I wanted to- but I don’t because it’s stupid. And my kids would probably not taste good. Just a patently ignorant comment that was typically self serving. Anyway the point is anyone “could” do anything but when something is so incredibly wrong like having a bogus and un-thought-out provision “slipped” into a huge bill like this, there’s more reasons on why it’s not being done other than “we can’t”…. See and its crap like this that the DOE looks at and assumes things like the moronic “the industry doesn’t like making Low E” argument.

-- Man can you imagine if I made windows how crazed I’d be? And again its the fact that this country does not have the same climates all over so why in the world would we try and jam the square peg into the round hole?

-- As noted on my previous post the passing of Bill Davidson was a tough one to swallow. No doubt our industry is weaker for it, but the one thing missed in all of this was that Guardian (in my opinion, and many will call me biased) still has by far one of the most talented groups of people working there in our industry. (I’ve written about Brian Craft as one, but they are seriously loaded all over) And it’s because of that fact that Mr. D’s legacy will live on- by hiring and growing good people that will carry on the concepts and culture that he started. Anyway the man will be missed but his lessons will carry on for many many years.

-- OK on to the original March Madness… as most of you know my nickname is “Mush” and that’s because whomever I pick usually plays like mush and loses. So sorry in advance to fans of these teams I am about to tell you about…. I have UConn winning the whole thing beating UNC. Sleeper teams are WVU and VCU…

-- By the way speaking of betting… how about the fall of Las Vegas? Everything there is down across the board pretty dramatically and now news reports are talking about MGM looking to sell properties. Simply amazing as I don’t think anyone expected that joyride to end but it sure looks that way. Still I think eventually that city will right size and they’ll have to live within themselves instead of always trying to be more excessive. Best part is some really, really nice hotel rooms can be had for cheap. That I like.

-- If you did not see Megan Headley’s blog on her trip to Dlubak, please check it out. (it’s here). I’ve known those folks for many years and I thought Megan did a great job of catching the aura there.

Off to the Links…

It’s funny both myself and the “Link Chick” had the same idea this week… let’s try and hit some good news instead of the normal mix of bizarre and depressing…

-- A tremendous story of unselfishness.. classy people thinking of others.

-- A cool story about the USA Baseball team and a soldier. Again more class.

-- A hero who deserves publicity that’s wasted on things like the “OctoMom”… this guy saved a life and went on with his business.

Video of the week:

From my friend Angela… a great stand up performer on the ills of flying… and watching this I know many of you feel the same way.. in fact I thought of Bob Lang since he and I had a nice long talk at Glassweek about the pure misery that is flying…

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A very sad night


Sad news... According the several media reports, William Davidson, owner of Guardian Industries has passed away at the age of 85. (or 86 depending on the media source- I've seen both tonight)

Truly a monumental loss in so many ways- and not only in the glass industry. He was also a very charitable person who donated millions to many efforts around the globe. In addition he was the owner of the Detroit Pistons and Palace of Auburn Hills.

But for most that read this blog, his efforts from the glass side is all that counts and his legend and accomplishments will never be matched.

Just tough news to swallow overall. My condolences and thoughts go out to his family and all of the folks at Guardian. He was admired like you would not believe there and I really feel for all of those folks and their loss.

More info on this is forthcoming I am sure and I expect USGNN to have plenty of info when the week starts.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

30/30 Vision

OK so the big news has been the shenanigans on the whole 30/30 issue. Now for me, the first time I heard 30/30 I thought it was a baseball term. Turns out the 30/30 was a sneakily put provision that made its way into the stimulus bill calling for residential windows to have less than a .30 U Factor and .30 Solar Heat Gain. If people “comply” with this, they can get up to a $1500 tax incentive or rebate. The problem is that years of work and organization on Energy Star for residential may have went up in smoke by doing a provision like this. See as you may be aware the weather and Low E and window needs are a weeeee bit different in many parts of our country- so doing a “once size fits all” makes no sense. There’s been lots of speculation on who was behind it (possibly a female Senator from the upper Northeast) and why and right now supposedly the DOE is saying they knew nothing of it. Believe what you want but I think this issue is not over and the shame is that someone maliciously got this thing in there and obviously made whichever sponsoring Senator look like an idiot since it simply does not make sense. By the way, Guardian has a great breakdown of what this thing is on their website and you can find it HERE.


-- I love the DOE… well not really…. And aside from the above (which I have a hard time believing that a Senator would just willy-nilly put this provision in WITHOUT discussing with the “so called” experts- then again we don’t have a lot of great Senators these days so this could’ve happened) the other issue was something I ran into this week. I met a person who went to the DOE for a grant… they asked for $130,000…. And the DOE gave them….. $170,000! Yep gotta love that department folks… they blindly support one of the most unbalanced and unfair groups ever created (NFRC) and they give out money like drunken sailors. I swear I was born with the wrong genes.

-- I loved the USGNN story on the slowing of the communist Chinese imports… and not because I was in it. The story itself is great and its proof that people are catching on… hey buy at your own risk… now the focus needs to be on the material coming into this country from Colombia. A lot of the same rules and hazards apply so beware…

-- Do you sometimes get depressed when reading or watching the news anymore? Man I know we have lived through a few of these times, but doesn’t this one seem more severe? Or is it just me… and the media that makes it seem worse? Then again I was not driving in the 1970’s when gas lines stretched around the block…

-- Don’t forget about GANA’s education and technical conference coming up in April. For your tech guys and project managers it really is a strong event. Check out the details on glasswebsite.com.

-- I feel bad for the good people that live in California… not only do you get the honor of having two NFRC Board members from the CEC (ooooooh sorry – just one and one … ahem… ‘consultant’) but your also stuck with the “Octomom”…. That whole story makes me ill and now that she has now moved into a 500K house thanks to “contributors” and will have nanny’s at the willing, I am furious… So she went from food stamps to a ½ mil house? Yep the taxpayers of California you get the honor of paying for that nightmare for a long time. Who’s gonna pay that hospital bill? Somehow I think its gonna be you… but that makes sense in a way… as a state you wanted the NFRC CMA and that makes no sense so why not pay off the Octomom….

-- Yes even I can somehow connect two things as far apart as the Octomom and the NFRC… crazy eh?

To the LINKS we go…

The awesome as always “Link Chick” is back this week… evidently instead of being the diplomat to Cuba she’s now going to work the Global Warming angle after having 8 inches of snow one day and 81 degrees the next…

-- Tempered Glass strikes back! Well not exactly… a backboard explodes after a pregame dunk and there’s long lasting consequences…

-- Like noting of bad news above… how’s this.. Sesame Street now laying off… yeesh.

-- A cool building with glass like a crossword puzzle… neat stuff….

Video of the week:

I got this from a few people… THANK YOU… for the 50th birthday of the Barbie doll… it’s been updated for today’s times… classic stuff!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

That was a fun week...

Recapping and catching up... Saturday style...

NFRC ended its meetings and the "Awning" controversy swirled... best part is that they made the comment that the Awning folks will get what they want but they (the awning guys) will pay for it... which brings up...

1. Why sponsor an NFRC meeting- let alone two? What benefit is there? Are they hoping that when Jeff Baker needs a new Awning he'll use a member? I have never seen a more worthless call.
2. Obviously the rest of us are in the wrong business if the Awning guys can sponsor a meeting and foot the bill for the research needed... obviously that is a group flush with disposable income.

Anyway the whole thing still smells and will continue to do so...

Also the DOE twins of Karney and LaFrance had their moments in the sun...

I am sure LaFrance once again sounded like the teacher from "Peanuts" as he talked and everyone summarily ignored. "wonka wonk wonk wonka"

Meanwhile Karney played to the crowd with a wild comment that was listed on the NFRC blog saying along the lines of make sure if you are fighting, discussing, dealing with the shameful 30/30 issue to make sure that NFRC numbers are used.... OH THANK YOU.. What a freakin shill. (Now note I was not there and so I am using the NFRC Blog as the source- you don't think that they would put words in Karney's mouth would you????)

It's really pathetic that these two guys from DOE have done nothing for the taxpayers that pay their salaries. They pander to the NFRC and in some cases repeat the NFRC lines verbatim. I really hope that eventually that the new regime at DOE moves these two somewhere else (since being bureaucrats they can't get fired) and bring in some fresh and unbiased blood. It really would make a difference.

And it's guys like LaFrance and Karney who play the wrongful perception that manufacturers and fabricators hate running low e... yep could not be further from the truth guys... we hate organizations who make money off our hard work because people like you take a blind approach to it.

Then again as someone said previous- "what happens if the new guys are worse" and my answer has always been... "its impossible to be worse..."

I mean could a new guy have a meeting under the heading of "Building Envelope" and not invite GANA, IGMA, Viracon, Oldcastle, Kawneer, Arch and so on like the teacher from Peanuts Marc LaFrance did? "wonka wonk wonk wonka" Yes a meeting like that happened but don't worry TRACO was there so we're all safe!! I can only imagine what was discussed and how clueless everyone was.

Anyway the 30/30 is something we'll cover more later this week when readership is its highest and not just the NFRC junkies.

Wow the therapy of writing this is just so good...

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

And commercial is still better than residential...

A quiet week on the commercial front… while the residential guys deal with the illogical (and quite frankly shameful) 30/30 provision that was sneakily slipped into the stimulus, the commercial side just continues to truck along working against the waves of an economy that gets tougher every day. A lot of people have the money that was in stimulus for construction spent, but I think anyone who has worked in this industry knows that there is no such thing as “shovel ready”… so even with some green lights and with projects moving forward it is still going to be a rocky road. Amazing even more if you consider we went from a glass shortage last summer and fall to a slower go now.


-- The NFRC meetings are still going on and that whole sponsorship thing won’t die. I heard from so many people who saw it to be so wrong for the NFRC to accept sponsorship from a group in the position to gain from an NFRC board decision. Just shows that no matter how much people like Joe Hayden try to play off how much integrity they have, this shows they have none. And quite frankly I say that about every board member now- just another filthy move but expected really because this is classic NFRC.

-- Yes I am mad because the awning people outsmarted me. If only we offered to sponsor meetings in the past the CMA would look so different!! Heck it may have even had a chance to work! Bottom line isn’t this payola?

-- And please check the comment on the post below this… looks like the LABS strike again beating now on the residential guys. Out of control. And believe me the residential guys not only have a miserable economy to deal with but they also have to deal with the BS like 30/30.

-- Last note on this, according the NFRC blog, Rich Karney of DOE talked about how the bogus (my term, not his) 30/30 provision will “influence” Energy Star… hmm so that means all the work, all the resources that went into Energy Star will be wasted because of this illogical rule? You know how we have the same climate in Maine that we have in Miami…. (sarcasm alert!) Well if the 30/30 stands that statement will somehow be true… only at the DOE and NFRC… amazing.

-- Technoform and Raj Goyal. Wow tremendous pairing. Good company and a great guy.

-- Still feel awful for the folks at former Echo Window. While the Republic Window folks have “cult figure” status thanks to their sit in, the poor folks in Red Oak, Iowa have really gotten the ziggy. Sold by TRACO to “Echo” and then bam plant closed and jobs lost. It really sucks and I hope all of those folks can bounce back, they were truly pawns in a bigger game.

-- Did anyone watch 24 this week? Gosh I hope the real FBI and the real White House are not as pathetic as they are shown on TV. Up and down episode that is for sure, but Jack Bauer rules no matter what happens.

-- Is Winter over yet? Tuesday morning, 7 degrees outside my house and hearing about snow in the Carolinas and frost in Georgia… not to mention the massive snow in the Northeast. This has simply been a BRUTAL winter.

The GANA Sealant Manual…. And no I am not on the GANA Board anymore, but I am still a huge fan and this is an incredible publication. In this day and age you want to have as much knowledge as you can, and this manual brings it. Many people volunteered and worked their tails off to produce a top notch manual, so go to the GANA website- click here – and order up. You won’t be sorry.

Off to the LINK… yes LINK
Only one link this week because quite frankly there is nothing to top this…. A lady called 911… three times… because…. Her local McDonald’s was out of Chicken McNuggets. You can’t make this stuff up. Now I love food… love it a lot… but this is epic.

VIDEO of the WEEK!

Another favorite of mine is Family Guy and they just announced they’ll be doing a sequel to the Star Wars Blue Harvest piece… Return of the Jedi is coming and will be awesome I am sure. To get you fired up for it- a clip from Stewie in Blue Harvest…

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Yep that makes sense!

In the comments from yesterday's post when I asked why in the world the awning people would sponsor an NFRC event.... the answer was posted and here it is:

Awnings are up for a very large request for funds in the research and technology committee.

Wow... and even though the NFRC made sure to note that they were not a guarantee for approval, methinks that the sponsorship locked it in. Damn if only I knew that a sponsorship was my way to get the board to think my way, I woulda done it years ago!!!

See we all blew it and the Awnings guys figured out! All of those 42-9 votes overturned by the board would now be accepted because we were putting cash in...

Am I crazy or is this not a GIGANTIC conflict of interest? Then again when your former President and long time board member makes 72% of her income from NFRC related activities, the term "conflict of interest" simply does not exist in the NFRC world. (along with terms like "logic", "transparency" etc...)

Best part of the NFRC blog today was the quick blurb on the CMA lesson that was given to the guys at New World West... something tells me everyone who knows those guys got a HUGE chuckle/anger pain out of that...

Monday, March 02, 2009

Better than Tylenol PM

My gosh judging from the NFRC blog site, the start of the meetings got off to a booooooring start. I mean if the quick synopsis of the meetings are boring can you imagine how bad it has to be there in person?

Ahhhh but then again not many people ARE THERE in person... yes 100 people attended but then you take away the 11 NFRC staff members, the lawyer, the 6 figure PR guy, the board members and BAM you probably have like 10 attendees... CONGRATS!

Among those NOT listed on the pre registration was Nelson Pena... he of the California Energy Commission (CEC). Maybe he'll show up later or maybe the state finally is realizing that its wasted way too much money over the years...

And speaking of California... you have to love the pathetic shenanigans of the NFRC when it comes to the Admiral Tony Rygg. He is listed as an "Independent Consultant" on the letterhead but everywhere else he is CEC. They do that because any normal logical person would be outraged that a board like this would have 2 people from the same group on it... then again did at matter, at one time Cardinal had 3 people- but at least they used different names.

I wonder if everyone there still has to run their ideas by Jeff Baker? Comical that guy has so much power and sway...

AH and they found a SUCKER... yes some group called the Professional Awning Manufacturers Association is now a sponsor! Well I have a word for that groups 326 members... TIME TO AUDIT! Obviously this group has way too much money. And really what will they get out of this? Somethings just baffle the mind. But here's me betting that someone at this Awning group is related to someone connected at NFRC... and they owe a favor... because there is no way this makes sense otherwise.

Last Joe Hayden did his annual "Tell me what we can do for you but we'll only listen and promote the stuff that makes sense for us" plea. Remember the meeting last November where Hayden asked the same (wow way to be creative! that must an idea from the 6 figure PR firm!) and the first thing written on the board was:


Oh I am sure they took that one serious... yeah sure.

Well we will see if anything else comes out of it. I do enjoy following the meeting via their blog since it saves money and valuable time (for which they could care less about) However the best part is after I watch a spine tingling episode of 24 tonight, I saved the review of the keynote speech to read before bed... that baby will knock me out cold!