Sunday, December 30, 2012

Nigeria rights leader blasts journalists detention

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) ? Nigeria's National Human Rights Commission has criticized the nation's secret police for detaining two journalists for days without charges.

Commission chairman Chidi Odinkalu issued a statement Saturday saying the detention of Musa Mohammed Awwal and Aliyu Saleh, journalists with the weekly Hausa language newspaper Al-Mizan, did "not pass constitutional muster." Odinkalu called on the secretive State Security Service to allow commission staff to have access to the men, as they've been denied opportunities to meet with the lawyer or receive medical attention.

The two journalists were arrested early Monday morning at their homes in Kaduna. Their newspaper has published a series of stories about alleged military abuses and the radical Islamist sect Boko Haram.

Boko Haram is waging an increasingly bloody guerrilla fight against Nigeria's weak central government.


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leblancesmatt: Education & Reference 2016: Petal the Owl Colours

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Elephant lawsuit: ASPCA to pay circus $9.3 million

Handout / REUTERS

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey elephants walk early July 10 to the Staples Center in Los Angeles before performances there.

By Jonathan Allen, Reuters

NEW YORK - A major animal welfare group has agreed to pay $9.3 million to the owners of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus to settle a lawsuit brought in response to now-dismissed legal claims of mistreated elephants.

The settlement, announced by the parties on Friday, removes the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, from litigation by Ringling Bros. against the Humane Society, the Animal Welfare Institute and a former elephant handler for the circus.

The ASPCA and others originally filed suit in 2000 against Feld Entertainment, producer of the circus, accusing the Virginia-based company of mistreating the Asian elephants that perform in its shows.

The case, which cited the Endangered Species Act, was initially dismissed.

But an appellate court allowed the former elephant handler, Tom Rider, to pursue an individual claim that he was emotionally injured by the company's treatment of its elephants. Rider was responsible for watching over and feeding the elephants while working for the circus as a "barn man" between 1997 and 1999.

Following a trial in 2009, a District of Columbia district court judge ruled in favor of Feld Entertainment, finding that Rider had overstated his love of elephants and was not a sufficiently credible plaintiff for the case to proceed.

The judge declared Rider to be essentially a "paid plaintiff," finding that his only source of income during the previous eight years had been the animal-welfare groups involved in the case and media companies producing reports about it.

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Feld Entertainment, in turn, sued the various animal welfare groups and Rider, accusing them of abuse of process, malicious prosecution and violation of federal racketeering laws through unfounded litigation.

ASPCA President Ed Sayres said his group decided it was in its best interest to settle the dispute and that the agreement was not an admission of wrongdoing.

"We are glad to put this matter behind us so we can focus most effectively on our life-saving work, preventing cruelty and improving the welfare of animals," he said in a statement, noting that the courts never ruled on "the merits of the elephant abuse allegations."

Kenneth Feld, chairman of Feld Entertainment, which says its shows are seen by 30 million people a year, called the original litigation an attempt to destroy a family-owned business.

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"Animal activists have been attacking our family, our company, and our employees for decades because they oppose animals in circuses," he said in a statement. "This settlement is a vindication ... for the dedicated men and women who spend their lives working and caring for all the animals with Ringling Bros."

The circus currently has 45 elephants, most of which were born in captivity, and has met or exceeded legal requirements regarding the animals' welfare, company spokesman Steve Payne said.

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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Long Distance Relationship Advantages and disadvantages | Oister ...

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Video: Montana Governor Addresses 'Cliff' Concerns

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PFT: Week 17 injury report roundup

Cincinnati Bengals v Pittsburgh SteelersGetty Images

And so another regular season comes to an end.

For some players, it is just a prelude to greater heights in the postseason. For others, it is one last chance to leave a good impression at the end of a disappointing season for the team. And for a final group, it won?t be anything but a chance to put on street clothes festooned with logos to watch a game from the sideline because of an injury.

This post is about that last group of players. The final injury reports for Week 17 are in and we?ve got a look at who?s been ruled out for Sunday and which players are still up in the air.

Buccaneers at Falcons

The Falcons will be without safety William Moore (hamstring) and cornerback Christopher Owens (hamstring) for their playoff tuneup. Wide receiver Roddy White (knee), defensive end Jonathan Babineaux and defensive tackle Corey Peters are all questionable. Guard Roger Allen is doubtful for Tampa with a groin injury.

Jets at Bills?

The Jets ruled out cornerback Aaron Berry (hamstring) for their finale. Tight end Dustin Keller (hamstring), quarterback Greg McElroy (concussion), linebacker Bryan Thomas (chest) and wide receiver Chaz Schilens (knee) are all doubtful. 17 other Jets are probable, while the organization?s future is questionable. Defensive end Mark Anderson?s disappointing first season with the Bills will end with him still benched by a knee injury.

Ravens at Bengals

Cornerbacks Jason Allen (hamstring) and Terence Newman (groin) are questionable for the Bengals. The Ravens have seven questionable players, including wide receiver Anquan Boldin and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, and are expected to rest some starters ahead of the postseason.

Bears at Lions

Safety Chris Conte (knee) and linebacker Blake Costanzo (hamstring) are out for Chicago and linebacker Brian Urlacher (hamstring) is doubtful after returning to practice on Friday. Running back Matt Forte (ankle) is probable. The Lions won?t have defensive tackle Sammie Hill (toe) and they listed safety Louis Delmas (knee) and cornerback Chris Houston (hamstring/hip) as questionable.

Texans at Colts

Cornerback Alan Ball (foot) remains out for the Texans. Running back Arian Foster is probable after leaving last week?s game with an irregular heartbeat.?Running back Delone Carter (ankle), defensive tackle Antonio Johnson (ankle), defensive end Cory Redding (quad) and center Samson Satele (ankle) are all out for Indy.

Panthers at Saints

It feels like running back Jonathan Stewart has been questionable for the entire season with an ankle injury, so it is fitting that he?ll close out the year that way. A knee injury will keep Saints running back Pierre Thomas out of the lineup and a concussion will keep cornerback Jabari Greer out as well.

Eagles at Giants

If the Giants win on Sunday, they?ll likely do it without cornerback Prince Amukamara (hamstring), defensive tackle Chris Canty (knee) and cornerback Jayron Hosley (quad). The Giants are very thin at if neither Amukamara nor Hosley answers the bell. Safety Kenny Phillips (knee), wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (knee) and defensive end Justin Tuck (shoulder) are all questionable. Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (concussion) and linebacker Mychal Kendricks (concussion) will miss the final game of their rookie seasons.

Browns at Steelers

The Browns ruled out cornerback?Sheldon Brown (concussion/foot), tight end Jordan Cameron (concussion), quarterback Colt McCoy (shoulder), running back Trent Richardson (ankle) and quarterback Brandon Weeden (shoulder). Tackle?Mike Adams (ankle), cornerback Curtis Brown (ankle), linebacker Marshall McFadden (abdomen) and wide receiver Mike Wallace (hip) will not close out the year for the Steelers.

Jaguars at Titans

Offensive lineman Uche Nwaneri (concussion) is out for the otherwise healthy Jaguars. Running back Chris Johnson (ankle) and wide receiver Kendall Wright (rib) are questionable for the Titans. Local interest is doubtful.

Chiefs at Broncos

A full third of the Chiefs roster is on the injury report, but running back Jamaal Charles (illness) is probable. He?s been the one most worth watching anyway. The Broncos ruled cornerback Tracy Porter out with a concussion and kick returner Trindon Holliday is doubtful with a sprained ankle.

Packers at Vikings

Vikings defensive end Brian Robison (shoulder) and cornerback Antoine Winfield (knee/hand) are both questionable. Running back Adrian Peterson is probable with the abdominal injury he picked up last weekend. Wide receiver Randall Cobb (ankle) is questionable after spending most of the week watching practice. Wide receiver Jordy Nelson is probable to return from a hamstring injury.

Dolphins at Patriots

Wide receiver Davone Bess (back) will miss his third straight game for the Dolphins. Defensive tackle Randy Starks missed another week of practice for non-injury reasons, but played in Week 16. Another masterpiece for Bill Belichick as the Patriots coach turns in 20 questionable players for this weekend. Cornerback Marquice Cole (finger) is actually doubtful, which may mean that finger?s never getting any better.

Raiders at Chargers

The Raiders won?t have quarterback Carson Palmer (ribs/lung) and safety Tyvon Branch (neck/ankle) is questionable. Running back Ronnie Brown (hamstring) is questionable for the home team.

Rams at Seahawks

Cornerback Walter Thurmond (hamstring) is out and cornerback Marcus Trufant is probable to return from the same injury for the Seahawks. The Rams had all players participate fully in their final practice of the year on Friday.

Cardinals at 49ers

Cardinals wide receiver Early Doucet will miss another game with a concussion. Tackle Nate Potter (ankle) is questionable to be defending Brian Hoyer?s blindside. The 49ers are listing defensive lineman Justin Smith (triceps) as doubtful and tight end Vernon Davis (concussion) is questionable.

Cowboys at Redskins

Linebacker Ernie Sims is questionable because of a concussion, but the rest of the Cowboys other than defensive tackle Jay Ratliff (sports hernia surgery) are likely to play. Redskins tackle Tyler Polumbus practiced on Friday and is questionable to return from a concussion.


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Atlantic City's Revel Casino Gets $150M More In Financing ? CBS ...

Revel Resort (Credit: Revel)

Revel Resort (Credit: Revel)

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) ? While some questioned the wisdom of opening a $2.4 billion casino resort in a cutthroat market at the end of a nationwide financial meltdown, some investors still believe in Revel.

Atlantic City?s newest casino, one that has struggled to find a place in the seaside gambling market, has obtained $150 million in new financing to help keep it going.

It also said it will pay more attention to some less ritzy sections of the market that it had neglected in its drive to attract affluent leisure customers and group meetings. Revel said it will beef up its slots operation and open a more affordable restaurant to complement others run by celebrity chefs.

The casino resort said it amended its agreement with JP Morgan Chase Bank to provide for additional money to help pay down existing debt and to fund operations. Most of it consists of a new $125 million loan.

It?s the second round of new financing Revel has had to obtain since the summer.

?We appreciate the continued support and confidence of our investors, who have demonstrated a strong belief in our business model,? said Kevin DeSanctis, chairman and CEO of Revel Entertainment. ?This additional funding will enable us to execute our strategic build-out of exciting new gaming, food and beverage, and entertainment amenities. These new offerings will allow us to enhance and improve both the gaming and leisure experience for our customers.?

Since opening in April, Revel has ranked near the bottom of Atlantic City?s casinos in terms of the amount of money won from gamblers. But its executives say Revel?s business model relies more on room and restaurant revenues than the city?s other 11 casinos.

DeSanctis said the company will add a new high-limit slots area and expand its players? club.

All but acknowledging that some of its customers want a more affordable place to eat, Revel plans to add ?a three-meal restaurant accessible to a broader audience? and to expand its quick-serve food options.

Since opening in April, Revel has won just over $112 million from gamblers. That places it next to last among the other casinos, which have all been open the entire year. But its backers had clearly seen Revel as a competitor to the city?s top casino, the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, which had won more than a half-billion dollars from gamblers as of the end of November.

Now, Revel heads into the dead winter months trying to make up lost ground.

?In terms of performance, the gaming segment is clearly the area where we need to see improvement and is our primary focus,? DeSanctis said. ?We believe these new and expanded gaming offerings, combined with newly appointed leadership, specifically in our slot marketing area, will generate significant improvement in our overall gaming volumes, particularly as we enter into the spring and summer seasons.?

(? Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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Friday, December 28, 2012

Why retail investors seldom succeed in stocks? - The 5 Minute ...

In this issue:
??Will Japan be witness to a historic event?
??And now, a bailout for Indian banks
??Planning commission gets cold feet on India's GDP projections
??US economy will soon enter recession, feel most Americans
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First, the good news. Sensex, the Indian benchmark has risen around 25% this year. This makes it one of the most attractive emerging market indices. Are Indian investors then queuing up to buy stocks? Well, far from it. As reported by leading daily, domestic institutions have sold Indian equities worth a record Rs 550 bn in the year so far. And in most of the cases, the selling has been a rather forced one with investors going for redemptions. Thus, even as foreign institutional investors (FIIs) have pumped in record money, domestic investors chose to pull the exit button.

Sad as it may seem, this is not the first of its kind event. Infact, retail investors in India are now notorious for their bad timing. As highlighted by one of India's leading fund managers, Indian investors have almost always wrongly timed their investments into stocks. He further points out that nearly 80-90% money over a cycle comes in when valuations are high. Not just that. Inflows are also hardly seen when P/Es are low and when markets begin to recover.

We would be wrong to blame Indian investors alone for their flawed appraisal of the market. Investors the world over suffer from this tendency. But why would investors commit this same mistake over and over again. The best answer perhaps lies in the realm of psychology.

You see, human brains have been evolved not to embrace danger and uncertainty but run away from it. These skills, while very useful in the hunter gatherer age, have proved to be our undoing in the financial world. For in the financial world, the best opportunities always come when there is fear and uncertainty all around. Not when there is euphoria all around and when the indices are scaling new highs.

Also, we are not very good at calculating compounded growth rates over a long term horizon. We can easily divide or multiply few numbers but to appreciate the enormity of sustained compounded growth is beyond us. Thus, this, coupled with our inability to defer gratification leads us to look at short term gains rather than long term benefits.

These tendencies are so ingrained that most of us find it difficult to break this pattern. Consequently, as the fund manager pointed out, we end up investing at precisely the wrong time. Little wonder then when it comes to investing, research skills do matter. But what matters equally, if not more, is the ability to think long term and also the ability to keep a calm head when there is fear and uncertainty all around.

Do you think it's possible for retail investors to make long term money in stocks? Do share your comments with us or post your views on our Facebook page / Google+ page

01:26 ?Chart of the day
What do you think of a firm that grows sales after taking on debt? Well, as long as the debt remains within permissible limits, we should be fine with it, right? But if debt increases at a faster rate than sales, then alarm bells should certainly start ringing. In the same vein, if a country's GDP is growing but needs more and more money to make the growth happen, it is not a healthy sign. As today's chart of the day points out, while India's nominal GDP has grown at a fast clip over the past couple of decades, the money supply in the economy has grown even faster and this is something we should watch out for. Although the situation is not as alarming as in say US, we need to take steps to ensure that our productivity does not suffer. In other words, we should continue to increase our GDP at either the same rate of growth in money supply or higher. Otherwise, there will be inflation to deal with.
In order to achieve its macroeconomic goals, the state has two tools at its disposal. One is monetary policy. And the other one is fiscal policy. While monetary policy is used to control inflation and interest rates in the economy, the fiscal policy is used to increase the aggregate output of the economy. Currently, major central banks across the globe function as independent state entities. For instance, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) operates independent of the Finance Ministry. Finance Minister P Chidambaram has been pressing for the need to ease interest rates to boost the economy. Of course, the burgeoning fiscal deficit is on his mind. But the RBI has refused to relent as inflation continues to remain high. Had the central bank given in to the government's pressures, it would have to sacrifice the returns on the savings of the people. As such, we believe the central bank's independence is important. Otherwise, the government would be tempted to manipulate the monetary tools to its own end.

But a worrying trend is emerging across some economies. For instance, the Bank of Japan is increasingly becoming a vehicle of the Japanese government. The Japanese government appears to be taking away the independence from the central bank to force the direct monetisation of its deficit spending. In other words, the government's fiscal deficit would be paid for by printing money by the Bank of Japan. It has been happening in the US too. The result of all this is that fiscal discipline goes down the drain. Eventually, this would result in high inflation and diminishing purchasing power of consumers.

US$ 1.7 bn bailout. No this is not yet another life support sought by an American bank. Nor is it by a bank or economy in Europe. In fact, the financial sector in India itself may witness a bailout of this sort if things turn for the worst! At least that is the estimate of India Ratings, a subsidiary of Fitch Ratings, quoted by Firstpost. A stress test of Indian banks seems to have opened up a can of worms. The test takes into account economic downturn, exposure to infrastructure sector and concentration to single corporate houses.

And it seems, Indian banks, particularly the PSU banks, could fail miserably if they were to overcome each of the stress. These NPA risks in Indian banking sector is not unknown. Reports have already claimed that the restructured assets sitting on the books of several large PSU banks are ticking time bombs. But the government too is trying to keep the entities afloat by recapitalizing them. What that means is that the depositors of these banks will not be at risk even if the loans eventually become non-recoverable. But as far as shareholder profits are concerned, that will be elusive.

What will India's growth forecast be for the 12th Five Year Plan? The Planning Commission appears to have already revised its estimates once before and now wants to pitch in for 8%. It must be noted that the initial estimate was pegged at 9% before the Commission revised it to 8.2%. And now Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia believes that 8% is more likely. So why the change in estimates? This is to reflect the changes in the global economic environment notably the ongoing recessionary trends in the US and Europe and persistent sluggishness in the domestic market.

Further, for FY13, which would be the first year of the 12th Plan, the growth rate has been estimated at 5.7-5.9%. This is the lowest in the last decade. An uncertain global environment aside, the need of the hour is to bolster growth in the domestic market. The government already has announced a slew of reforms. But has to now get going and focus on actually implementing them if growth has to pick up in the later years of the Five Year Plan.

What does 2013 have in store for you? Well, according to most Americans the US economy is expected to slide into a recession next year. This is whether or not policy makers are able to steer clear of the fiscal cliff. The US political system continues to remain at odds over fiscal reforms. If an agreement isn't reached soon, next year could usher in a series of tax hikes and spend cuts. This is a deadly combination which could very well tip the country into another slowdown.

Seeing the deadlock in the parliament most businesses and households have put their spending plans on hold which could contract the economy. While a decision may not be reached by Jan 1st - economists believe that the government will scramble through and come to a conclusion on how to avoid major tax hikes and address spending cuts.

Meanwhile, after spending the first half of the day in the green, Indian equity markets indices moved lower towards the dotted line and were trading flat at the time of writing. IT stocks were seen exerting the maximum pressure. While most Asian stock markets closed in the positive today, Europe too has opened on a positive note.
04:52 ?Today's Investing Mantra
"There are always going to be times when humans act irrational and this is time to make your money. I've made a career of cashing in when people act irrational" - Warren Buffett
  • Warren Buffett - The Value Investor
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    7 Responses to "Why retail investors seldom succeed in stocks?"
    m s varadhan
    Dec 28, 2012
    This blanket comment implying that retail investor lack sufficient market knowledge is unacceptable.There may be a few such. not all.Some have long term objective . some have short term objective.Depending on that , they may make investments.They may consider compound rate also , while fixing such objectives.Share market,success or failure depends on various factors. Like?
    sunilkumar tejwani
    Dec 27, 2012
    may be it is the thing of the past. The Indian retail investor is playing safe and selling at every higher levels. It is the greedy FII factor which is going gung ho and buying at every price level. I hope this time around it will be better to be safe rather than be sorry. Even if the share prices go to crazy levels the Indian retail investor will still be booking profits rather than getting carried away. Like?
    Dec 27, 2012
    I do not agree with your view that retail investors seldom succeed in stock markets. I have been a retail investor for more than 30 years in stock market and have never regretted the decision. My investments have multiplied several times during this period apart from receiving regular dividend income. Like?
    Dec 27, 2012
    very few people know the def on investor let the investors see the dictionary and let them know who is an investor
    investing in shares hsould be like stamp collection and once you bois down to a compnay scrip after seeing lot of factors like one anlayses for one daughter to narrow down a good boy
    one should go on collecting .nowa days what happens it is for sheer thrill they invest sorry actually trade and loose lot of money since sev youngsters are getting far and much mor ethan they are worth.the brokers also make them invest in so claled commodities and try to teach them as to how to get alot of money by investing in commodities in the end they loose .all investors have now found sebi which is formed for protecting eduating and safe gaurding have actually collided with unscruplous promoters and giving so called consent orders and so on andasking the companies to go for delisting so that they can be outside the purview of sebi and not taking any responsibility in pricing of ipo and allowing the promoters to loot so the investors have got tired loosing money still the investors are preapred to loose but all thier wealth has vanished .if an investor wants to complaint against a compny one has to go to the computer and type and if done they will ask for it in writing and if you call over telephone the so called officer in charge first they will hear all the complaint and after that they inform that you have to go to western regional unit or southern regional unit whoacts like post office .there is absolutely no sense of belonging to anybody in sebi even sebi chief when confronted for balance sheet problem for the non receipt he silently walked away aafter he informs that he will take it up with mca.after 6 months also no action taken even in writing .sebi is getting lot of money from the exchanges rom all investors who trade or invest .silently sebi is amssing money .for a regulator why such ahuge in the end all have lost confidence in the equity market
    Dec 27, 2012
    As compared to earlier periods of 80's and 90', stock market in India has grown into huge proportions And attracted by the returns Stock Market provides , it attracts new set of investors year after year.But making money in stock market depends on how fast the new entrant learns the skills needed for investing and weathers the storm courageously and one who does will be rewarded handsomely. I have lost money in stock market but learnt lessons and modified my investment plans and reaped benefits.I am holding a pharma company since 1994 and which is recently included in the Index and have seen the initial investment grow manifold. A plastic furniture manufacture has given me multiple returns in the last 16 years. I invest in the stock market with optimism. And retail investors voice is not heard in the market.It should not be a concern. A Sachin , a Rahul Dravid , A Ricky,A Kallis, an Imran ,a Wasim ,a Clarke,a Lara, a Laxman , a Cook,a Walsh, a Shane ,a Waugh having the skills and techniques, undeterred by one or two failures here and there ,adopt to the various playing conditions and come out with shining colours. Like?
    r v iyengar
    Dec 27, 2012
    The market was languishing in the region of 15000 to 17000 for the major part of the year. It has reached 19000+ levels only of late. The upside from here is doubtful given the domestic and global conditions. Therefore it is perfectly logical to encash the holdings when the going is still good.
    Once the market goes down again the cash can be re-invested in the market. The discerning investor has
    enough knowledge to take the right decision. Besides there is a lot of data available, now based on which one can decide on the course of action.
    Dec 27, 2012
    Indian Retail Investors have lost confidence in share market because 1) Markets are ruled by whims and fancies of FIIs and Mutual Funds who gamble with others' money 2) We can not trust the Government because of their unstable policies which in turn affect the corporate functioning. 3) Entry of F&Os in the trading environment which has changed the climate from 'investments' to GAMBLING. 4) Unscrupulous management of the companies who have swindled the corporate wealth to their personal gains through fraudulent transactions including insider trading. 5) Inflated market prices of various scrips which do not deserve entry for 'investment' due to unsatisfactory fundamental principles. Like?(3)
    Equitymaster requests your view! Post a comment on "Why retail investors seldom succeed in stocks?". Click here!
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    Work From Home Business Podcast On Mobile Marketing And How ...

    Selling On Mobile and to Mobile Device users is the topic of this podcast, I thought I would share this information with you since I have been using mobile marketing since 2010 and throughout 2011 before it found its feet and only now are businesses realising they need to start reaching people on mobile.

    I am always ahead of the curve when it comes to marketing and getting my business ahead of the competition and on this audio podcast you can learn some information which is still a year or 2 ahead of its time so that you can cash in on the move to mobile internet.

    Please feel free to leave a comment on this podcast below the play button if listening to this podcast on one of my websites.

    Until my next blog cast.



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    White House urges dockworkers, shippers deal

    WASHINGTON (AP) ? The White House is urging dockworkers and shipping companies to reach agreement "as quickly as possible" on a contract extension for East Coast and Gulf Coast dockworkers whose existing pact expires this week.

    Obama spokesman Matt Lehrich says the White House is monitoring the situation closely and urges the parties to "continue their work at the negotiating table to get a deal done as quickly as possible."

    Talks between the dockworkers and shipping companies broke down Dec. 18 amid unresolved issues such as wages and container royalties ? the payments to union workers based on cargo weight. The International Longshoremen's Association and the U.S. Maritime Alliance are expected to meet this week.

    The National Retail Federation has asked the Obama administration to use "all means necessary" to prevent a strike.


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    Thursday, December 27, 2012

    Essential Apps for Kids and Teens - Helge Scherlund's eLearning ...

    Get Started with These Essential Apps for Kids and Teens today.

    Did your kid get a new smartphone or tablet over the holidays? (Or maybe you got a new device, and you're handing your old one down.) If so, we've got the perfect list of apps to get them started.

    Our editors have combed through thousands of apps and picked their top 10 recommendations for kids ages 2-17 for the iPad, iPhone, Android phone/tablet, and Kindle Fire.

    Related link
    Starter Kits for iPad, iPhone, Android, and Kindle Fire

    Enjoy these apps!

    Source: Common Sense Media?


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    Mississippi River drops, threatening barge traffic

    (AP) ? The Mississippi River's water level is dropping again and barge industry trade groups warn that river commerce could essentially come to a halt as early as next week in an area south of St. Louis.

    The Coast Guard remains confident that the nation's largest waterway will remain open despite the worst drought in decades. But officials with the American Waterways Operators and Waterways Council Inc. said Thursday that even if the river is open, further limits on barges will halt commercial traffic.

    Mike Petersen, of the Army Corps of Engineers, says ice on the northern Mississippi River is reducing the flow more than expected. The river level is now expected to get to 3 feet at Thebes, Ill., on Jan. 6, when new limits on barges could go into place.

    Associated Press


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    How to Avoid Getting Ripped Off By a Web Design/Development ...

    Website design and development tips to get you started?My developer took the deposit and vanished.?
    ?My developer won?t give me access to the files I paid for.?
    ?My developer doesn?t have the knowledge to complete my website.?
    ?They didn?t complete the website and now they won?t return my calls.?
    ??The designer never understood our brand.?

    At least once a week a potential client will tell us a horror story of past experiences with web designers and developers. In a world where there are seemingly unlimited design firms and freelancers willing to take on your project, your challenge is selecting one who can understand your vision and execute on it.

    Here is our advice to help you avoid getting ripped of by web development and design companies:

    Avoid ?Fly by Night? developers:

    These are usually one-person shops who may or may not outsource web design and development. If they do NOT outsource, you should beware because these ?jack-of-all-trades? may be good at one thing but are probably not experts at all the necessary tasks required to build a successful website; strategy, branding, interface architecture, visual design, marketing and programming. Also, if these one-person-shops decide to go on vacation, get hit by a bus, lose interest, etc., that can mean your project will suffer. So say ?no thanks? to your friends friend or your cousin Ernie who promises they can deliver a complete website on their own.

    Another web developer you?ll want to avoid is a one-person shop that uses the outsource model. The person you see will be a combination salesperson and project manager. Once they get your project they will quickly outsource it to (insert name of foreign, low-wage country here). Although the outsource country is probably good at slapping together templates, they really have no knowledge, nor do they care about your brand, target clients, etc., so you will probably end up with a weak, unfocused web solution that will need updating sooner than not.

    Proprietary and Hosted Solutions

    Avoid web companies that build your site using their own proprietary framework. They may dazzle you with lots of cool, built-in features and a low setup cost tied to a monthly ?maintenance? fee.?? But if they are building your website on a framework that they developed and own, if you ever have a falling out or need to move your website somewhere else you?re SOL (shit-out-of-luck). Because they own the code, the most they will probably give you is a dump of your text content and you?ll have to start from scratch with another developer.

    Be Prepared:

    Be prepared, it works for the boy scouts ? it can work for you too. Have a clear idea of what you want to build before you get estimates. By giving web firms a clear list of your requirements, there is less possibility of communication problems and missed expectations. Also with a requirements list, web firms will be giving you estimates you can compare because they are bidding on the same project and not just assuming they know what you want (or trying to sell you on features you don?t need). Get multiple quotes and rates from several developers to determine the industry standard for your type of project. Be sure you get a concrete estimate prior to beginning work. ?Don?t hesitate to ask your potential provider anything that is unclear.

    Research their reputation:

    You should research the web firms you are considering. Here?s a handy tip: search for the business name in quotes on Google. You may just come across a forum post from someone telling you to beware! Ask how long they have been in business and for references or case studies on projects similar to your own.? Another good idea is to check with the Better Business Bureau online to see if they are certified.?

    Test their customer service:

    One way to test a web design firm?s customer service is to see how well they respond to your phone calls and emails during the initial consultation phase. If it takes them a week to answer an email from a prospective client, imagine how long it will take after they have your money.? Keep in mind that most web designers and developers are not professional project managers and customer service experts, so you?ll want to consider how the company functions and exactly who you will be dealing with for each phase of the process.

    Consider the future:

    Keep in mind that there may be new features and functionality you?ll want to implement into future versions of your website. Be sure to discuss the options of building a site that allows for upgrades and future integration.?What if you have to make a minor change or revision to your site after the initial work is complete?

    Ensure that once the project is launched, that the developers will provide you with all technical information to access the backend of the site and graphical assets so that you have the freedom to hire different providers if you so choose.

    These are just a few of the many factors that can help you choose the right web professional and avoid getting ripped off.

    If you ready to get your business online or would like to update your current web presence call our office today at (310)-754-3807 to schedule a free website consultation to get you started! To get more information about the Executionists? strategy or development process, or to learn more about our other Internet services please visit us online today!


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    Add a blog and blogging to your New Year's resolution | Biznology

    Chris Abraham is a leading expert in digital: online reputation management (ORM), Internet privacy, social media marketing, and digital PR with a focus on blogger outreach, blogger engagement, and Internet crisis response.

    A pioneer in online social networks and publishing, with a natural facility for anticipating the next big thing, Chris is an Internet analyst, web strategy consultant and advisor to the industries' leading firms. He specializes in Web 2.0 technologies, including content syndication, online collaboration, blogging, and consumer generated media. Chris Abraham was named a Top 50 Social Media Power Influencer by Forbes, #1 PR2.0 Influencer by Traackr, and top-10 social media influencers by Marketwire; and, for what it?s worth, Chris has a Klout of 77 the last time he looked.

    Chris recently completed a five-month contract with as Team Lead, Special Projects, in sales for their "Whale Hunting" team. Chris was one of two whale hunters tasked with closing clients for their high-end Picasso Online Reputation Management (ORM) and Executive Privacy products, from $10,000-$100,000/month campaigns for high-net-worth and high-profile individuals and Fortune 500 companies.

    Prior to, Chris ran his own digital PR and marketing company, Abraham Harrison, LLC, from Washington, DC, Portland, Oregon, and Berlin, Germany, with clients including Kimberly Clark, The Daily, Habitat for Humanity, Greenpeace, The Fresh Air Fund, International Medical Corps, Sharp, Pew, Alzheimer?s Association, and others. Previous to starting AH, Chris worked on the Interactive Team at Edelman Public Affairs in Washington, DC, consulting with clients such as Wal-Mart, Shell, and GE on blogger and social media strategy. Before Edelman, Chris was Technology Strategist for New Media Strategies, a pioneer in online brand promotion and protection with clients including Sci-Fi Channel, Buena Vista, TomTom, Paramount Pictures, Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Disney, Reebok, EA, RCA, and NBC.

    In the early nineties, Chris joined The Meta Network, a seminal online virtual community based in Washington, and so began his career as an expert in online community development, social media, social networking, and online collaboration. Chris has had a web presence since 1993 and started blogging in 1999, focusing on community, connection, innovation, and brand extension. As a technologist, Chris has consulted T. Rowe Price, the US Department of Treasury CIO, Friendster, Deutsche Telekom, and others.

    Chris has taught blogging courses for the Writer's Center of Bethesda, has been a guest lecturer on public affairs blogging at Columbia University's SIPA school and the American University in Washington, DC, the Emergent Technologies Advisor to the Urban Institute's Communications Advisory Board, and a Renaissance Weekend participant since 2001. Additionally, he is the go-to expert on social media, citizen journalism, technology, and the Internet for BBC World Service, CNN Radio, and CNet's BNet.

    Chris received his BA in American Literature from The George Washington University, studied American Literature at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, studied French at the University of Hawaii, and studied German at both the Washington and Berlin Goethe-Instituts. In addition to the Huffington Post, Chris blogs for his own blog,, for, for, and for Chris has written for AdAge?s DigitalNext and Global Idea Network blogs.

    Chris is indulging his mid-life crisis by buying a motorcycle and taking up the shooting sports including trap and target shooting with both rifle and pistol. Until he gets the novelty of gun ownership out of his system, you?ll find Chris in South Arlington, Virginia, right across the river from his beloved Washington, DC.


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    Wednesday, December 26, 2012

    WWC: Payout

    Note: This is preceded by two other chapters, written in a very different style than the approach I took with this one, which can really stand on its own although it comes from a larger work. I chose to experiment with stylistic options and move away from my usual writing style and tone. On that note, I would appreciate critical feedback (by critical, I mean both constructive and substantive, as opposed to simply "hate it" or "love it.") Added note: Please feel free to add constructive criticism by hitting "reply to post." Thanks!

    Trigger Warning: Profuse swearing including use of the f-word, mention of rape, violence and attempted murder, and extensive descriptions of alcohol and drinking. (If you don't know what a trigger warning is, you can probably ignore this.)

    Ylanne So

    Here is a riddle.

    Two Senators sit in a bar. They open a tab.

    The first Senator is on his second drink. The second is on her third. The first Senator is a wealthy Democrat from New York. The second is a working-class Republican from New Jersey. The first Senator owns a yacht moored in Bermuda. The second owns a two-story house with a white picket fence in north Jersey. The first Senator had his aide drive him to the bar. The second took the bus.

    The first Senator sits hunched by the counter, sweat glinting on his dark skin, barely visible beneath the dim light of the high-class bar. The second leans against the counter beside him, tired fingers pushing her soft blond hair behind sagging shoulders. The first Senator has his eyes focused on the breaking news report as a viewer discretion warning appears on the screen. The second is watching the bartender, imagining what he looks like naked.

    Neither wants to return home.

    Neither wants to be in the office in the morning with a nasty hangover and fuzzy memories.

    Neither wants to see the next morning?s headlines.

    Which of them will pay?

    More importantly, which of them will pay more?


    Peter Ward is a short man with wide shoulders and stumpy arms and legs. He has a soft, warm laugh, and when he smiles, everyone around can see his perfectly white teeth in stark contrast to his dark brown flesh. He is fifty-nine, but his wife tells him he can pass for forty. He doesn?t believe her, but he nods and smiles anyway. It is his second term in office and he?s facing a Republican candidate who won?t stand a chance in his liberal state.

    He perches on a bar stool made of polished oak wood, his feet tucked onto one of the rungs. So far, he has avoided soiling his suit. His smooth-palmed hand grips a glass of beer and moves unsteadily along the nicked countertop before nearly slamming the drink onto its surface.

    Yvette Neumeier stands beside him. Her gray suit jacket is missing, draped over another bar stool while small, damp circles appear under the arms of her fuchsia blouse. She takes a swig of her scotch. Yvette is a tall, lanky woman with a lean figure more fitting for a runner or a swimmer than for a politician. Her sister tells her she should have been a model, but Yvette has always scoffed at what she calls superficial careers. Her dream has always been to walk the halls of the Capitol as a Senator. It took her forty years, but she?s made it. It is her first term in office, and she?s terrified of the upcoming election. She won?t admit it though, not in front of Peter.

    The broadcaster is talking about a series of murders. The photographs are gruesome, and the only reason the cable news service is getting away with showing them on live broadcast is because it?s eleven at night, and most children of decent, respectable families have long since gone to bed. No young eyes unready for the harsh realities of human depravity will see this broadcast.

    The photographs were released to the media, the anchor says, repeating what everyone in the bar already knows. Yvette doesn?t bother straining to hear the reporter?s voice over the din of conversations from the several dozen other patrons. She knows what he?s talking about. All of them do.

    She finds it more interesting to watch Peter. He was laughing only a few minutes ago at some coarse joke that she knows he only found funny because he?s on his way to getting drunk. Alcohol loosens the tongue, gives serious men a sense of humor and humorous men a sense of honesty. She learned this in her fourth year at Rutgers at a frat party when a group of freshman boys decided to empty a barrel alone.

    But now, Peter isn?t laughing. He has his eyes fixed on the screen. His knuckles are white around the glass. His jaw is set, and the sheen on his forehead seems brighter than it did a few minutes ago, back when he?d been joking about priests in dark alleys with little boys. Some eighties rock music is blaring in the bar, making it hard for anyone to hear what anyone else is saying. She leans forward when Peter opens his mouth.

    How long until they find the suspect? he asks, hiccupping before she can answer. It can?t be too long, can it? Open and shut case. Horrible isn?t it.

    She shrugs, tilts her head to the side, woozy from two and a half drinks and debating whether she will finish her third. Don?t know, she says. Could be days. Could be years. What does it matter to us, anyway? We?ve got tax initiatives and bailouts to worry about. Healthcare reform. Shit like that. Leave this shit to the FBI.

    Peter feels the inside of his mouth go dry. His stomach lurches, and for a few seconds, he has a sudden, powerful urge to rush to the nearest bathroom. I think I need another drink, he says. He wants to black out. They talked about it during freshman orientation at Yale, about what happens when you drink too much. He remembers. You?ll forget everything that happened that night, the counselor said. And you don?t want to do that.

    But he does.

    Peter swallows the rest of his beer and asks the bartender for another glass.

    I?m going to win this thing, he says. I?m going to win it.


    No one is watching Saniya Sivarajan as she wades through the empty parking lot of a strip mall off the freeway, finished with a cheap, greasy Chinese takeout meal and ready to return to surveillance duties with her partner on the other side of town.

    As she approaches her car, she reaches for her cell phone, her fingers dialing Kincade?s number from memory. He doesn?t answer. When it goes to message, she pauses outside the driver?s door and inhales sharply. Hey, Kincade, she says. It?s me. When you get this, call me back, okay? I?m heading back to post, should be there in twenty minutes or something like that.

    Defeated, her finger depresses on the end key. She opens the door, the car lights blink, and she climbs into the driver?s seat. Key in the ignition, gear in drive. This is a routine. It is habit. It is familiar and she hardly has to think about what she?s doing.

    And that?s the problem.

    As soon as she leaves the parking lot, pulling onto the freeway, someone is watching her.

    Her phone rings. Sivarajan, hey, says Kincade. Her car automatically puts his voice on speakerphone, and she smiles at the sound of his familiar baritone. Sorry I missed your call. Guess I set my phone on vibrate or something.

    Or something, she replies. I?m on the freeway now. Not much traffic, so should be there soon.

    Cool. There?s a pause before Kincade speaks again, and she can hear him rustling something. Hey, so I?m looking at this note we got from the SAC about this Massino guy, you know, Bernie, the stand-up guy you were talking to the other day. Have you seen this yet?

    She frowns, trying to remember. Don?t think so, she says. What?s it say?

    That?s the problem, says Kincade. I can?t read Hillard?s handwriting. I?ve never been able to. It?s like trying to read something from a fucking first grader.

    You don?t have any idea what it says? she asks. There is an exit sign ahead, but she doesn?t take it.

    Not a goddamn clue. It?s like, I don?t know. There?s an M. Probably says Massino. But that?s one word, one fucking word out of like an entire puzzle. It?s like a riddle. I bet Hillard does this on purpose, you know. I bet he likes watching everyone squirm and guess his handwriting. Some kinda sadistic game.

    I doubt he thinks that much about it, Saniya says. He?s probably just oblivious. Lot of people are.

    Saniya only sees her own brown eyes gleaming in the rearview mirror. Her mother?s qawwali CD is playing again. Another car speeds past her, veering around her and driving halfway over the line for the breakdown lane. Her eyes peel away from the road in front of her to the sleek black sports car that?s probably going something close to ninety.

    That?s her mistake.

    There is a sudden explosion of sound as her tires blow on the spikes she hadn?t seen. Her car spins, and she grabs at the wheel, turning in the direction of the skid just like she was taught at Quantico.

    Kincade, my tires just got blown, she yells. I?m near exit 34.

    The car comes to a stop straddling the breakdown lane and the overgrown weeds alongside the freeway. Her headlights remain steady, and she can no longer hear the other car, the one that passed her earlier. Are you okay? she hears Kincade. Do you need backup?

    Seconds later, before she can answer, she is interrupted by a hail of bullets as the windshield shatters, showering her with tiny bits of glass.


    Yvette has never seen Peter drunk. But she figures there?s a first time for everything.

    Peter is riveted to the broadcast. The reporter is talking about leads, useless leads probably, that the FBI is pursuing in the tri-state area. It?s not going to interfere with the election, right? he asks.

    She gives him a puzzled look. Don?t know what you mean. I mean, unless you or your chief of staff did it. She laughs. He doesn?t. Come on, Peter, she says. Lighten up. She punches him in the arm. He stiffens.

    I can?t afford to lose this year, Peter says. I can?t.

    You?re eight points ahead last I checked, replies Yvette. You?re not going to lose, much as I?d love to see a Republican outta your state.

    Peter shakes his head. It?s all I?ve got, he says. This career. You know. All I?ve ever worked for, all these years.

    You have your family. And you have your life outside the Senate, says Yvette. Besides, I just told you and you know it, you?re not going to lose. Stop throwing yourself a pity party and trying to fish for attention I don?t want to give you.

    Why do you do it? Peter asks. The bartender appears with his third drink and he reaches immediately for it, taking a long swig. Across the bar, a pair of men have begun clapping loudly, jumping to their feet. What made you decide to be a Senator?

    She pauses. Well, she begins. She traces her fingers over her jaw, peering through soft green eyes at her counterpart. When I was a kid in school, my daddy died overseas in a terrorist attack. And that night, our Senator came to our house and spent the whole night long with my mom. Just being with her. I didn?t know it at the time, but the Senator made sure my brothers and I made it through school, kept checking in on us every year. Helped my mom with some of the grocery bills after we stopped getting my father?s pension. I wanted to be like him, you know. Be a part of the community. Fight for the community, for local families. Take care of people hitting hard times.

    Peter nods, listening, his eyes never leaving Yvette?s face while she speaks. He even turns on his stool so he?s facing her, looking her directly in the eye. I?ve wanted this my whole life, he says, downing another swig of his beer. My dad and my granddad were both in politics. My granddad was governor of New York and my dad was representative in Congress for good near sixty years right up til the day he died?in his office, hunched over his desk. And I wanted to be just like him. In eighth grade, I won election for student president. When I was at Yale, I was the class president again, all four years. Even as a freshman. I?m made for this, you know. I live it, I breathe it. It?s my world. Policies, regulations, little amendments to bills with hundreds of pages. It?s the perfection in the minute details. Senate hearings. God, yes, Senate hearings.

    She snorts.

    He continues. It?s like I?m sitting in the perfect place to see everything?action, reaction. Motion. It?s the feeling you get right before we take a vote, and you just?you just know what?s going to happen. I live for that. And I don?t, I don?t ever want to lose this feeling.

    Peter knows who did it. He remembers Paul better than he?d ever wanted to. But he?s tried to forget about him, tried to forget about all the mangled bodies of rats and other small animals half-heartedly buried in shallow graves in the Ward family?s backyard. That?s why, he thinks. That?s why he got the photographs in the mail.

    He?s taunting me, goddamnit, Peter swears, slamming his glass onto the counter. The bartender glares. Yvette gives the other Senator a questioning look. Sorry, says Peter. Sorry. I didn?t mean to do that.

    Are you okay? Yvette asks. Should we call a cab?

    Peter shakes his head. No, I?m fine, he says. But he can?t get his mind off of Paul, can?t stop seeing his brother?s face even though they last time he?d seen the punk, Paul was sitting comfortably behind a glass barrier in a prison visiting room. When his aide had discreetly forwarded him the escape notification ten years ago, Peter had conveniently slipped the announcement beneath a stack of old tax returns to be shredded. He hadn?t wanted to remember.

    And that was his mistake.

    And Paul knew it.

    I?ve got a lot of work to do tomorrow, Peter says. It always gets hectic close to elections. You?ll learn that, too, this year and every other election you have.


    Saniya?s first instinct is to reach for her weapon, a standard issue Glock .22 favored by most of the Bureau?s agents in the field. It is the weapon the Quantico firearms instructors spend weeks training the new agents how to use?on the range, in the artificial town, kneeling, squatting, standing, lying stomach-down. She ducks, swearing.

    Sivarajan. Saniya. Saniya. She hears Kincade calling her name, but she doesn?t have time to respond. Her lips won?t cooperate. Something acrid bothers her taste buds, and it takes her a few seconds to realize it?s her own blood, dripping from where she?s bit through her lip.


    She lies still, listening for motion, any motion.

    Saniya, if you don?t get out of there, you?re gonna be a sitting duck. Who the hell?s shooting? Saniya? She hears Kincade breathing heavily, is sure that he?s already rushing for his own car. He?d abandon post before he?d let her die. He?s a good partner, and Saniya knows that. She met him two years ago, when he was newly assigned to New York, and remembered the way he?d made his entrance to the office, falling through the elevator doors and spilling Hillard?s coffee all over his fancy suit. Hillard had never let Kincade live that down.

    Hold on, she says, speaking as quietly as possible. Some son of a bitch is trying to fucking kill me, and I don?t think he wants to sit around while we discuss it.

    Another volley of automatic fire underscores her point.

    She huddles beneath the dashboard, her knees drawn to her chest, her weapon clutched in both hands. The car is decimated, bullet holes everywhere, all the glass completely destroyed. She notices the weather?s cool out, now that it?s late and the sun is gone. The gunfire is coming from the other side of the road. So Saniya slips toward the door facing the woodland adjacent to the freeway, her fingers curling slowly, ever so slowly, around the handle, and pushes the door open.

    Immediately, she is met with more gunfire, and before she can stop herself, she yelps in pain as a bullet tears through the hand she?d used to open the door, reducing her weapon hand to meat and bone.

    Bastard?s got expanding rounds or some shit like that, she manages to gasp as tears form around the corners of her eyes. Gotta go. Getting out of the car.

    Wait. I?m coming for you, Saniya. I?m coming. She almost smiles at the sound of Kincade?s voice, but she can?t help but wonder if she?ll ever hear it again.

    She eyes her cell phone, lying on the passenger seat, strangely untouched and pristine, as if it were still brand new. But before she can contemplate it further, someone starts shooting again.

    Damnit, she whispers, ducking and running outside the car, shielded now by the car and shrouded by the weeds that had grown taller than her. Blood drips from her right hand, and she holds her gun in her left, cradling her wounded hand closer to her body as she moves at a low squat, keeping as close to the ground as she can. There are trees about ten feet ahead.

    As ridiculous as it makes her feel, she tries to remember the last time she played a chase game, and all she can think of is a fifth grade field trip to a national park where the boys and girls split into groups to chase each other.

    She?d lost.

    But I?m not losing this time, you motherfucker, she mutters.

    The trees are close.


    Here is a riddle.

    A Senator receives a packet of photos in the mail from his long lost brother. The photos constitute evidence of close to forty torture-rape-murders. The Senator calls his brother, pleads with him to turn himself in. The brother laughs and hangs up, but not before telling the Senator that the same photos are headed for the media. Faced with the choice of informing the police immediately or pretending the encounter never happened, the Senator hides the entire package in a locked back drawer.

    The FBI knows who did it. The perpetrator?s DNA and fingerprints are already in NCIC from prior convictions. So they send an agent knocking on the Senator?s door. After the agent leaves, the Senator calls an old friend and asks for a favor. The friend knows what the Senator means even though they haven?t spoken in close to twenty years.

    The FBI agent doesn?t realize she?s been targeted for a hit. She?s running for her life in the woods beside a highway while her wife and daughter are safely at home, unconcerned for her because they believe her to be safe and sound. The Senator is drinking for the first time since college halfway across town, pretending that he didn?t make either phone call.

    Neither knows how much this will cost them.

    Neither is more than vaguely aware of the other?s existence.

    Neither has realized the fragility of their own lives?until now.

    Which of them will pay?

    More importantly, which of them will pay more?


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    Social Media As An Effective Traffic Booster For The Web Design ...

    Tuesday, December 25th, 2012

    Nowadays latest trend in the new media services is the uses of Social Networking Media to promote company services and expertise. Social Media Play an effective role in boosting traffic for companies dealing into services like website designing, Web Application development, SEO Services, Custom Web application development, Software Development companies. This media uses web-based technologies and platform to transform the broadcasting media monologues to social media dialogues.

    It has been modernized to reach maximum number of consumers through the internet. Social media have become stewardship to big and small businesses. Big brands are utilizing this media to reach customers globally and generate good reputation among consumer. As social media continuously growing with time, the ability to target more consumers globally has also increased. Many social media like Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin is the biggest example of such

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    Tuesday, December 25, 2012

    National Homeless Persons' Memorial Day | Healthy Communities ...

    Across the country, last Friday, the longest night of the year, people stopped to remember homeless people that have died. ?Here in Middletown,?Martha?Trevey, one of our primary care provider for homeless people,??shared some of her thoughts with those gathered:


    Today, December 21 st, is the winter solstice. It marks the longest night of the year. It will be dark for over 15 hours tonight in Middletown, CT. For those of us that are homeless, this means 15 hours of trying to find a warm place to rest and find refuge from the cold.

    Not only does this time of year bring long dark nights, but the Holiday season can sometimes bring aching hearts as we miss the company of loved ones who have died this past year.? We gather today to remember those in our community who have been homeless and passed away. We remember their spirits and their love. Some individuals may have been sick from a long struggle with a chronic illness, others might have suffered from mental health conditions, and others suddenly taken away from us in a tragic accident. No matter the cause of death or how they passed away, we remember them today and honor their lives.

    As a primary care provider for the homeless, I know too well the connection between health and homelessness. If one suffers from chronic illnesses, they are at an increased risk for homelessness. In turn, homelessness has a direct correlation to poor health. The constant stress of moving and not having a safe and sustainable place to rest decreases immune function. When immune function is compromised, we are worn down and more susceptible to all sorts of illnesses. To add on top of the struggle for food, shelter, and warmth?it is difficult to maintain complex medication regimens or shuffle between medical provider appointments and navigate our complex health care system ? a task which sometimes can seem like a full time job. Together with the Community Health Center, we hope to decrease barriers to healthcare by being ?Wherever You Are? in the local shelters to provide quality health care in hopes of breaking the connection between homelessness and poor health.

    It is important for us to hope for a better future. ?We hope to prevent the situations which caused our loved ones to pass away. We can hope for more affordable and sustainable housing options. We are very close to a systematic change in our health care system that would radically expand the accessibility of mental and medical health care services to individuals around the country. We seek to eradicate injustice by coming together and loving our neighbors and lifting up our community.

    I will leave you with a quote from Elizabeth Ross:

    ?People are like stained glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within.?

    I wish you peace this holiday season.



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