Monday, December 31, 2012

8 Hangover Myths You Did Not Know About | 97.3 The Dawg

NewYearsEveDrinksHappy New Year, y?all! I?m sure more than half of Americans are feeling the heavy aftermath of last night?s New Year?s celebrations. It is a given that we cannot fully celebrate and party on New Year?s Eve without champagne, beer, wine, vodka, etc. I ran across some interesting hangover myths on Webmd and had to share with you.

?Since your not feeling so hot today, I want to let you know about the hangover myths you should not follow by.

1.) *Myth: Hangovers are ?gender blind.?
This is NOT true. Hangovers are more likely to affect women because women have less of a percentage of water in their body than men. So next time you ladies want to take shot for shot with you man friend, remember this.
2.) *Myth: You will only get a hangover if you drink an excessive amount.
Hangovers may be triggered by just a few drinks. It all depends on how hydrated your body is before and after you drink. Try to sip a non alcoholic beverage or glass of water in between your cocktails.
3.) *Myth: Diet sodas are a safe liquor mixer.
If you are trying to steer away from a morning hangover, try mixing sugary juices or fruit juices with your liquor.
4.) *Myth: Liquor before beer, your in the clear.
Sorry folks, this is not true. It does not matter what order your drinking your alcohol. If you have 10 vodka drinks followed by 2 beers, it is probably all of the vodka that is making you sick.
5.) *Myth: Eat food before you go to sleep.
To stay in the hangover free zone, you should always eat something hardy and substantial before you start drinking. Don?t order the soup or salad, go for a steak or pasta dish so your stomach can soak up the alcohol.
6.) *Myth: Take Aspirin before bed.
You won?t need an aspirin to keep you from developing a hangover. Once you hit the sheets and pass out you won?t wake up for a while; it is the morning you should be worried about. Take an Advil or ibuprofen right when you wake up.

7.) *Myth: Alcohol helps you sleep better.
WRONG. Although it helps you pass out quickly, you will not receive an adequate amount of sleep because of the reverse effect.

8.) *Myth: Coffee cures a hangover.
Coffee actually will not help your dehydration, whatsoever. Just stick to good ole water or sports drinks such as Gatorade to keep you hydrated.

So, there you have it! Next time you pop the top, take all of this into consideration!


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Must See HDTV (December 31st - January 6th)

Must See HDTV December 31st  January 6th

This week we say goodbye to 2012, and after the New Year's Eve festivities tonight we welcome not only college football bowl games and pro football playoffs, but also the return of many of our regularly scheduled TV shows. EHD podcast fave Justified also makes an appearance this week as seaosn three comes to Blu-ray. Portlandia fans should be ready to put a bird on it, and all those who've remained Downton Abbey spoiler free can check out the series' return Sunday night. Look below for the highlights this week, followed after the break by our weekly listing of what to look out for in TV, Blu-ray and videogames.

This time travel flick stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis playing a hitman that suddenly has the inconvenience of having both his present and future self existing at once, to the dismay of his employers. As with all movies that put time travel at their center it quickly gets more complicated, but there are some decent special effects scenes that make it well worth checking out in HD.
($19.99 on Amazon)

College Football
Bowls and bowls and bowls. While we're still awaiting the championship game, there are several big time games scattered throughout the week, plus a bevy of smaller bowls to keep things interesting. Check after the break for the dates, times and teams, and don't skip over the college football championship that will be played this week as Sam Houston State and North Dakota State vie for the FCS (aka DI-AA) crown

This USA show wasn't picked up for a series, but its two hour pilot will air Friday night. Its plot follows a fallen day trader / degenerate gambler that starts a high-end booking business. We highlight it because fans of Breaking Bad (and, we guess, Revolution, if it has fans) might want to check out Giancarlo Esposito popping up in a supporting role.
(USA, January 4th, 10PM)

Continue reading Must See HDTV (December 31st - January 6th)

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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Argentina to court: revert order on debt holdouts

(AP) Argentina is asking a US appeals court to reverse an order for the country to pay $1.33 billion to "holdout" creditors who refused to join two swaps for the country's defaulted debt.

Argentine government lawyers said in papers filed late Friday that the order violates the country's sovereignty. The lawyers said the order also threatens service on at least $24 billion of the county's restructured sovereign debt, impairs the rights of third parties and puts global debt markets at risk.

"The Amended Injunctions have no basis in law, are inequitable, and threaten to wreak havoc on countless innocent third parties, which have already suffered losses due to the plunge in their bonds' value provoked by the insecurity that the Amended Injunctions have created in the market for Argentina's New York law-governed bonds," the briefing said.

"This harm to private and sovereign creditors, as well as to New York law and New York as a place to do business, will only grow if the Amended Injunctions are affirmed. "

The U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York ordered the country on Oct. 26 to pay the holdouts an equal amount whenever it makes payments on other debt that has been restructured since the country's economic collapse 11 years ago.

It agreed with U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa, who ruled that with more than $40 billion in foreign reserves, Argentina can afford to pay. The ruling gave Argentina a difficult choice: pay all bondholders equally, or pay none of them and risk going into default.

The court then returned the case to Griesa who ordered Argentina to pay the $1.33 billion into escrow for holders of its defaulted debt and banned banks and other third parties from intervening. Griesa based his ruling on the principle of "pari passu," or equal footing, which says debtors can't pick and choose between creditors.

President Cristina Fernandez called Griesa's ruling "judicial colonialism," and Argentina sidestepped the impending economic chaos when the order was suspended by the appeals court on Nov. 28.

But just the threat of the payment deadline set by Griesa had harsh outcomes. In the week after he issued his order, the cost of maintaining Argentina's overall debt soared in trading on U.S. and European bond markets and the cost of insuring those debts spiked.

"A court can arguably enjoin a foreign state from engaging in a commercial activity within the United States. But it cannot issue an order to force or preclude a foreign sovereign to act or not act within the limits of that sovereign's own territory," Argentina's brief said.

"By dictating to Argentina that it cannot pay moneys it owes to the exchange bondholders in a funds transfer in its own country, and commanding that it make a payment (including via escrow) to holdout creditors that it is precluded from paying under its own laws, the Amended Injunctions violate this fundamental principle."

Argentina, however, said it's willing to make concessions. To end the lengthy dispute, government lawyers said the country is willing to ask Congress to give holdout creditors the same treatment as those who joined a 2010 debt swap.

"The only definitive and equitable solution to pari passu claims that would bring legal and economic certainty is to treat plaintiffs and all other similarly situated claimants equitably on the same terms as participants in (Argentina's) 2010 Exchange Offer," the brief said.

The new arguments are part of the final stage of Argentina's legal battle with NML Capital Ltd., the investment fund that brought the case and that specializes in suing over unpaid sovereign debts.

The US government filed an "amicus," or friends of the court brief, late Friday backing Argentina's request for a rehearing in the case citing that the appeals court order affects US-Argentina relations, threatens the solution of future debt crises and blocks the legal immunity given to a sovereign country. It also says that it potentially blemishes the role of New York as financial center.

Argentina tarnished its reputation worldwide by engaging in the biggest sovereign debt default in history a decade ago. Since then, the government has restructured about 92 percent of its world record $95 billion debt default.

But Fernandez refuses to pay the holdouts calling NML Capital and others "vulture funds" for buying debt for pennies on the dollar in 2002, when Argentina's economy was in ruins and now wanting to collect in full.

The fiery, center-left leader says it was their loss for refusing two opportunities to swap defaulted bonds for new, less valuable bonds that the state has reliably paid since 2005.

NML Capital fund, run by billionaire Paul Singer and other plaintiffs, slammed Argentina's arguments late on Friday.

"With more than $43 billion in foreign currency reserves and tens of billions of dollars in additional resources, Argentina has the overwhelming capacity to pay the $1.3 billion it owes in this matter," Peter Truell, spokesman for NML's parent company Elliott Management Corp., told the Associated Press in e-mail.

"Today's filing by the Republic once again demonstrates Argentina's irrational persistence in evading its contractual obligations and the orders of US courts."

Oral arguments in the case are scheduled for Feb. 27 before the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York.


Associated Press writer Luis Andres Henao in Santiago, Chile contributed to this report.


Luis Andres Henao on Twitter:

Associated Press


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Report: Kia design chief Peter Schreyer named Hyundai-Kia President

Peter Schreyer

Automotive News reports Peter Schreyer has been appointed the first non-Korean president of Hyundai-Kia Motor Group. Schreyer is expected to retain his role as the chief designer for Kia, while also taking on new, high-level executive duties. He is now one of three presidents at the automaker.

The designer made a name for himself at Volkswagen, where he penned the 1998 New Beetle and lent his eye to the Audi TT. In 2006, Schreyer moved to Kia, where he quickly revised the brand's styling from bland, forgettable lines to bold, "tiger nose" creations. Analysts attribute much of the brand's recent sales success to Schreyer's influence.

Kia is expected to move 2.75 million units worldwide next year, while sister company Hyundai will likely beat its 2012 sales forecast of 4.29 million units, according to CFO Lee Won Hee.

Click here to watch Schreyer in action.

Kia's Design Chief Breaks Down the 2011 Kia Optima


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LV police suspect casino worker killed young girl

Brenda Stokes Wilson appears in Clark County Justice Court, Friday, Dec. 28, 2012, in Las Vegas. Wilson is accused of slashing a Bellagio blackjack dealer and is suspected of kidnapping and slaying 10-year-old Jade Morris. A judge raised bail for Wilson from $60,000 to $600,000 on Friday in light of expected murder charges to be filed Friday afternoon. (AP Photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal, Jeff Scheid) LOCAL TV OUT; LOCAL INTERNET OUT; LAS VEGAS SUN OUT

Brenda Stokes Wilson appears in Clark County Justice Court, Friday, Dec. 28, 2012, in Las Vegas. Wilson is accused of slashing a Bellagio blackjack dealer and is suspected of kidnapping and slaying 10-year-old Jade Morris. A judge raised bail for Wilson from $60,000 to $600,000 on Friday in light of expected murder charges to be filed Friday afternoon. (AP Photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal, Jeff Scheid) LOCAL TV OUT; LOCAL INTERNET OUT; LAS VEGAS SUN OUT

This booking photo provided by the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas, Nev,. Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012, shows 50-year-old Brenda Stokes. Police in Las Vegas have issued a plea for information about 10-year-old Jade Morris after she failed to return home Friday, Dec. 21, 2012, from a shopping trip with a woman who is thought to be Stokes. Stokes was arrested that night and accused of slashing the face of a female co-worker at the Bellagio resort on the Las Vegas Strip. She made her first appearance in Las Vegas Justice Court Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Clark County Detention Center )

This undated photo provided by the Las Vegas Police Department shows Jade Moris, 10, who police are searching for after she failed to return home Friday, Dec. 21, 2012, from a shopping trip with a woman arrested that night and accused of slashing the face of a female co-worker at the Bellagio resort on the Las Vegas Strip. The woman, Brenda Stokes, 50, made her first appearance in Las Vegas Justice Court on Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Las Vegas Police Department)

LAS VEGAS (AP) ? Police suspect that a casino worker killed a 10-year-girl before going to a Las Vegas resort and allegedly slashing the face of a co-worker with razor blades.

The search for Jade Morris ended Friday afternoon when officials confirmed that it was her body that was found a day earlier in an undeveloped housing tract.

The Clark County coroner's office said she died of multiple stab wounds. Jade was last seen Dec. 21 with family friend Brenda Stokes Wilson, who picked her up to go Christmas shopping.

Wilson, 50, returned the car she had borrowed for the outing to a friend two hours later. Jade never came back. Investigators later found blood on the driver's door and steering wheel of the 2007 Saab sedan.

Later that night, Wilson was wrestled to the ground with razors in each hand after allegedly slashing the face of a female co-worker at the Bellagio casino.

A judge raised her bail from $60,000 to $600,000 Friday morning after she was identified as the prime suspect in the child's killing.

"It's no secret the defendant is the suspect in the murder of 10-year-old Jade Morris," prosecutor Robert Daskas told Senior Clark County District Court Judge Joseph Bonaventure at the hearing.

Later Friday, Las Vegas police homicide Capt. Chris Jones said investigators were still moving forward.

"As soon as we get all the evidence in that we need, we'll book her on the murder charges," he said.

Wilson has been jailed since the 21st on felony battery with a weapon, burglary and mayhem charges that could get her decades in prison.

Police said she offered no help in the search for the missing girl. Murder and kidnapping charges could get her life in prison without parole or the death penalty.

On Thursday, Las Vegas police responding to a 911 call found a girl's body in unkempt brush near palm trees in a small traffic circle about 10 miles from the downtown Las Vegas outlet mall where Stokes was to have taken the girl shopping.

On Friday evening, Jones called the slaying "unfathomable."

"Even having our jobs, we still can't wrap our heads around this," he said. "A lot of people think that just because of our positions we can understand it, but we can't."

In court Friday morning, Wilson stood flanked by eight police officers as her lawyer, Tony Liker, clutching a Bible and a copy of the charging documents, asked the judge to postpone arraignment until Wednesday to give him time to meet with Wilson.

Wilson, who had been identified by police and prosecutors as Brenda Stokes, told the judge Friday that her full name was Brenda Stokes Wilson.

Jade's father, Philip Morris, was removed from court Wednesday by armed court officers after shouting questions about his daughter's whereabouts to Wilson. He did not attend Friday's hearing.

The two dated for several years, and Jade had a long and trusting relationship with Wilson, according to the girl's grandfather, Philip Tucker.

Tucker said Philip Morris lived in Billings, Mont., and worked at a Flying J truck stop for more than a year. He would stay with Wilson when he visited Las Vegas, Tucker said.

Authorities have not disclosed a motive for the slaying. But Tucker said Wilson appeared to believe that the face-slashing victim had become romantically involved with Philip Morris.

Wilson picked up Jade for their shopping expedition around 5 p.m. Later, she got a ride with a friend to the Bellagio. She allegedly attacked her co-worker, Joyce Rhone, at around 9:30 p.m.

Rhone, 44, was hospitalized with deep cuts on her face, including one from her ear to the edge of her mouth.

Wilson told investigators that she visited her doctor last week, seeking to be admitted to a hospital "due to feeling like she wanted to hurt someone."


Associated Press writers Hannah Dreier and Michelle Rindels contributed to this report.

Associated Press


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Saturday, December 29, 2012

2013 NFL Draft: Watch Notes for Armed Forces, Pinstripe, Kraft Fight Hunter Bowls

We take a look at various draft prospects in the first three Saturday bowl games.

The college bowl season is in full swing as we approach the end of the calendar year, which means the 2013 NFL Draft season will be upon us shortly. We have had some basic NFL Draft discussion surrounding weekly Saturday college football, but it has been fairly basic. Now that the NFL regular season is coming to an end, it makes sense to ramp up our coverage.

Starting Monday, you'll start seeing content from Trevor Woods and Nick Chiamardas. I put out a call on Twitter for help providing coverage heading into the 2013 NFL Draft, and Trevor and Nick responded with solid writing backgrounds and a passion for both college football and the NFL. I wanted to try using two people for NFL Draft coverage so we can get even more out there and keep both guys fresh.

To get things started, Nick put together a look at the first three bowl games for today. Below he has provided a rundown of some notable prospects. Trevor has put together a look at the prospects from the remaining two games, and I'll have a separate thread for those just to break it up a bit. I'll pin this post into the cover for the first three games to keep the discussion up top.

All game times are pacific. Feel free to chip in with your own thoughts on prospects in each game.

Rice vs Air Force - Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl - 8:45 a.m. ET ESPN

This matchup featuring two 6-6 teams probably doesn't get anyone jumping out of their seats in excitement. The games also leaves more to be desired as far a potential draft prospects for the Niners. One player to keep an eye on is Rice tight end Vance McDonald. McDonald has prototypical TE size at 6-5 260lbs, and with a good showing in the bowl game and in the Senior Bowl he should find his way onto an NFL roster in 2013. With the uncertainty surrounding Delanie Walker's status with team next year and what seems to be a constant search for a 'blocking' TE, it wouldn't surprise me to see the Niners take two TEs in this draft particularly when will likely have 13 picks (11 regular, 2 compensatory).

McDonald is coming off a decent season where he was third in receptions (35), yards (433) and touchdowns (2) for the Owls despite missing three games due to injury. Scouts believe if the big bodied TE shows improvement in his blocking he could work his way into the mid to late rounds of the draft.

West Virginia vs Syracuse - New Era Pinstripe Bowl - 12:15 p.m. ESPN

The Mountaineers certainly aren't short on NFL talent. With prolific passing games seemingly dominating the NFL, the talent at WVU should have no problems finding homes at the next level. We know Geno Smith will be a 1st round (likely top 10) pick. But it's highly unlikely Harbaalke would trade up given the emergence of Colin Kaepernick and Harbaugh's growing fondness of Scott Tolzien.

At wide receiver, two Mountaineers stand out. The tiny speedster Tavon Austin and legit NFL No. 2 Stedman Bailey who recently announced he'd enter the draft after this season.

Austin doesn't have the typical size at 5-9 but he has blazing speed and a knack for the end zone. He is a First Team AP All-American and caught 110 passes for 1,259 yards and 12 TDs as a slot receiver for WVU. He also rushed for 598 yards and 3TDs while adding 903 return yards on both punt and kickoff returns. Any skill player who accounts for 2,760 all purpose yards for one of the top offenses in major college football is worth a look. Unfortunately for Austin, his size will likely keep him out of the first round. He reminds scouts a lot of Chris Rainey the undersized RB out of Florida now playing with the Steelers. With the impending departure of the disappointing Ted Ginn, Jr., Austin would be a worthy replacement if the team is willing to spend a second round pick on him.

Teammate Stedman Bailey might have a better outlook as far as pure WR. The junior finished in among the nation's leaders in every major receiving category with 106 receptions, 1,501 yards, and a whopping 23 TDs which led the nation. Bailey apparently received a third round grade from scouts to which his QB Geno Smith took to twitter to defend, saying: "To say SB3 is a third round pic is absurd, the guy dominated every corner he lined up against..." While that may be true, we all know the Big12 lacks solid defenses and, as with Austin, Bailey's 5-10 height may hinder his draft stock. Who knows if Randy Moss will be back next year and what the development process of AJ Jenkins has been like? I wouldn't be shocked to see the Niners take a WR in the mid rounds, especially if they can get some help in the return game.

A potential sleeper pick from this team would be center Joe Masden. The 6-4 305lb lineman started 50 of 51 games in college and earned 2nd Team All Big 12 honors. He was also on the Lombardi Award preseason watch list. Masden will not play Saturday night as he has been ruled academically ineligible which will not help his chances. He'll need a good showing in workouts to make it in the late rounds.

On the other side, Syracuse QB Ryan Nassib has been a hot name of late. As we've learned year after year, QBs with size and arm strength almost always find a way into the top end of the draft. Nassib will be no different. However, as with Smith, it's hard to see a scenario where the 49ers select a QB in the first 3 or 4 rounds.

Syracuse SS Shamarko Thomas could be an option in the mid rounds. At 5-10 he lacks size desired from a SS but his 210lbs frame and sub 4.4 speed are intriguing. He's also quite versatile having lined up at LB and CB in addition to safety for the Orange. He is known for his style of play often plays with reckless abandon in throwing his body around the field looking for the big hit. Sound familiar? With Dashon Godson's future still yet to be determined and Harbaugh's love for tough physical special team's players, Thomas would be an ideal late round candidate.

Navy vs Arizona State - Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl - 1:00 p.n. ESPN2

Is it just me or have the names of these bowl games lost their luster? Not surprisingly the only draft prospects here are found on ASU's roster, as the men from Navy have much more important things to worry about after their football careers.

ASU Jr. DT Will Sutton hasn't declared for the draft yet but he just won the PAC12's defensive player of the year award so I'm considering him likely to throw his hat in the ring. Sutton is rather small for a pure DT but could be an ideal fit for DE in the 3-4. Listed at 6-1 272lbs, Sutton would certainly need to add some weight to compete at the next level. His non-stop motor and ability to cause disruption in the backfield has scouts drooling. Among his strengths is his uncanny ability to time the snaps and get off the ball extremely well. He possesses strong, active hands and feet and continuously proves he can get off blocks to pursue ball carriers. Depth on the defensive line is always invaluable. Contracts and age are going to be a question mark in the next couple of years so the 49ers will almost certainly stock up on young talent along the defensive line.

Brandon Magee an OLB for ASU could find his way into the later part of the draft but most likely as at 4-3 OLB so he probably won't be on the radar. Magee is a baseball prospect as well and could forgo the NFL draft altogether.

WR/KR Rashad Ross had a disappointing senior season and is looking at a very late round pick or undrafted free agent. He will be a project but with decent 6-0 size and above average speed, he could contribute as a kick returner right away.

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Engadget's CES 2013 Preview: Laptops

With CES looming like an electrically charged storm of news and announcements, it's time for us to give you our best bets on what you'll see come January. During the month of December, we'll bring you a series of CES preview posts, forecasting what you can expect when the news deluge begins. For more of what's to come, check out our hub.

Engadget's CES 2013 Preview Laptops

It's incredible to think that when CES 2012 kicked off back in January we had only reviewed five Ultrabooks. Yep, five. Enough to count on one hand. Even weirder, we still hadn't seen that many by the time we wrapped our coverage of the show. Sure, a few companies teased ultraportables they planned to release later in the year, but these only represented a slice of the 100-plus models slated to launch in 2012. And that didn't even include all the Ultrabook imposters! Ever hear of Sleekbooks? Ultrathins? Whoever said PCs are dead clearly doesn't have to review them for a living.

Continue reading Engadget's CES 2013 Preview: Laptops

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2013 Best Time For Investing In Real Estate | American Apartment ...


by Lex Levinrad

If you read the mainstream media, the forecast for real estate seems bleak. This is especially the case in hard hit states like California, Florida, Arizona, Nevada, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan and New York.

In 2010 and 2011, one in every 17 households in Arizona received a foreclosure notice. In Florida one in every 18 houses went into foreclosure last year. Many experts are predicting that lenders will take back more homes in 2012 than in any other previous year since the foreclosure crisis began.

All of this bad news in the media gives the average reader the impression that now is not a great time to be buying real estate.

After all, why would you invest in real estate if there is so much negative news?

Negative news has a negative effect on buyers, forcing them to sit on the sidelines while they wait for better news. Adding to the negative news is the fact that over the past few years it has been very difficult for home buyers to get approved for a mortgage. This is yet another reason why potential home buyers might sit on the side lines and wait for the situation to improve.

Foreign Cash Buyers Snapping Up Deals

By the end of 2010 and throughout 2011 more and more cash buyers had entered the market looking for bargains. Over the past year many of our buyers have been foreign buyers and we have been fielding phone calls in our office from Canadian, European, South American, Russian and even Chinese investors. It seems that these foreign investors have figured out something that many local investors have not. These foreigners know just like I do that real estate is a screaming buy right now. Real estate is such an amazing bargain right now that I coined a phrase to characterize the current state of the real estate market. This is the quote that I use: ?This will be the best time in your lifetime to buy real estate?. Or expressed another way, between now and the day that you die, you will never get another opportunity to buy real estate at such cheap prices. Adjusted for inflation housing prices are cheaper than they have ever been since the Great Depression.

The prices that some of these bank owned properties are selling for is such an incredible opportunity for cash investors (you cannot buy bank owned properties with a mortgage). Many cash buyers are scooping these properties up as fast as the banks can list them. The banks know this and very wisely are listing them slowly to maintain demand. Most of the action that I see is in the affordable lower priced homes. These are the types of homes that make great rental properties for landlords and also make great properties for fixing and flipping to first time home buyers.

FHA Loans & First Time Home Buyers Rising

FHA loans are getting approved and many first time home buyers are buying their first home instead of renting which means there is a substantial pool of buyers for these entry level homes. In South Florida most of the homes that we sell are priced at less than $100,000. Potential landlords are especially attracted to houses in the $60,000 to $90,000 price range since the cash flow opportunities are tremendous. One example is a student of mine that purchased a house for $37,000, spent $12,000 repairing the house and then rented the house to a section 8 tenant for $1,250 per month.

Where Are The Best Deals?

We haven?t seen that kind of cash flow in real estate for at least 30 years if not longer. I speak to my real estate associates in California, New York, Arizona and Nevada and they all tell me that the situation is the same in their states. Affordably priced single family homes are where the action is right now in the bank owned property market.

Low priced homes will move first because these homes have the most buyers. Potential buyers for these homes are landlords, retirees and real estate investors looking to fix and flip properties for a profit. For the first time in many years homes are finally priced affordably. First time homebuyers can purchase a home with an FHA mortgage and have a monthly mortgage payment equivalent to what they were previously paying in rent. In many cases their mortgage payment can be lower than what they would pay in rent. And these first time home buyers only need to put down 3 1/2 percent for an FHA mortgage which means that anyone with decent credit that is renting could probably afford to buy the home that they are currently renting if it is an affordably priced home.

Foreign Buyers Focusing On Rehabbing & Flipping

There is also a tremendous opportunity in flipping properties for a profit. Investors can purchase a bank owned home for $70,000, spend $15,000 repairing it and flip it for a profit of $25,000 or more. That is why so many foreign investors are trying to buy these properties. We have investors that are purchasing multiple properties every single month for the purposes of fixing and flipping these properties for a profit. These investors can buy 20, 30 or even 40 homes per year to fix and flip.

If you are a cash investor your return on fixing and flipping houses is much higher than any other type of investment that you currently have. For this reason many of our investors are liquidating real estate in other countries and even their stock portfolios in order to invest in single family houses that can be flipped for a profit. The returns that are being made right now in this market cannot be found anywhere else. And this is especially true if you live in a country where you are worried about the stability of your currency or economy like many countries in Europe right now.

Luxury & High End Homes Sputter

Houses that sell at higher prices still suffer challenges because so many buyers cannot qualify for a mortgage. As long as banks are reluctant to lend, it will be hard for this market to move significantly. However there is still opportunity for cash buyers to fix and flip these houses for even larger profits. The key is to find a buyer that can get approved for a mortgage which is still very challenging. Over time, as banks begin lending again this market too will improve and we are already seeing signs of improvement in this market.

2013 Foreclosure Shadow Inventory

Many experts are predicting that lenders will take back more homes in 2013 than in any other previous year since the foreclosure crisis began. Which brings me to what REO agents and asset managers call ?shadow inventory? ? homes that are in foreclosure that have not yet been listed for sale by the banks. Since these properties theoretically will eventually end up being listed for sale on the multiple listing service (MLS) the inventory is considered shadow inventory because everyone assumes that it is coming but yet you cannot see the inventory since it has not yet been listed on the market.

2013 Great Time to Invest In Real Estate

In summary, now is a great time to be buying real estate. This is a good time to be investing in real estate regardless of whether you are a first time home buyer looking for your first home at a great price, a real estate investor looking to fix and flip a property or a potential landlord looking to buy real estate and hold rental property for the long term for cash flow. Many retirees are taking advantage of the discount in prices to buy themselves their retirement home at a fraction of what they would have paid just 5 years ago. Returns for landlords on rental properties are the best they have ever been. If you are looking to buy rental properties now is the time to buy.

Do not wait for the media to start painting a rosy picture about the real estate market before you buy. 2012 or 2013 might just be the year when the shadow inventory hits the market. This could be the year which in hindsight will turn out to be the unprecedented real estate buying opportunity of your lifetime. You must take advantage of this and start buying real estate right now while you can still get great deals at great prices. Remember that prices have already started moving up.

When there are no more sellers left to sell and when all of the banks are finally done liquidating their properties at bargain prices then prices can only go one way. And that way is up.

Lex Levinrad has been a full time distressed real estate investor since 2003. He has been involved in buying, rehabbing, wholesaling, renting, and selling hundreds of houses in South Florida.

Lex is the founder and CEO of the Distressed Real Estate Institute, which trains beginning distressed real estate investors about how to find wholesale real estate deals. He specializes in buying foreclosures and bank owned REO homes and offers private mentoring, bus tours, boot camps and home study courses for real estate investors.

Lex Levinrad is an accomplished national public speaker and has shared the stage with some of the countries best real estate speakers. Lex Levinrad has authored numerous books about real estate and is also the the founder of the Distressed Real Estate Investors Association (DREIA) and the co-founder of the Port St Lucie Real Estate Investors Association (PSLREIA).

This post provided by for creative real estate investors.Copyright 2002-2011 All Rights Reserved. Published with Permission of Author. No part of this publication may be copied or reprinted without the express written permission of the Author and/or


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Friday, December 28, 2012

Worst CEO of 2012: Best Buy's Brian Dunn | Daily ... - Yahoo! Finance

As 2012 comes to a close, it's that time of year again to list some of the best and worst CEOs over the past 12 months.

Sydney Finkelstein, a professor of management at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and author of ?Why Smart Executives Fail? and ?Think Again," shared his annual "Worst CEOs" list with The Daily Ticker.

Two of the CEOs were so bad they are no longer on the job. For the CEOs who remain on the payroll, watch out. All of the CEOs on Finkelstein?s 2011 list have been shown the door.

While stock price is an important part of Finkelstein's criteria, it is not the only determining factor. The lack of corporate governance also plays an important part.

Without further ado, the top two ?Worst CEOs of 2012? are Brian Dunn of Best Buy (BBY) and Audrey McClendon of Chesapeake Energy Corporation (CHK). Honorable mentions also go to Facebook?s (FB) Mark Zuckerberg and Groupon?s (GRPN) Andrew Mason.

1. Brian Dunn, former CEO, Best Buy (resigned April 2012)

?Brian Dunn...there is really not a lot of great things to say,? says Finkelstein in the accompanying interview. ?You have a company that is in a virtual free fall. The stock is down something like 50% this year; cash is down; EPS is down; same-store-sales are down. You name it?s down.?

Dunn resigned this past spring; during his tenure Best Buy stock has fallen 80% in five years.

The electronics retailer's competitors ? like Amazon (AMZN), Wal-Mart (WMT) and Apple (AAPL) ?have been breathing down its neck for years and Dunn did little to fight back, says Finkelstein. Dunn also deserves blame for not improving Best Buy?s customer service, Finkelstein adds. Dunn also "completely wasted" $6.4 billion in company cash on stock repurchases, says Finkelstein. Dunn was also accused of dating a 29-year-old female employee.

2. Aubrey McClendon, CEO, Chesapeake Energy (resigned as chairman, still CEO)

?Aubrey McClendon is a classic entrepreneur who breaks all the rules,? says Finkelstein.

While he was a visionary in his line of work, he also pushed the envelope when it came to mixing business finances with personal finances. For example, McClendon used the corporate jet for his personal use and he cut a corporate sponsorship deal with a sports team he privately owned.

According to Finkelstein, McClendon's inappropriate behavior includes:

  • Documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal show that several major Wall Street banks lent McClendon money and then received lucrative work as public-offering underwriters or financial advisers to Chesapeake.
  • Personally borrowed $500 million from EIG Global Energy Partners, which had also been a large financer for Chesapeake. In securing personal loans from his company's business associate, McClendon exposed himself to a potential conflict of interest, as it's reasonable to expect him to feel pressure to serve EIG's interests in future corporate transactions, potentially at the expense of the best interests of shareholders.
  • Reuters exposed a $200 million hedge fund trading oil and gas McClendon ran at the same time he was CEO of Chesapeake -- an obvious conflict of interest.

?Nothing is illegal, everything is disclosed (as far as we know) but it sure doesn?t look good,? says Finkelstein.

3. Andrea Jung, Avon, Chairman of Board (resigned as CEO April 2012)

Andrea Jung of Avon (AVP) made this year?s list of worst CEOs due to a long string of poor performance and her inability to remedy operational issues, says Finkelstein.

Avon?s stock price is down 18% in 2012 and was down more than 80% in the last quarter.

The U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission are also looking into Avon's potential bribery of foreign officials. The investigation has been ongoing since 2011 and to date Avon has spent $300 million in legal fees.

4. Mark Pincus, CEO, Zynga

Mark Pincus of Zynga (ZNGA) made the list because of the huge declines in Zynga's stock price.

Zynga?s stock price is down 75% in 2012. Even though the number of users is increasing, the number of paying customers is shrinking, notes Finkelstein.

On top of that, there has been an ?incredible exodus of top executive talent, always one of the biggest warning signs for impending disaster," says Finkelstein.

Another foreboding sign is the fact that the gaming company is dependent upon Facebook for 90% of its revenues.

5. Rodrigo Rato, President, Bankia (Spain)

Rato became the chief executive officer in 2010 and resigned this year after wrongfully promoting the health of the bank and its shares. The Spanish government had to step in and bail out the financial institution.

Tell us what you think!

Who do you think was the worst CEO of 2012? Tell us in the comments section below.

Got a topic you?d like covered? Have a guest you?d like to see interviewed? We?d love to hear from you! Send us an email at

You can also look us up on Twitter and Facebook. Follow Aaron Task on Twitter at @aarontask.

Check out these other videos from The Daily Ticker:

January's Highlights (and Lowlights) in Executive Compensation February's Highlights (and Lowlights) in Executive Compensation

March Highlights (and Lowlights) in Executive Compensation

April's Highlights (and Lowlights) in Executive Compensation

Outrageous CEO Compensation: Wynn, Adelson, Dell and Abercrombie Shockers

June's Highlights (and Lowlights) in Executive Compensation

Zynga, Ralph Lauren: Most Outrageous Acts of Corporate America


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What game console release in 2013 is more exciting? | CreateDebate

Well, Play Station usually doesn't disappoint, especially since 3 was far superior to the other counsels.

However, I'm thinking I might get the Valve counsel coming out next year. It's also a computer and I've been thinking of getting a new one. Not to mention how useful Steam will finally be for me when I have a system powerful enough to run whatever I download onto it.


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frenchstewarter: Passels55A: Christmas Craft Supplies 6 Inch Sisal ...

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Consumers, businesses brace for 'fiscal cliff' impact

6 hrs.

For much of this year, business managers have blamed uncertainties over the looming ?fiscal cliff? for their reluctance to pick up the pace of new hiring. ?

As the budget?deadline nears with no deal in sight, we may be about to find out just justified those fears are.

Without a deal, the current budget law calls for a half-trillion-dollar package of tax hikes and spending cuts that most forecasters warn would, if left in force for long, send the U.S. economy back into recession.

Reid: Fiscal cliff failure looks likely, blames Boehner for 'dictatorship'

After strong gains in income in November, American households will see their paychecks shrink a bit when a two-year payroll tax "holiday" expires Dec. 31. The new rate will clip?2 percent from?every dollar of wage income, or?about $20 a week for someone making the median salary of?$50,000 a?year. ?

?People will start to feel it fairly quickly in their paychecks,? said Ian Shepherdson, an economist at Pantheon Macroeconomic Advisers.??I don't think the economy will fall apart completely (in the short term). But we?ve seen already that business confidence is weakening and consumer confidence is weakening. So the uncertainty is a problem.?

Small business owners are especially negative. Just five percent of them plan on adding new jobs, according to the latest monthly survey of its members by the National Federation of Independent Businesses. Only 19 percent said they plan to invest in new equipment in the next three to six months.

The business gloom does not bode well for the U.S. economy, which already faces weak conditions on several other fronts. Export growth is slowing as a?European recession and a?slowdown in China weigh on global demand for American products and services. Growth in government spending likely will slow ? whether or not a budget deal is reached to avoid the deeper cuts already set to kick in. That leaves spending by business and consumers to keep the economy afloat.

It remains to be seen whether businesses are holding back because of the ongoing budget battle. An alternative explanation is that business owners are hoping their can maximize profits by spending less and hiring fewer full-time?workers, instead?making do with temporary or part-time workers more or less indefinitely.

?That means more temporary workers, less investment in the future, lower productivity gains and a lower growth rate in the future,? said UBS economist Drew Matus. ?That?s a worst case scenario. So we all better hopes it?s the fiscal cliff causing some of these people to hold back.?

Though hiring picked up in the second half of this year, the overall pace is far lower than typically seen more than three years into an economic recovery. Since the 2007 recession ended, the number of part-time workers who can?t get full-time work has been stuck at double the level seen when the downturn began. ?

The spectacle of political dysfunction is likely to keep business managers in a sour mood for some?time.?

Though the new package of tax hikes and federal spending cuts is set to begin Jan. 1, the impact of those new measures will be felt gradually. Tax hikes will be spread over a full year. Some government?agencies may postpone spending cuts in?hopes that they'll be reversed before the fiscal year ends Sept. 30. ?

More worrisome is the pending fight over raising the debt ceiling, which will exhaust the government?s borrowing authority in February.

Unless lawmakers agree to extend it, the Treasury faces the same threat of default that threw the budget process into chaos?in July 2011 and cost the U.S. its Triple-A credit rating. The three major bond rating agencies have already warned that failure to reach a credible deal to contain federal budgets deficits could bring yet another downgrade.

US Treasury to take steps to avoid hitting debt ceiling

The best case scenario has Congress returning in January to enact a compromise agreement that President Barack?Obama signs into law, lifting the pall over business and consumers and sparking a fresh spurt of economic growth.

?That?s sort of what happened last summer when we had the debt ceiling fiasco,? said Sheperdson. ?Things rebounded fairly quickly. But while the negotiations were going on, payroll growth rolled over. And I?m nervous that we could get something similar this time.?

Until the budget fiasco is resolved, with businesses sitting on their hands, consumers remain the last best hope to keep the economy afloat. ?

?The consumer has really been holding things up,? said Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors. ?Whether its retail sales, whether it's motor vehicle sales and even the biggest sales of all, housing, the consumer has been out there.?

Though wages have remained nearly flat since the recession ended, U.S. households have continued to pay down debt. Record lower interest rates have sparked a wave of refinanced mortgages that have plowed billions of dollars back into household budgets.

But the protracted display of Congressional incompetence may already be weighing on consumer spending, which accounts for 70 cents of every dollar of gross domestic product. ?On Friday, the latest read on consumer confidence, from a monthly Thompson Reuters/University of Michigan survey, showed that consumer sentiment fell sharply in December. ?A private survey, released Monday, similarly showed confidence getting eroded by fiscal cliff worries.

Without a budget deal, higher taxes will crimp consumers? spending power ? but only gradually. That?s why many economists believe the fiscal cliff is really more a like a slope.

Naroff likens the budget deadline to a snowball that will be released Jan. 1, picking up size and force as it continues to roll down the hill.

?To me the biggest uncertainty in all of this ? and for which we don?t have any estimates - is what happens to confidence?? he said. ?If consumers say, ?Hey, this thing is really getting very bad, Congress doesn't know what it is doing. ?I'm cutting back.? then we could have the snowball hit on consumer spending - with weakness in the business side. And then you have a real problem.?


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Health, Wellness and Fitness | Dayton City Paper

By Michael Roizen, M.D., and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Could cutting yourself a little slack improve your diet, help you stick with a workout routine and let you meet your health goals, from lowering blood sugar, LDL (lousy) cholesterol or blood pressure, to living with chronic pain? Positively. Some examples: Self-kindness makes you 23 percent more likely to take your high blood pressure medications as directed, helps you improve blood sugar numbers if you have diabetes and makes it 64 percent easier to stick with a low-sodium diet.

What is self-kindness? Well, it isn?t about repeating goofy affirmations like that ?Saturday Night Live? character Stuart Smalley, whose mantra was ?I?m good enough, I?m smart enough, and, doggonit, people like me!? It?s about reminding yourself that everybody messes up, not kicking yourself when you?re down, looking at the big picture and identifying areas where you?re doing well.

Turning off your harsh inner critic and turning on a bit of self-kindness boosts your confidence in your ability to make healthy changes in your everyday habits, and it makes your RealAge younger in a number of additional ways, too!

Here?s how harnessing the ?BFF Factor? produces life-changing, age-reducing results:

It makes weight control easier: When diet slip-ups lead to overeating, self-kindness may work better than willpower to help you make a U-turn. Women who indulged by munching doughnuts and then were asked to taste-test candies ate fewer of those sweets when they were told: ?I hope you won?t be too hard on yourself. Everyone eats this stuff.? This led one Harvard psychotherapist to note, ?Self-compassion is the missing ingredient in every diet and weight-loss plan.?

It lets you cope with chronic pain better: Another report has shown that people with chronic pain who judged themselves less harshly when pain interfered with activities felt less depressed, less stressed and less isolated than those who adopted a tough-it-out attitude. We?re not saying they felt less pain, but they were more likely to have a positive state of mind and found more ways to work around the pain (like asking for help and finding ways to make activities easier). They also found it easier to follow their doctor?s directions, since ridding yourself of negative thoughts makes it easier to believe that you can take control.

It provides you with an extra stop-smoking tool: In the first three weeks of a stop-tobacco program, smokers who learned to give themselves positive, gentle pep talks when they felt the urge to light up (?You can do it; just hold out for one more minute!?) found it easier to say no to cigarettes much sooner than quitters who didn?t give themselves positive reinforcement.

It produces a stronger motivation to exercise: Turns out people who practice self-kindness gravitate to workouts that bring deep-down enjoyment ? often something like walking with a friend, biking with a club or dancing around the house to your favorite tunes! And that makes it easier to stick with your exercise routine week in and week out. Being motivated by the desire to look better or be sexier just doesn?t sustain your commitment as well.

How does a little self-love do such positive, powerful stuff? It seems that an I-can-do-it attitude translates to less shame, blame and anger about chronic health issues, and more respect for what you have done. And that?s a sure-fire way to start believing you deserve a long, healthy, happy life ? and making sure you get it!

Want a shortcut to self-kindness? Pick a problem that?s bothering you, then write a short letter to yourself from the point of view of a friend who cares about you. Doing this for just a few minutes a day for one week can reduce anxiety and depression for two to six months.

So, can you be a little kinder to YOU? Yes, you can!


Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of ?The Dr. Oz Show,? and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Medical Officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. For more information go to (c) 2012 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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Delays litter long road to vehicle rearview rules

In this Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012 photo, Judy Neiman holds a photo of her daugher, Sydnee, in front of her 2006 Cadillac Escalade at her home in West Richland, Wash. Sydnee died in late 2011 after Neiman accidentally backed over her with the SUV. Although there is a law in place that calls for new manufacturing requirements to improve the visibility behind passenger vehicles, the standards have yet to be mandated because of delays by the U.S. Department of Transportation. (AP Photo/Kai-Huei Yau)

In this Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012 photo, Judy Neiman holds a photo of her daugher, Sydnee, in front of her 2006 Cadillac Escalade at her home in West Richland, Wash. Sydnee died in late 2011 after Neiman accidentally backed over her with the SUV. Although there is a law in place that calls for new manufacturing requirements to improve the visibility behind passenger vehicles, the standards have yet to be mandated because of delays by the U.S. Department of Transportation. (AP Photo/Kai-Huei Yau)

In this Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012 photo, Paul and Judy Neiman hold a photo of their daughter, Sydnee, in her bedroom at their home in West Richland, Wash. Sydnee died in late 2011 after Judy accidentally backed over her with her SUV. Although there is a law in place that calls for new manufacturing requirements to improve the visibility behind passenger vehicles, the standards have yet to be mandated because of delays by the U.S. Department of Transportation. (AP Photo/Kai-Huei Yau)

In this Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012 photo, Judy Neiman holds a photo of her daugher, Sydnee, in front of her 2006 Cadillac Escalade at her home in West Richland, Wash. Sydnee died in late 2011 after Neiman accidentally backed over her with the SUV. Although there is a law in place that calls for new manufacturing requirements to improve the visibility behind passenger vehicles, the standards have yet to be mandated because of delays by the U.S. Department of Transportation. (AP Photo/Kai-Huei Yau)

FILE - In this Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011 file photo, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood speaks about the Toyota recalls at the Transportation Department in Washington. A 2008 law calls for new manufacturing requirements to improve the visibility behind passenger vehicles to help prevent fatal backing crashes, which the government estimates kill some 228 people every year _ 110 of them children age 10 and under - and injures another 17,000. But almost five years later, the standards have yet to be mandated because of delays by the U.S. Department of Transportation, which faced a Feb. 28, 2011, deadline to issue the new guidelines for car manufacturers. LaHood has pushed back that deadline three times - promising in February that the rules would be issued by year?s end. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

In this Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012 photo, Judy and Paul Neiman pose for a photo as she holds a photo of their daughter, Sydnee, next to a garden dedicated to her in West Richland, Wash. Sydnee died in late 2011 after Judy accidentally backed over her with her SUV. Although there is a law in place that calls for new manufacturing requirements to improve the visibility behind passenger vehicles, the standards have yet to be mandated because of delays by the U.S. Department of Transportation. (AP Photo/Kai-Huei Yau)

(AP) ? In the private hell of a mother's grief, the sounds come back to Judy Neiman. The SUV door slamming. The slight bump as she backed up in the bank parking lot. The emergency room doctor's sobs as he said her 9-year-old daughter Sydnee, who previously had survived four open heart surgeries, would not make it this time.

Her own cries of: How could I have missed seeing her?

The 53-year-old woman has sentenced herself to go on living in the awful stillness of her West Richland, Wash., home, where she makes a plea for what she wants since she can't have Sydnee back: More steps taken by the government and automakers to help prevent parents from accidentally killing their children, as she did a year ago this month.

"They have to do something, because I've read about it happening to other people. I read about it and I said, 'I would die if it happens to me,'" Neiman says. "Then it did happen to me."

There is, in fact, a law in place that calls for new manufacturing requirements to improve the visibility behind passenger vehicles to help prevent such fatal backing crashes, which the government estimates kill some 228 people every year ? 110 of them children age 10 and under ? and injures another 17,000.

Congress passed the measure with strong bipartisan backing, and Republican President George W. Bush signed it in 2008.

But almost five years later, the standards have yet to be mandated because of delays by the U.S. Department of Transportation, which faced a Feb. 28, 2011, deadline to issue the new guidelines for car manufacturers. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has pushed back that deadline three times ? promising this past February that the rules would be issued by the end of 2012.

With still no action, safety advocates and anguished parents such as Neiman are asking: What's taking so long to remedy a problem recognized by government regulators and automakers for decades now?

"In a way, it's a death sentence, and for no good reason," said former Public Citizen president Joan Claybrook, who once directed the federal agency responsible for developing the rules.

The proposed regulations call for expanding the field of view for cars, vans, SUVs and pickup trucks so that drivers can see directly behind their vehicles when in reverse ? requiring, in most cases, rearview cameras and video displays as standard equipment.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, charged with completing the new standards, declined requests to discuss the delays. Spokeswoman Karen Aldana said the agency would not comment while the rulemaking process was ongoing but was on track to meet LaHood's latest cutoff date. In a letter to lawmakers in February, LaHood said his agency needed more time for "research and data analysis" to "ensure that the final rule is appropriate and the underlying analysis is robust."

Others insist the issue is money, and reluctance to put any additional financial burdens on an industry crippled by the economic crisis. Development of the new safety standards came even as the Obama administration was pumping billions of dollars into the industry as part of its bailout package.

"They don't want to look at anything that will cost more money for the automobile industry," said Packy Campbell, a former Republican state lawmaker from New Hampshire who lobbied for the law.

NHTSA has estimated that making rear cameras standard on every car would add $58 to $88 to the price of vehicles already equipped with dashboard display screens and $159 to $203 for those without them.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a lobbying group that represents automakers, puts the total cost to the industry at about $2 billion a year. The organization endorsed the 2008 law after a series of compromises. But last December, eight days after Sydnee Neiman's death, its leader met with White House budget officials to propose a less expensive alternative: reserving cameras for vehicles with extra-large blind zones and outfitting the rest with curved, wide-angle exterior mirrors.

The alliance declined comment, but earlier this year the group's vice president, Gloria Bergquist, told The Associated Press that it urged the government to explore more options as a way to reduce the costs passed on to consumers.

"There are a variety of tools that could be used," she said, adding that automakers also were concerned that the cumulative effect of federal safety regulations is driving up the average price of a new car, now about $25,000.

Industry analysts also question whether cameras are needed on smaller, entry-level class cars with better rearview visibility.

"It may just be a couple hundred dollars, but it can grow pretty significantly if you are talking about ... an inexpensive car that was not originally conceived to have all these electronics and was only going to have a simple car stereo," said Roger Lanctot, an automotive technology specialist.

Before the delays, all new passenger vehicles were to carry cameras and video displays by September 2014. The industry has now asked for two more years after the final rules are published to reach full compliance.

Despite its resistance, the industry on its own has been installing rearview cameras, a feature first popularized two decades ago in Japan and standard on nearly 70 percent of new cars produced there this year. In the United States, 44 percent of 2012 models came with rear cameras standard, and 27 percent had them as options, according to the automotive research firm Edmunds.

Nine in 10 new cars had console screens available, according to market research firm iSuppli, which would put the price of adding a camera on the low end of the NHTSA's estimates.

These backing crashes are hardly a new phenomenon. Emergency room doctors, the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the NHTSA have produced dozens of papers on the problem since the 1980s.

Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, started looking into the issue in the 1990s after noticing toddlers showing up in hospital databases of injured child pedestrians. They found that many of those children had been killed or hurt by vehicles backing out of home driveways.

In 1993, the NHTSA sponsored several studies that noted the disproportionate effect of backup accidents on child victims. One report explored sensors and cameras as possible solutions, noting the accidents "involve slow closing speeds and, thus, may be preventable." Still another 1993 report estimated that 100 to 200 pedestrians are killed each year from backing crashes, most of them children.

Three years later, Dee Norton, a reporter at The Seattle Times, petitioned the NHTSA to require improved mirrors on smaller commercial trucks and vans after his 3-year-old grandson was killed by a diaper delivery truck that backed over him.

The NHTSA started looking into technology as a solution, but in one proposal ? issued in November 2000 ? it noted that sensors, cameras and monitors were still expensive and promised to later reevaluate the feasibility of such emerging technologies.

Adding to the scrutiny was the advocacy work of a child safety group called, which in 2002 started trying to persuade federal regulators to take on the problem. After the groups' president, Janette Fennell, brought the issue to the attention of Consumer Reports, the magazine started measuring "blind zones" to determine how far away a toddler-sized traffic cone had to be before a driver looking though the rear window, rearview mirror and side mirrors could see it.

The research found an overall trend of worsening rear visibility ? due in part to designs favoring small windows and high trunk lines, said Tom Mutchler, the magazine's automotive engineer.

"Cameras are basically the only technology that is going to let you see something right behind the bumper," he said.

With a growing body of research, better statistics and inaction by regulators, advocates such as's Fennell and Sally Greenberg, then with Consumers Union, turned to Congress for a solution.

In 2003, U.S. Rep. Peter King, R-New York, introduced the Cameron Gulbransen Kids and Cars Safety Act, named for a 2-year-old Long Island boy whose pediatrician father backed over him in their driveway. Five years later, it finally became law.

While no one doubts that cameras could help reduce deaths, they aren't regarded as a perfect solution either.

One recent study by a researcher at Oregon State University found that only one in five drivers used a rearview camera when it was available, but 88 percent of those who did avoided striking a child-sized decoy.

In its proposed rule, the NHTSA estimated that rearview video systems could substantially reduce fatal backing crashes ? by at least 95 a year ? and result in at least 7,000 fewer injuries.

Judy Neiman's 2006 Cadillac Escalade didn't have any cameras installed. They weren't added as an optional package until the following model year. Instead, her vehicle was equipped with a "rear parking assist system" ? bumper sensors, an alarm and lights that are supposed to go off within 5 feet of objects or people.

Neither Neiman nor the 10-year-old neighbor boy who had accompanied her and her daughter to the bank on Dec. 8, 2011, would recall hearing any alert, according to a police report.

Sydnee was carrying her purple plastic piggy bank and account book, so she could deposit $5 from her weekly allowance. After the transaction, Neiman slid behind the wheel and waited for the children. She heard the door slam, then saw the boy sitting on the right side of the back seat as she put the car into reverse.

She figured Sydnee was seated behind the driver's seat. Instead, the boy had gotten in first, telling Sydnee to go around and get in from the left side. He would later tell a police investigator that the girl had dropped her piggy bank on her way around the SUV.

Even if she were upright, at 4 feet, 3 inches tall, Sydnee would have been practically invisible through the rear window, the bottom edge of which was a few inches taller than she was.

As the first anniversary of her daughter's death passed, Neiman hoped that sharing her story might spare other parents from enduring the pain she feels every day.

She tortures herself by replaying a conversation she had with Sydnee the summer before she died. Her daughter always had taken her heart condition, a congenital defect, in stride. She never complained or showed fear, despite her many surgeries.

Then one night Sydnee started crying, and she wouldn't tell her mother what was troubling her until the next morning.

"She said, 'I don't want to die, Mom,' and when she died, that's all I could think about. She didn't want to die," Neiman says. "She survived four open heart surgeries. If God had taken her at that time, I could accept it. But who could take her with her being hit by my car? And my hitting her?"


Associated Press writer Joan Lowy in Washington, D.C., contributed to this story.

Associated Press


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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

'Django Unchained': The Reviews Are In!

Critics are calling Quentin Tarantino's latest everything from an 'intelligent thrill ride' to a 'masterpiece.'
By Ryan J. Downey

Jamie Foxx and Leonardo DiCaprio in "Django Unchained"
Photo: The Weinstein Co.


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Make The Most Of Your Internet Marketing With These Ideas ...

The main vehicle for many businesses to market their products today is Affiliate marketing. From running up websites, to sending emails, to setting up social media accounts, today there are a huge number of ways to market your business online. Continue on to the article below for some helpful information on how to use electronic communication to help your website marketing efforts.

Look into what is most often complained about in your industry, and consider if there is an opportunity there. Why not? This is an excellent system for discovering what problems are out there that need fixing. When you have narrowed down potential solutions, you have a list of potential businesses, products or services at your finger tips. With this approach, you can find your perfect niche, and generate a mission statement to boot.

Here is some great internet marketing advice! Make sure your customers feel safe and secure while browsing your webpage. Add an explanation of your privacy policy provisions near the top of the website. Your customers will be assured that the information that they give you is safe. Your customers will be pleased that their identities were protected when they bought your product.

Try using product pages that have things like photos and videos to convince the audience that they should get your product. Doing so will ensure that your future customers are fully informed about your products before deciding to make a purchase. This shows them you want them to know as much as they can about your products, and also lets them decide whether to buy or not.

Back up your claims. People are justifiably skeptical of what they read on the Internet. Credibility is key; augment your sales pitch with support like references, customer testimonials and fact-based evidence. Claims offered on their own, lacking any sort of support, can actually hurt your business instead of help it.

One recent marketing strategy is to make a public relations style website for your company, separate from your own. This website could host content that might wind up published in print media or shared by online news sources. This easy method is a phenomenal way to publicize your business.

Have the knowledge needed to answer questions. Having good communication with your visitors and customers and offering answers to questions in a timely manner are essential parts to any business, and Web marketing is no different. Clear, concise information delivered in a friendly but professional way will show that you take your customers and your products seriously.

You do not need to be daunted by the prospect of Web marketing. Try the tips here if you want to make your online presence known by marketing to a particular customer base. A lot of consumers today prefer to be informed electronically, which makes Internet marketing an excellent way to grow a business.

About The Author: Staffan

My internet career started in 2006 with spending thousands of dollars trying to figure out a way to make money online. I had my first breakthrough in 2007 when i started combining paid traffic with affiliate marketing. I had my first 10k month within 2 months and have to this date made over $740,000 online primarily in the online dating market. I chose to partner with Empower Network because they have some of the best internet marketing training modules available, at very reasonable prices. I am personally training and teaching people like you how to monetize your own blog (just like this one), and how to drive Massive Traffic and build a Big Email List, which you can use to promote your primary business. If you are interested in working with me personally, then click on the banner at the top of this page, enter your email, and watch the 30 minute video. It will explain how several people are making as much as $1,000 per day blogging, and how you can as well. I have some additional training that I can offer on top of this, and I look forward to helping you make more money online this year. Take Care and God Bless! Get Started Today!


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