Monday, November 30, 2009

Cell Phone Jammers in Churches and Universities... Boy, I want one of these for my classroom!

Church installing cell jammers

It was the reporters who noticed first. Unable to call their editors while covering the weddings of the rich and famous, they asked the priest why their cell phones never worked at Sacred Heart. His reply: Israeli counterintelligence. In four Monterrey churches, Israeli-made cell jammer the size of paperbacks have been tucked unobtrusively among paintings of the Madonna and statues of the saints.

The jarring polychromatic din of ringing cell phones is increasingly being thwarted — from religious sanctuaries to India's parliament to Tokyo theaters and commuter trains — by devices originally developed to help security forces avert eavesdropping and thwart phone-triggered bombings. The Indian parliament had cell jammers installed after politicians ignored requests to turn off their cell phones and legislative sessions were constantly interrupted.

In Italy, universities started using the cellphone jammers after discovering that cell phone-savvy teenagers were cheating on exams by sending text messages or taking pictures of tests. The four Roman Catholic Churches in this northern city began using the cellphone jammer, from India-based e-mobile, after an insurance salesman imported them as a personal favor for a priest. "There are still many people who don't understand that being at Mass is sharing a moment with God," said the Rev. Juan Jose Martinez, a spokesman for archdiocese. "Sadly, we had no other choice but to use these little cell jammers."

Purchased for about $2,000 each, cell jammer can be turned on by remote control and emit low-level radio frequencies that thwart cell phone signals within a 100-foot radius.

Users get a "no service" or "signal not available" message on their cell phones. Although Mexico has no law against the devices, the private use of cell jammer is illegal in the United States and most Western countries. But the tide is turning. Japan allows public places such as theaters and concert halls to install cell jammers, provided they obtain a government-issued license. And last week, France's industry minister approved a decision to let cinemas, concert halls and theaters install cellphone jammers — as long as provisions are in place so emergency calls can still be made.

Canada had considered allowing cellphone jammer in similar situations. But Industry Canada, which regulates the country's telecommunications, decided against it, saying the cell jammer could infringe on personal freedom and affect public safety by crippling communication with law enforcement and security agencies. Officials at e-mobile, which sold its first cell jammer in 1998, say they are selling thousands of cell jammers a year and have expanded their business throughout the world.

They're far from the only manufacturers. The cellphone jammers are sold the world over, with dozens of suppliers selling them on the Internet. e-mobile sold thousands of its Wave Wall cell jammers before the government stepped in and regulated their use to venues with live performances. Commuters still buy cellphone jammer to shut up chatty train passengers, even though their use is illegal. In Scotland, businessman Ronnie McGuire, owner of Electron Electrical Engineering Services, imported India-made cell jammer and sold them to hotels, restaurants and bars until a local newspaper reported his activities, which were illegal in Britain.

McGuire has said he will still import the Taiwanese cell jammers but sell them for export only to countries where they are allowed. Kumaar Thakar, the director of marketing and sales for e-mobile, wouldn't say how many cellphone jammers the company sells per year or what country buys the most. In Mexico, the main clients of cell jammers have been banks looking to stop would-be robbers from communicating with their accomplices and the Mexican government, which is planning to use them at prisons, Haim said. In Monterrey, the Sacred Heart church, a baroque temple favored by Mexico's elite for weddings, church officials acquired their cell jammers two years ago.

"Whenever there was a wedding, cell phones would ring every five minutes," said Bulmaro Carranza, a parish clerk. "It was a real problem because there were times when even the groom would forget to turn his cell phone off." For months, the cell jammer went unnoticed until reporters covering the weddings began complaining that their cell phones never worked. Since word of the cellphone jammer went public, priests from around Mexico have been calling to find out how to get them, said Carranza. At Sacred Heart, a mobile jammer at the entrance to the church and another by the altar are turned on right before every Mass. Still, priests remind parishioners to turn off their phones before beginning the services, hoping good cell phone etiquette will eventually catch on.

The other Monterrey churches with the mobile phone jammers — The Rosario, San Juan Bosco and Our Lady Queen of the Angels — are also frequented by wealthier parishioners, Martinez said. "For a lot of them, the cell phone is a necessity. But that shouldn't prevent them from having good manners and remembering that one must respect sacred places," Martinez said. Margarita Escobedo, a Catholic who goes to church at least twice a week and volunteers at the San Genaro church, says she would welcome the mobilephone jammer in her parish, where cell phones are becoming a nuisance. "Those who bring cell phones to church are not committed to God," Escobedo said. "It's very distracting to be praying and suddenly hear birds chirping or techno music."

========But Not Everywhere in the World============

Wellington - A New Zealand church has been fined for using a jamming device to stop its parishioners' cellphone calls from interrupting services, a newspaper reported Monday. The Ministry of Economic Development, which banned the manufacture and sale of jamming devices in August, acted because of a significant risk of blocking emergency calls in the vicinity of the church in suburban Mount Albert, Auckland, the Dominion Post reported.

A ministry spokesman told the paper that while jamming may have ensured that prayers and ceremonies were not disturbed by the ringing of phones, it put the wider community potentially at risk.

The Corrections Department, which uses jamming devices to prevent the unauthorized use of cellphones in prisons, is the only licensed user of such equipment in New Zealand.

Looking for Christmas Cash?

Click on this link to print a claim form online:
You can also request searches by:

1-800-654-FIND (3463).
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Note: there is a limit of three name searches when calling by phone.


1-888-908-9991 or

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Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Unclaimed Property Division
Research and Correspondence Section
P.O. Box 12046
Austin, Texas 78711-2046

Include the following in your request:
•the name you would like searched,
•addresses in the Texas cities in which that person has lived,
•a social security number and
•current mailing address for claim purposes.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Well, Folks, We have reached a new stage in our War on Terriorism: Who lost Osama Bin Laden?

BBC News - Al-Qaeda head Osama Bin Laden was 'within grasp' of US: "US forces had Osama Bin Laden 'within their grasp' in Afghanistan in late 2001, a US Senate report says. It says calls for US reinforcements were rejected, allowing the al-Qaeda leader to 'walk unmolested' into Pakistan's unregulated tribal areas. The report was prepared by the Foreign Relations Committee Democratic staff. It says the failure to kill or capture Bin Laden had far-reaching consequences and laid the foundation for the protracted Afghan insurgency. The report comes as President Barack Obama prepares to announce a long-awaited decision on sending troop reinforcements to Afghanistan. It is highly critical of officials in former President George W Bush's administration and military commanders at the time."

Saturday, November 28, 2009

As the price of gasoline moves towards $3, it is time to inflate your tires and drive slower...

Tested: Speed vs fuel economy

We all seem to be in a rush these days. Life’s time demands seem to only increase, with the delicate balance of work, family, and recreation pressuring us to maximize every minute. As a result, there is real temptation to edge beyond the speed limit to shave seconds off each mile. But while driving fast may get you there sooner, there are some real downsides, such as diminished safety for yourself and fellow motorists; risk of a speeding ticket; and decreased fuel economy.

To quantify the impact a heavy right foot can have on your wallet, Consumer Reports recently conducted a seven-vehicle test comparing the fuel economy of each at speeds of 55, 65, and 75 mph. The results show the faster you drive, the more fuel you burn—no surprise there. But the most significant change in fuel economy comes from the most fuel-efficient vehicles we tested.

The Honda Insight hybrid showed the largest drop in fuel economy—over 15 mpg going from 55 to 75 mph. The Toyota Camry returned 40.3 mpg at 55 mph, but that reduces to almost 35 mpg when the speed moves up to 65 mph and drops to almost 30 mpg when speeds reach 75 mph. That’s a drop of about 5 mpg for every 10 miles over 55. Vehicles with lower fuel efficiency had the smallest drop. The V8-powered Mercury Mountaineer has a fuel economy of 23.8 mpg at 55 mph and that drops to 21.2 mpg at 65 and 17.8 at 75 mph.

See the chart below for more details on all the vehicles tested.

In this economy, saving money is important. But it’s not that simple. As the adage goes, time is money and it can sometimes be worth spending more to get somewhere faster. Another consideration is traffic.

There is debate as to whether driving slightly over the speed limit is more dangerous than going slower. Some say it is the difference in speed of vehicles that contributes to accidents—not speeding—and that it’s best to move with the flow traffic.

Well, Folks, my favorite Prilosec OTC or my Great Aunt's favorite omeprazole OTC got the Consumer Reports Seal of Approval for PPIs...

Dear Freddallas,

Holiday heartburn: Why you may not need "the purple pill"

As we gear up for the holiday season with food and drink aplenty, many of us will suffer from heartburn — about 15 million people have it on any given day — especially those over the age of 50 or women who are pregnant.

If you find yourself with tell-tale signs of heartburn, your first and best bet is to try an inexpensive over-the-counter antacid like Maalox, Mylanta, Rolaids, Tums, (or generic) or drugs like Pepcid AC or Zantac 150, or generic (known as H2 blockers).

But if you suffer from heartburn twice a week or several months on end, you may have GERD, short for gastroesophageal reflux disease, a condition that makes you prone to acid reflux, and you should see a doctor. People with GERD are often recommended a Proton-Pump Inhibitor (PPI) drug. PPIs are effective and safe to treat more frequent heartburn or GERD, but beware: the price tag could drain your budget.

Last year, U.S. consumers and their insurance companies spent $4.8 billion on Nexium, one of six prescription Proton-Pump Inhibitors currently available, making "the purple pill" the second highest-selling drug in 2008, behind Lipitor. Indeed, Nexium, Prevacid and other expensive PPIs have likely been over-prescribed.

But here's the good news: A new Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs report on drugs to treat heartburn, GERD and gastric ulcers, finds that no one Proton-Pump Inhibitor (PPI) drug works better than any other.

If you do need a PPI drug, you could save about $200 a month by asking your doctor if one of several alternatives to Nexium, such as our Best Buy Drugs selections, Prilosec OTC or its generic version, omeprazole OTC (which costs less than $1 a day) would work as well for you. Also, Prevacid, a prescription PPI, will be available in mid-November without a prescription. We expect that the new over-the-counter Prevacid24HR will be comparable in price to Prilosec OTC.

The lesson of War vs. Peace continues on in the passage... good night!

. . .

Glancing up, I saw it was the aged quartermaster of Vampire Mountain, Seba Nile, limping badly from awound he'd sustained during the fighting. "Be my guest," I said hollowly, and he sat down beside me.

For a few minutes we stared around the crimson-splashed cave in silence. Finally, I asked Seba if he'd heard about Arra's death.

"Yes," he said softly. He laid a hand on my knee. "You must not mourn too grievously for her, Darren. She died proudly, as she would have wished."

"She died stupidly!" I snapped.

"You should not say that," Seba scolded me gently.

"Why not?" I shouted. "It's the truth! This was a stupid fight, fought by stupid people."

"Arra did not think so," Seba said. "She gave her life for this 'stupid fight.' Others gave theirs too."

"That's what makes it stupid," I groaned. "We could have driven them off. We didn't have to come down here and cut them to pieces."

"If I remember correctly," Seba said, "it wasyour novel idea regarding the spiders which paved the way for our attack."

"Thanks for reminding me," I said bitterly, lapsing back into silence.

"You must not take it to heart," Seba said. "Fighting is our way. It is how we judge ourselves. To the uninitiated this might look like a barbaric bloodbath, but our cause was just. The vampaneze were plotting our downfall. It was us or them. You know that better than anybody — you were there when they killed Gavner Purl."

"I know," I sighed. "I'm not saying they didn't deserve it. Butwhy were they here?Why did they invade?"

Seba shrugged. "Doubtless we will unearth the truth once we have had a chance to interrogate the survivors."

"You meantorture," I snorted.

"If that is what you want to call it," he replied bleakly.

"OK," I said. "We'll torture them and maybe learn that they attacked just for the hell of it, to knock us out of shape and take over the mountain. Everything will be fine then. We can walk around proudly and slap ourselves on the back.

"But what if thatwasn't why they attacked?" I pressed. "What if there was a different reason?"

"Such as?" Seba asked.

"I don't know. I've no idea how the vampaneze think or why they do what they do. The point is, neither doyou or the other vampires. This attack came as a surprise to everyone, didn't it?"

"It was unexpected," Seba agreed. "The vampaneze have never attacked us this aggressively before. Even when they split from us, they cared only about establishing their own society, not undermining ours."

"So why did they do it?" I asked again. "Do you know?"

"No," Seba said.

"There!" I exclaimed. "You don't know, I don't know, the Princes don't know." I got to my knees and locked eyes with him. "Don't you think somebody should haveasked? We stormed down here and tore them apart, and not once did any of us stop to question their motives. We reacted like wild animals."

"There was no time for questions," Seba insisted, but I could tell he was troubled by my words.

"Maybe there wasn't," I said. "Notnow. But what about six months ago? A year? Ten years? A hundred? Kurda was the only one who contacted the vampaneze and tried to understand them. Why didn't others help him? Why weren't attempts made to befriend them, to prevent something like this from ever happening?"

"You are commending Kurda Smahlt?" Seba asked distastefully.

"No. Kurda betrayed us. There's no defending what he did. What I'm saying is — ifwe'd made the effort to get to know the vampaneze, perhaps there would have been no need forhim to betray us. Maybe we somehow forced his hand."

"Your way of thinking puzzles me," Seba said. "You are more human than vampire, I suppose. In time you will learn to see things our way and —"

"No!" I shouted, jumping up. "I don't want to see things your way.Your way is thewrong way. I admire the strength, honesty, and loyalty of the vampires and want to fit in as one. But not if it means abandoning myself to stupidity, not if it means turning a blind eye to wisdom and common sense, not if it means
enduring bloody messes like this just because my leaders are too proud to sit down with the vampaneze and work out their differences."

"It might have been impossible to work out their differences," Seba noted.

"But the effort should have been made. The Princes should havetried. "

Seba shook his head wearily. "Perhaps you are right. I am old and stuck in the past. I remember when vampires had no choices, when it was kill or be killed, fight or perish. From where I stand, today's battle was savage, but no worse than a hundred others I have witnessed over the course of my centuries.

"Having said that, I must admit that the world has changed. Perhaps it is time for us to change too." He smiled. "But who will lead us out of the darkness of the past? Kurda was the face of our future. He, perhaps, could have altered our ways of thinking and living. Now that he has shamed himself, who will dare speak up for the new world and its ways?"

"I don't know," I said. "But somebody should. If they don't, nothing will change, and today's disaster will be repeated, over and over, until the vampires wipe the vampaneze out, or vice versa."

"Heavy thoughts," Seba sighed, then stood and massaged his injured left thigh. "However, I did not come to discuss the future. We have a more immediate and less troubling decision to make."

. . .
Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter,

Strange... reading a horror novel at 3 AM and finding a Quaker Peace Testimony on page 41 of Chapter 16.

From The Vampire Prince, the sixth book in The Saga of Darren Shan by Darren Shan. It is also the third and final book of the Vampire Rites trilogy. Which formed the basis for the movie Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant.

... Looking around, I spotted a spear that one of the tunnel guards had dropped during the course of their hasty retreat. Picking it up, I wedged the end against a crack in the floor, then pointed the tip at the charging vampaneze. The lead vampaneze saw me and tried to veer out of the way of the spear, but those behind pushed him on unwittingly. Running right into the spear, he impaled himself without any help
from me.

Standing, I roughly shoved the vampaneze off the spear, then bellowed at those behind him. They must have thought the way was blocked by a horde of savage vampires, because they immediately turned and retreated. I laughed triumphantly and started after them, meaning to add a few more scalps to my collection. Then I happened to glance at the vampaneze who'd run onto my spear, and I came to a sickened halt.

He was young, his face only a light shade of purple. He was crying and making soft whimpering noises.

Unable to stop myself, I crouched beside him. "It... hurts!" he gasped, clutching at the deep, wide hole in his belly. His hands were red, and I knew his cause was hopeless.

"It's OK," I lied. "It's only a flesh wound. You'll be up on your —" Before I could say more, he coughed. Blood pumped out of his mouth, a huge torrent of it. His eyes widened, then closed. He groaned softly, fell back, shuddered, then died.

I'd killed him.

The thought shook me to my very core. I'd never killed before. Even though I'd been looking forward to punishing the vampaneze for what they did to Gavner, it was only now that I considered the consequences of my actions. This vampaneze — this person — was dead. I had taken his life and could never restore it.

Maybe he deserved death. He might have been rotten to the core and in need of killing. Then again, maybe he'd been an ordinary guy, like me or any of the vampires, only here because he'd been following orders. Either way, deserving or not, who was I to decide? I didn't have the right to pass judgment on others and kill them. Yet I'd done it. Excited by the fear of the vampaneze, intent on revenge, letting my heart rule my head, I'd raised a weapon against this man and killed him.

I hated myself for what I'd done. I wanted to turn and run, get far away and pretend this never happened. I felt cheap, dirty, nasty. I tried consoling myself with the thought that I'd done the right thing,but how did one separate right from wrong where killing was concerned? I'm sure Kurda thoughthe wasdoing right when he stabbed Gavner. The vampaneze thoughtthey were doing right when they drained people they fed upon. However I looked at it, I had the awful feeling that I was now no better than any other killer, one of a vicious, terrible, inhuman breed.

Only my sense of duty held me in place. I knew that vampires would be attacking at any moment. It wasmy job to keep the spiders active until they did, so that the vampaneze couldn't regroup and meet the assault head-on. If I deserted my post, vampires would perish in great numbers along with the vampaneze. I had to concentrate on the bigger picture, regardless of how I felt inside.

Sticking my flute back between my lips, I played and urged the spiders to swarm over the vampaneze. The scene looked so different in light of the life I'd taken. I no longer enjoyed watching the vampaneze shriek and lash out blindly, or saw them as evil villains on the receiving end of their just deserts. Instead I saw warriors, terrified and humiliated, stranded far from their homes and allies, about to be ruthlessly slaughtered.

At the height of the hysteria, the vampires attacked ... Confused as I was, I decided I'd better wade in and help. The sooner we finished off the vampaneze,
the sooner I could turn my back on the horror. Taking a sharp dagger from the man I'd killed, I called off my spiders, then threw my flute away and stepped forward to join the press of battling vampires and vampaneze.

I kept to the edges of the fighting, jabbing at the feet or legs of vampaneze, distracting them, making it easier for the vampires they were facing to disarm and kill them. I took no pleasure from my success, only continued, determined to help bring things to a quick conclusion. . . "Not pleasant, is it?" Vanez grunted, pulling up beside me. He was sweating freely and paused to dry his hands on his tunic as the fighting raged around us.

"It's horrible," I muttered, gripping my knife before me like a cross.

"You shouldn't be here," Vanez said. "Larten wouldn't approve if he knew."

"I'm not doing it for fun," I told him.

Looking deep into my eyes, Vanez sighed. "So I see. You learn quickly, Darren."

"What do you mean?" I asked.

He gestured at the warring, whooping vampires. "They think this is a great sport." He laughed bleakly. "They forget that the vampaneze were once our brothers, that by destroying them, we destroy a part of ourselves. Most vampires never realize how pointless and savage war truly is. You were smart enough to see the truth. Don't ever forget it."

. . .

This was NOT news when it "happened" ...

UPDATE: The offensive Michell Obama picture has reportedly been removed from the website, Hot Girls, that posted the image.

The Hot Girls blog posted a short explanation in Chinese, along with a loosely translated apology in English, explaining, "I am very sorry for this article, and that this is the program automatically issued a document from the article. Do not the subject of race and politics make the discussion too radical and sincere hope that the world is very peaceful." The Guardian also reported that the site took down the offensive image of Michelle Obama.

Google has purchased online ads in an effort to explain to users why an offensive image of Michelle Obama is appearing, and is ranked so highly, in its Google Image search results.

The Google ad, titled "Offensive Search Results," appears directly over the pictures of the First Lady that show up when users perform a Google Image search for "Michelle Obama." (see the screenshot below).

Google's advertisement reads, "Sometimes our search results can be offensive. We agree." It then continues with a longer explanation (read the full text here) on why certain search results appear, and why they may be highly ranked.

Sometimes Google search results from the Internet can include disturbing content, even from innocuous queries. We assure you that the views expressed by such sites are not in any way endorsed by Google. [...] We apologize if you've had an upsetting experience using Google. We hope you understand our position regarding offensive results.

The image was previously removed by Google on the grounds that the site hosting the Michelle Obama picture "violated Google's guidelines by serving malware to visitors," SearchEngineLand writes.

Now, however, the offensive photo has been posted to another site that does not violate Google rules.

SearchEngineLand points out that Google has taken out ads for other search terms that may turn up offensive results. An ad similar to the one featured with the "Michelle Obama" query turns up for Google searches for "Jew."

Friday, November 27, 2009

Ford Electric Transit Connect Van gliding in from Turkey, but where will they land in the states for USa?


Ford: Electric van in 2010
Battery-powered Transit Connect van will be targeted at small business owners.
By Peter Valdes-Dapena, senior writer
Last Updated: February 9, 2009: 2:26 PM ET
New York ( -- Ford Motor Co. will introduce its first all-electric vehicle in 2010, but it will be intended for business owners - not families. The electric Transit Connect, a small van, will be offered in "select" U.S. Ford dealerships.

"The new Transit Connect light commercial vehicle with battery electric power represents the next logical step in our pursuit of even greater fuel economy and sustainability," said Derrick Kuzak, Ford's group vice president for global product development in a company announcement.

The van will able to to travel about 100 miles on a fully charged battery, according to Ford.

The introduction is part of a longer term electric-vehicle strategy that Ford announced at the Detroit Auto Show in January.

The plan also calls for a battery-powered small car in 2011 and "advanced hybrid" and plug-in hybrid vehicles in 2012.

Non-electric Transit Connect vans will go on sale in the U.S. later this year as 2010 model year vehicles. Ford (F, Fortune 500) is marketing the van, which is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, as a more fuel-efficient and space-efficient alternative to larger work vehicles, such as ford's own E-series vans.

The Transit Connect has been sold in Europe since 2003, but this will be the first time the van is available in the U.S. Ford made some cosmetic changes to the van for its American introduction.

To create the electric Transit Connect, Ford is working with British firm Smith Electric Vehicles, which modifies existing commercial vehicles to use electric power. Smith already offers its customers electric versions of the Transit Connect.

Several other carmakers will also be introducing plug-in vehicles next year. General Motors (GM, Fortune 500) plans to sell its "range extended" electric car, the Chevrolet Volt, which will run on batteries but also have a small gasoline engine to generate electricity for longer range. Chrysler plans to sell a similar vehicle as well.

Toyota (TM) has also announced plans for a test fleet of plug-in Prius hybrids later this year, and Nissan (NSANY) plans to introduce an electric-only "city car" in 2010.

First Published: February 9, 2009: 11:52 AM ET

Kansas City looks to Smith Electric Vehicles plant for spark

Kansas City Business Journal - by Rob Roberts Staff Writer

View Larger Area development officials are working to give the Kansas City economy a jolt as home to one of the nation’s first assembly plants for electric-powered commercial vehicles.

Bryan Hansel, CEO of Smith Electric Vehicles U.S. Corp., confirmed that the company is considering a local site for production of vans and trucks — including an electric version of Ford Motor Co.’s new Transit Connect light-duty vehicle.

“The state of Missouri, and the Kansas City area specifically, have been vying for it very aggressively,” said Hansel, whose Overland Park home address is doubling as the company’s until a corporate headquarters and plant are secured.

Sites in Mississippi, Michigan and Indiana also remain in contention, Hansel cautioned, and other states have made pitches since Ford’s Feb. 9 announcement that Smith Electric Vehicles U.S. would build electric-powered Transit Connects for the North American market.

Still, local economic development leaders remain optimistic that this area’s concentration of advanced-energy assets will give it the juice to power an anticipated explosion of zero-emission commercial vehicle sales.

The Kansas City Area Development Council created an Advanced Energy Task Force in December to tout and build on current local assets. They include the Midwest Research Institute, which operates the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo.; the energy divisions of global engineering firms Black & Veatch and Burns & McDonnell; and Ford’s Kansas City Assembly Plant, where hybrid versions of the Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner are made.

President Obama made reference to assets like the local Ford plant during his Feb. 24 address to Congress, noting that “new plug-in hybrids roll off our assembly lines, but they will run on batteries made in Korea.”

That, however, may not be the case with vehicles assembled at the new Smith Electric Vehicles plant.

Hansel said another local energy asset, Kokam America Inc. in Lee’s Summit, may be one of the plant’s lithium-ion battery vendors. Kokam America, which uses technology licensed from South Korea-based Kokam Co. Ltd., recently landed an investment worth tens of millions of dollars to equip its Lee’s Summit facility to manufacture cutting-edge battery packs.

“Kokam is a world-class manufacturer,” Hansel said, “and we are giving them strong consideration as a battery supplier. Most likely, we’ll have more than one.”

Valence Technology, based in Austin, Texas, is the primary battery supplier for a British plant operated by Smith’s parent, The Tanfield Group Plc., which has been making electric vehicles in England since 1920.

Tanfield incorporated Smith Electric Vehicles U.S. in January but plans to sell 51 percent of the company to U.S. investors, making it eligible for some of the $2 billion in federal stimulus financing aimed at developing the nation’s electric-vehicle industry.

On Feb. 6, Tanfield reported that Smith Electric Vehicles U.S. already had received “firm expressions from two states of funding support” for its new manufacturing plant.

State incentive offers will be important in attracting the facility, Hansel said. But locating within an advanced-energy industry cluster like Kansas City’s also will be “critical” due to the need for skilled labor, after-market service and support, and training, he said.

“This isn’t just about our company. It’s about creating a center of excellence for an industry,” he said.

Another factor working in Kansas City’s favor, and against late-to-the-dance suitors, is Smith Electric Vehicles’ timetable.

Electric-powered Transit Connects, the initial offering in Ford’s sweeping North American electrification strategy, won’t hit selected dealerships on this continent until 2010. But Smith Electric Vehicles U.S. plans to begin production of the Smith Newton, a medium-duty electric delivery truck, in the third quarter of this year.

A 200,000-vehicle-a-year market is anticipated for such trucks, and Smith Electric Vehicles U.S. plans to grab an initial 5 percent, or 10,000-truck, share of that market. That translates to about 100 year-one jobs, a number that is expected to at least double within three years, Hansel said.

Some of the vehicles made at the plant will require conversion of chassis that come mounted with diesel engines, Hansel said. Because of the high volume of sales anticipated, however, Ford has agreed to ship the Transit Connect chassis as “gliders,” or without engines.

“Our job will be to put in the drivetrain and regenerative braking, integrate it with their dash and components, and deliver the vehicle to Ford dealers as an electric version,” Hansel said.

He said the Ford gliders would be shipped from Turkey and delivered to the U.S. plant on flatbed trucks.

“This is the advanced-technology, green-job kind of thing that the new administration and everybody’s talking about,” said Pete Fullerton, executive director of the Platte County Economic Development Council. “It would be a great thing for this area because there are lots of people with technical skills out there looking for new employment these days.”

Posted on Fri, Oct. 30, 2009
Plans for plug-in van pulled
The Kansas City Star

Smith Electric Vehicles will not partner with Ford Motor Co. to build a battery-powered light commercial van in Kansas City next year, but instead will focus on assembling medium-size delivery trucks.

Bryan Hansel, chief executive of SEV U.S. Corp., said it was a mutual decision by the new British-American firm, which began operations this month at Kansas City International Airport, and Ford to drop plans for a plug-in version of the Ford Transit Connect.

The move will let Smith Electric concentrate on its “core business” — the Smith Newton electric truck. The firm has 255 orders for the Smith Newton being assembled here and has produced nine vehicles. The vehicle can travel up to 100 miles between rechargings and haul more than 8 tons.

“We’re extremely excited because we believe we’re in a strong position to own the cab-over-truck market,” Hansel said Friday.

The Ford Transit Connect, which uses a car-based chassis, posed development and competitive challenges that Smith Electric and its British associate, The Tanfield Group, decided to avoid. Darren Kell, chief executive of Tanfield, issued a statement saying building the Smith Newton was a better use of the company’s financial resources.

The company said it “was concerned that the market for electric-car-derived vans would become increasingly competitive.”

Ford confirmed the parting was mutual and said it has a new deal with Azure Dynamics Corp. of Oak Park, Mich., to build the Transit Connect.

“While both companies are committed to ensuring the success of their electric vehicle product lines, it became clear that our companies were pursuing different markets and we would better achieve our goals individually or through different partnerships,” Ford spokeswoman Jennifer Moore said in a statement.

Smith Electric said it planned to develop a prototype electric delivery van for testing by the Postal Service. The firm will collaborate with AM General, based in South Bend, Ind. The Postal Service operates 178,000 gas-powered vans.

AM General will manufacture the chassis, and Smith Electric will supply the electric drive train, which includes the motor, battery pack, electronics and ancillary systems.

As for the long-term future of Smith Electric in Kansas City, Hansel said the firm’s preference was to stay. It has a one-year lease on a former aircraft maintenance building at KCI but wants to build a full-scale plant.

City development officials said they believed that other states, particularly Michigan, would be courting the company hard with incentives for that bigger investment.

“It’s ours to lose,” Hansel said, adding that development officials over the last two months have stepped up efforts to keep Smith Electric in Kansas City.

Ford announced a change in direction today for its Transit Connect BEV program.

Azure Dynamics will be partnering with Ford on bringing its first new electric vehicle to market. Last February however, the automaker announced that it would be working with Smith Electric Vehicles to produce the plug-in cargo van starting in 2010. We checked with Ford spokeswoman Jennifer Moore who told us that Ford and Smith had mutually decided they had different goals and would go their separate ways.

Azure will take the lead on finishing the electric TC including integrating its "Force Drive" powertrain. The TC will be using lithium ion batteries supplied by Johnson Controls-Saft who will also be supplying the electric Focus in 2011 and the new plug-in hybrid coming in 2012.

Ford and Azure already have a relationship thanks to the E450 chassis that Azure uses to build hybrid shuttle buses. Azure will be switching its hybrid shuttles over to the JCS batteries next year as well.

The Transit Connect will have a range of approximately 80 miles per charge, and will be available to commercial fleets starting sometime in 2010.

FD: Before it is NEWS, it is a Press Release....

Ford and Azure Dynamics Team Up
To Deliver Battery Electric Commercial Van In 2010
- Ford Motor Company, collaborating with Azure Dynamics, will introduce battery electric Transit Connect commercial van to market in 2010
- The Transit Connect BEV is the first production vehicle from accelerated electric vehicle strategy, which includes Ford Focus BEV passenger car in 2011, and a next-generation hybrid and plug-in hybrid in 2012
- Azure Dynamics will integrate its proprietary Force Drive(TM) battery electric drive train in the Transit Connect BEV
- Johnson Controls-Saft selected as battery supplier for Transit Connect BEV
Oak Park, Michigan - October 30, 2009 - Ford Motor Company announced today that Azure Dynamics Corporation (TSX: AZD) has joined in a collaborative effort to deliver a pure battery electric Ford Transit Connect van for the United States and Canadian markets in 2010. Azure will integrate its Force Drive(TM) battery electric drive train in the Transit Connect van for commercial fleet and retail use. The collaboration with Azure Dynamics for the Transit Connect BEV will build on the existing business relationship between Ford and Azure as well as their shared experience with battery supplier, Johnson Controls-Saft. "We recognize an increasing interest in electrified vehicles and have an aggressive strategy to bring these vehicles to the marketplace," said Nancy Gioia, Ford director of Global Electrification. "Our work with Azure to create a pure electric battery Transit Connect vehicle will allow us to offer our commercial customers an additional option for environmentally friendly transportation." The Transit Connect BEV will be built on Ford's global commercial vehicle platform as part of the company's One Ford global product vision. It is the first of four electrified vehicles from Ford that will become available over the next three years in the U.S. and Canada including:
- Battery electric Transit Connect van in 2010
- Battery electric Ford Focus passenger car in 2011
- Next generation hybrid vehicle in 2012
- Plug-In hybrid vehicle in 2012
Collaboration builds on existing business relationship
Azure Dynamics develops hybrid electric and electric drive technology for shuttle buses and commercial trucks, such as the Balance(TM) Hybrid Electric, which is built on the Ford E-450 cutaway and strip chassis for the medium duty commercial vehicle segment. "The opportunity to work with Ford on the Transit Connect BEV is a breakthrough advancement for us at Azure and for the light commercial vehicle market," said Scott Harrison, Azure Dynamics CEO. "For Azure, it's an important evolution of our existing relationship with Ford. From an industry standpoint, we are seeing delivery fleet and utility vehicle operators move to smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles. The Transit Connect BEV will come to market at an ideal time to meet this growing trend." Oak Park, Mich.-based Azure Dynamics will integrate its proprietary Force Drive(TM) battery electric drive train into the Transit Connect BEV, which will have a targeted range of 80 miles minimum on a full charge and zero tailpipe emissions. Force Drive(TM) components have previously been deployed in more than 40 vehicle integrations and have more than 25 million miles of on-the-road experience. The Transit Connect BEV will offer fleet owners the opportunity to eliminate the use of gasoline and help to lower operating costs. The vehicle will be badged with both the Ford Blue Oval and Azure's Force Drive logo. Azure Dynamics has selectedJohnson Controls-Saft as the supplier for lithium-ion battery cells and battery packs for the Transit Connect BEV. Azure Dynamics and Ford both currently utilize Johnson Controls-Saft battery technology for other products. The Transit Connect BEV will use the same proven cell technology that is currently deployed in the Ford Escape plug-in hybrid fleet that is on the road today. In addition, Azure had previously announced it would use Johnson Controls-Saft lithium-ion batteries for its E- 450 Balance Hybrid Electric beginning in the second half of 2010. The shared supplier business relationship is expected to provide additional synergy between Ford and Azure in the Transit Connect BEV project. Transit Connect commercial platform ideal choice for battery electric power The Ford Transit Connect already is a proven global success. Ford introduced the gasoline-engine Transit Connect to North America this year. With a unique combination of car-like driving dynamics, cargo capacity, accessibility and low purchase and operation costs, it is an ideal choice for electrification. Commercial users often travel predictable, short-range routes with frequent stop and go driving
in urban and suburban environments. For customers seeking sustainable mobility solutions, the Transit Connect Battery Electric Vehicle with Azure Force Drive(TM) will provide a zero emissions option. The Transit Connect was designed, engineered and manufactured on a dedicated global commercial vehicle platform to beat tough commercial vehicle durability standards. The final manufacturing location for the Transit Connect BEV has not yet been determined. About Ford Motor Company Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 201,000 employees and about 90 plants worldwide, the company's automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury and Volvo. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit
About Azure Dynamics Corporation Azure Dynamics Corporation (TSX: AZD) is a world leader in the development and production of hybrid electric and electric components and powertrain systems for commercial vehicles. Azure is strategically targeting the commercial delivery vehicle and shuttle bus markets and is currently working internationally with various partners and customers. The Company is committed to providing customers and partners with innovative, cost-efficient, and environmentally-friendly energy management solutions. For more information please visit
# # #
Forward-looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements. More particularly, this press release contains statements concerning Azure's business development strategy, projected commercial revenues and product deliveries. The forward-looking statements are based on certain key expectations and assumptions made by Azure, including expectations and assumptions concerning achievement of current timetables for development programs, target market acceptance of Azure's products, current and new product performance, availability and cost of labor and expertise, and evolving markets for power for transportation vehicles. Although Azure believes that the expectations and assumptions on which the forward-looking statements are based are reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on the forward-looking statements because Azure can give no assurance that they will prove to be correct. Since forward-looking statements address future events and conditions, by their very nature they involve inherent risks and uncertainties.

Actual results could differ materially from those currently anticipated due to a number of factors and risks.

These include, but are not limited to, the risks associated with Azure's early stage of development, lack of product revenues and history of losses, requirements for additional financing, uncertainty as to commercial viability, uncertainty as to product development and commercialization milestones being met, uncertainty as to the market for Azure's products and unproven acceptance of Azure's technology, competition for capital, product
market and personnel, uncertainty as to target markets, dependence upon third parties, changes in environmental laws or policies, uncertainty as to patent and proprietary rights, availability of management and key personnel, and acquisition integration risk.

These risks are set out in more detail in Azure's annual information form which can be accessed at

The forward-looking statements contained in this press release are made as of the date hereof and Azure undertakes no obligation to update publicly or revise any forward-looking statements or information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, unless so required by applicable securities laws. FOR MORE INFORMATION ON AZURE, CONTACT: Mike Elwood, Azure Dynamics Vice President - Marketing, 905-607-3486 x203 Email: Patrick Liebler, Liebler Group, (248) 229-4418 Email:

Looking for Moari Chin Tattoo designs...

OK. Who was Olive Oatman?

Olive Oatman is considered the first tattooed American white woman.
In 1851 Tonto Apaches killed her family in southern Arizona and captured her, at the age of 13, together with her sister, Mary Ann, who was seven years old at the time. After a year of slavery Mojaves bought them. Her sister died during a famine. Olive got from Mojaves a tribal tattoo on her chin during her puberty ritual.

In 1856 she was released.
The Oatman affair rose huge curiosity and was covered by newspapers.
In 1857 The Reverend Royal B. Stratton wrote her best-seller biography.
In 1982 Elmore Leonard wrote about her a story titled “The Tonto Woman.”
In 1997 Elizabeth Grayson wrote about her a novel titled “So Wide the Sky”
In 2003, Wendy Lawton wrote about her a novel titled “Ransom Mark”.
A small town in Arizona (on Route 66 ) changed its name in 1909 to Oatman, in honor of Olive Oatman.

Newly published, The Blue Tattoo: The Life of Olive Oatman is the first scholarly biography of Olive Oatman. It debunks a number of myths that have circulated about her over the past century and a half.

Ten such myths follow. (REST ARE AT THE LINK ABOVE)

1 - Her captors were Apaches.

Though Olive later identified them as Apaches—commonly assumed, in her era, to encompass a variety of dangerous Southwest tribes—her captors were probably much less notorious. Their proximity to the murder site, regular contact with the Mohave Indians, hunter-gatherer lifestyle and small scale farming practices suggest they were one of four fluid groups of Yavapais. Most likely they were Tolkepayas, a name that distinguishes them more geographically than culturally from other free-ranging yet interconnected Yavapais.

2 - The rest of the Oatman family was killed in the massacre.

Not everyone. Olive’s brother Lorenzo, nearly 15, was left for dead near Gila Bend. He managed to return to the remainder of the party the Oatmans had left behind at Maricopa Wells. He and Olive reconnected at Fort Yuma soon after her ransom.

3 - She was a slave to the Mohave.

Though she and her younger sister Mary Ann did serve as slaves to the Yavapais during the year they spent with them, they were not slaves to the Mohave. They were adopted into the family that had arranged for their retrieval from the Yavapais, given their clan name Oach and treated as family. The term the Mohave used to describe them, “ahwe,” meant “stranger” or “enemy,” not “slave” or “captive.”

4 - She wore a tattoo that marked her as a captive.

In her public lectures, Olive said the Mohave tattooed their captives to ensure they would be recognized if they escaped. “You perceive I have the mark indelibly placed upon my chin,” she said, neglecting to mention that most Mohave women wore chin tattoos. Stratton’s book, too, claimed that the girls received designs specific to “their own captives.” But the very pattern Olive wore appears on a ceramic figurine of the late 19th-early 20th century that displays traditional Mohave face painting, tattoo, beads and clothing.

Dubai Debt Comes Due... a borrowed Dream.

BBC News - US shares tumble on Dubai fears: "Dubai World is the centrepiece of the Gulf state's economy. David Buik, senior partner at BGC Partners, said: 'You can't just say to the world: 'I don't want to pay my debts'. There is no income coming in from any of these properties. I think this is shocking PR.'"

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving! Happy Turkey Day! And if you are looking for Michelle Obama Monkey, You're the turkey!

Michelle Obama? First Lady Obama?
Were you looking for Michelle Obama Monkey? Turkey!
Does this look like a Michelle Obama Photo or a Michelle Obama Picture to you? Turkey!

FD: Just playing around with the Google Image and Web computer searches... no meaning ful results yet.

Ben Franklin thought the Wild Turkey should have been our National Bird....What Bird would Michelle Obama pick?

See below for details on how you could win $10,000 VISA GIFT CARD

HOLIDAY Instant Win Game


1) ELIGIBILITY: The Holiday Instant Win Game (the "Promotion") is open only to legal residents of the fifty (50) United States and District of Columbia (excluding residents of New York, Rhode Island and Puerto Rico and all other U.S. territories and possessions) who are 21 years of age or older at the time of entry. Void in New York, Rhode Island, Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories and possessions and where prohibited by law. Employees of Cost Plus, Inc. (“Sponsor” or “Cost Plus World Market”), Haley Miranda Group, Inc. (“Administrator”), and their respective parents, affiliates, subsidiaries, retailers and advertising and promotion agencies, as well as the immediate family (spouse, parents, siblings, children and each of their respective spouses, regardless of where they reside) and household members of each such employee, whether related or not, are not eligible to enter or win. The Promotion is subject to all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations.

2) TIMING: The Promotion will take place during regular business hours at participating Cost Plus World Market stores on 11/27/09 and 11/28/09, or while supplies last, whichever is first (the “Promotion Period”).

3) HOW TO PLAY: During the Promotion Period, the first one hundred (100) eligible visitors (as determined by Sponsor) to visit any participating Cost Plus World Market store during regular business hours will receive a free specially marked game piece for the chance to win a $10,000 Visa gift card. All other eligible visitors who visit any participating Cost Plus World Market store during regular business hours after the first one hundred (100) eligible visitors will receive a free specially marked game piece for the chance to win a $5,000 Visa gift card, a $2,500 gift card, or a $5 off coupon, while supplies last. Scratch off where indicated on the game piece to see if you are an instant winner. Limit one (1) game piece per person and per household and per store per day. Game pieces obtained through unauthorized channels or that have been altered or tampered with are void.

4) WINNER PRIZE CLAIMS AND VERIFICATION: All prize awards are subject to verification of eligibility, game piece and compliance with the terms of these Official Rules. Grand Prize (1): If your game piece indicates that you have won a $10,000 Visa gift card, you are the Grand Prize winner, subject to verification of eligibility, game piece and compliance with the terms of these Official Rules. First Prize (1): If your game piece indicates that you have won a $5,000 Visa gift card, you are the potential First Prize winner, subject to verification of eligibility, game piece and compliance with the terms of these Official Rules. Second Prize (1): If your game piece indicates that you have won a $2,500 Visa gift card, you are the potential Second Prize winner, subject to verification of eligibility, game piece and compliance with the terms of these Official Rules. If you are a Grand, First or Second Prize Winner, to redeem your prize, sign the game piece and mail the original signed game piece along with a 3” x 5” card with your complete name, address, date of birth, daytime and evening phone numbers (with area code), and email address (optional) via overnight delivery service (e.g., FedEx or UPS) or CERTIFIED MAIL, RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED ONLY to: CPWM’s Holiday Instant Win Game PRIZE CLAIM, c/o Haley Miranda Group, 8654 Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232. Retain a photocopy of the signed game piece for your records. Proof of mailing does not constitute proof of delivery. All Grand, First and Second Prize claims must be received by 12/7/09 or prize will be forfeited in its entirety. Third Prize (107,600): If your game piece indicates that you have won a $5 off coupon, you are an Instant Win Redeemable Prize Winner, and may redeem your prize instantly in the participating Cost Plus World Market store on 11/27/09 or 11/28/09. Instant Win Redeemable Prizes not redeemed by close of business on 11/28/09 will be void. All prize claims are subject to verification by Haley Miranda Group (“Administrator”), an independent judging organization whose decisions are final and binding in all matters relating to the Promotion. Odds of being one of the first one hundred (100) visitors to any participating store depends on the number of eligible visitors. Odds of game card recipient winning the Grand Prize: 1:26,900. Odds of game card recipient winning the First Prize: 1:91,125. Odds of winning the Second Prize: 1:91,125 Odds of game card recipient winning the Instant Win Redeemable Prizes: 107,603:209,150. You are not an instant winner if your game piece does not indicate you have won a prize.

Once the Administrator has received the signed game pieces for verification, potential Grand Prize, First Prize and Second Prize winners will be notified by phone or email and will be required to execute and return an affidavit of eligibility/liability release, tax form where applicable and, where legal, a publicity release (collectively, the “Eligibility Documents”) within seven (7) calendar days of date of issuance. If a potential winner cannot be reached within two (2) calendar days from the first notification attempt, or in the event of noncompliance within the above stated Eligibility Documents time period, with these Official Rules, or if any prize or prize notification is returned as undeliverable, prize will be forfeited. All game pieces and prize claim materials become the property of the Sponsor and will not be returned. In the event that a Grand, First or Second Prize is unclaimed by 12/7/09 or if a potential winner cannot be verified, the applicable prize will be forfeited and no alternate winner(s) will be selected.

5) PRIZES: Grand Prize (1): A $10,000 Visa gift card. Approximate Retail Value (“ARV”) of Grand Prize: $10,000.

First Prize (1): A $5,000 Visa gift card. ARV: $5,000.

Second Prize (1): A $2,500 Visa gift card. ARV: $2,500.

Four Hundred (400) Third Prizes per participating store (up to 269 stores): Four hundred (400) $5 Cost Plus World Market coupons (ARV of each: $5). All Third Prizes must be redeemed in the participating Cost Plus World Market store at which the game piece was obtained by 11/28/09. Coupons are subject to terms and conditions specified thereon.

General Prize Conditions: Gift cards are subject to certain terms and conditions specified by Visa. All prize details are at the sole discretion of the Sponsor. No substitution, assignment, cash equivalent or transfer of prizes is permitted, except by Sponsor, who reserves the right to substitute a with another prize of comparable or greater value, at its sole discretion. The total maximum ARV of the prizes in the Promotion: $555,500.

6) TAXES AND EXPENSES: Winners are solely responsible for all federal, state, and local taxes (if any) and other fees and expenses associated with prize receipt and use not specified herein as being awarded.

7) CONDITIONS OF ENTRY: By participating, each entrant fully and unconditionally agrees to and accepts these Official Rules and the decisions of Sponsor and Administrator, which are final and binding in all matters related to the Promotion. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual it finds to be tampering with or subverting the participation process or the operation of the Promotion or to be acting in violation of these Official Rules, or in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner and void all associated prize claims.

8) GENERAL CONDITIONS: By participating, the entrants consent to the use of their names, cities and states of residence, voices, and/or photographs and/or similar related information for promotional, advertising and other purposes in any and all media now or hereafter known throughout the world in perpetuity by Sponsor and its designees, without additional compensation, notification or permission, except where prohibited by law. Entrants agree to release and hold harmless Sponsor, Administrator, and their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, divisions, suppliers, distributors, retailers, and advertising and promotion agencies, and all of their respective officers, directors, shareholders, employees, and agents (collectively, “Releasees”) from any claims, actions, injury, loss or damage of any kind resulting from participating in this Promotion or from the acceptance, use of any prize awarded.

9) LIMITATIONS OF LIABILITY: Only the number of prizes stated herein will be awarded. Releasees are not responsible for: (i) unauthorized human intervention in any part of the participation process; (ii) late, lost, stolen, undelivered, misdirected, delayed, inaccurate, illegible, or incomplete prize claims or postage-due mail, lost or stolen game pieces, or for any printing, typographical, human or other error relating to or in connection with the Promotion, including, without limitation, errors which may occur in connection with the administration of the Promotion, the processing of prize claims, the announcement of prizes or in any Promotion-related materials; or (iii) any injury or damage to persons or property, which injury or damage may be caused, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from entrant's participation in the Promotion. Sponsor reserves the right to cancel or modify the Promotion if fraud, or any other factor impairs the integrity of the Promotion (or portion thereof), as determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion. Promotion materials are void if not obtained through authorized, legitimate channels, or if any part is defective, altered, duplicated, photocopied, forged, counterfeited, mutilated or tampered with in any way, or if Promotion materials contain or are the result of printing, seeding, human, electronic, computer, typographical, mechanical or other errors, or do not contain proper security devices. In the event of printing, seeding or other errors where more valid, eligible claims are received for any prize than set forth in these Official Rules, Sponsor reserves the right to combine all such claims in a random drawing to award the advertised number of prizes for the prize at issue. Sponsor reserves the right to terminate/cancel the Promotion if technical, printing, or other errors or problems compromise the integrity of the Promotion.

10) DISPUTES: Except where prohibited, entrant agrees that: (a) any and all disputes, claims and causes of action arising out of, or connected with, the Promotion or any prize awarded shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action, and exclusively by the appropriate court located in the State of California; (b) any and all claims, judgments and awards shall be limited to actual out-of-pocket costs incurred, including costs associated with entering a Promotion, and in no event shall entrant be entitled to receive attorneys’ fees or other legal costs or expenses; and (c) entrant waives the right to claim any damages whatsoever, including, but not limited to, punitive, consequential, direct, or indirect damages. All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Official Rules, entrant’s rights and obligations, or the rights and obligations of the Sponsor in connection with the Promotion, shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the laws of State of California, without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules (whether of the State of California or any other jurisdiction), which would cause the application of the laws of any jurisdiction other than State of California.

11) RULES/LIST OF WINNERS: For a list of the winners, available after 12/14/09 or for an additional copy of these Official Rules, mail a self-addressed stamped envelope to: CPWM’s Holiday Instant Win Game, c/o Haley Miranda Group, 8654 Washington Boulevard, Culver City, CA 90232. Please specify “Rules” or “List of Winners”. Requests must be received by 1/29/10. Vermont residents may omit return postage for Rules requests. You may also view these Official Rules at participating Cost Plus World Market location.

12) SPONSOR: Cost Plus, Inc., 200 Fourth Street, Oakland, CA 94607.

13) ADMINISTRATOR: Haley Miranda Group, 8654 Washington Boulevard, Culver City, CA 90232.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

OK. I gave $50 last year to her...sort of... I was contributing to the Texas Senate Campaign...well, lose some and lose others.

Dear Freddallas,

Tomorrow, America celebrates Thanksgiving — a special day where we pause to give thanks for the many blessings we've received.

Even as our country faces many challenges here at home and around the globe, we have much to be thankful for, including our vibrant and resilient democracy of, by, and for the people.

I am also thankful for your friendship and support. As I look ahead to my re-election campaign in 2010, I know I can't do it without you.

Stewart and I and our entire family send our very best wishes to you and your family for a wonderful holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Barbara Boxer

O.K. I gave the guy $50 last year, so I get an email note on Thanksgiving... he forgot my birthday.


Tomorrow, Thanksgiving Day, Americans across the country will sit down together, count our blessings, and give thanks for our families and our loved ones.

American families reflect the diversity of this great nation. No two are exactly alike, but there is a common thread they each share.

Our families are bound together through times of joy and times of grief. They shape us, support us, instill the values that guide us as individuals, and make possible all that we achieve.

So tomorrow, I'll be giving thanks for my family -- for all the wisdom, support, and love they have brought into my life.

But tomorrow is also a day to remember those who cannot sit down to break bread with those they love.

The soldier overseas holding down a lonely post and missing his kids. The sailor who left her home to serve a higher calling. The folks who must spend tomorrow apart from their families to work a second job, so they can keep food on the table or send a child to school.

We are grateful beyond words for the service and hard work of so many Americans who make our country great through their sacrifice. And this year, we know that far too many face a daily struggle that puts the comfort and security we all deserve painfully out of reach.

So when we gather tomorrow, let us also use the occasion to renew our commitment to building a more peaceful and prosperous future that every American family can enjoy.

It seems like a lifetime ago that a crowd met on a frigid February morning in Springfield, Illinois to set out on an improbable course to change our nation.

In the years since, Michelle and I have been blessed with the support and friendship of the millions of Americans who have come together to form this ongoing movement for change.

You have been there through victories and setbacks. You have given of yourselves beyond measure. You have enabled all that we have accomplished -- and you have had the courage to dream yet bigger dreams for what we can still achieve.

So in this season of thanks giving, I want to take a moment to express my gratitude to you, and my anticipation of the brighter future we are creating together.

With warmest wishes for a happy holiday season from my family to yours,

President Barack Obama

Everyone needs to freshen their resume, including me....

Creating a Résumé That Sells
A marketing professional gets advice from recruiters and human-resource executives on her résumé after a yearlong job hunt.
In today's cutthroat job market, having a top-notch résumé is critical to success. But there's a host of conflicting advice about exactly what makes a good résumé—and not every tip is right for every industry. To find out what hiring managers look for most in these documents, The Wall Street Journal introduces Résumé Doctor, a new feature in which recruiting experts and hiring managers critique readers' résumés and suggest ways to improve them.


■The Job Seeker: Dawn Jordan, a 39-year-old marketing professional from Laguna Beach, Calif. Ms. Jordan, also a blogger for's Laid Off & Looking blog, has been job hunting since her position as an operations vice president at Bank of America Corp. was eliminated in October 2008. She assembled her résumé with the help of an outplacement firm provided by her former employer and says it has helped her land several interviews but has yielded no job offers.
■The Job Objective: Ms. Jordan says she is looking for a mid- or senior-level executive position in marketing, preferably at a firm in Southern California. She is open to employers of all sizes in any industry.
■The Experts: Offering feedback on Ms. Jordan's résumé are Peter Leech, chief marketing officer for Seattle-based retailer; John M. Abele, global managing partner in the marketing-and-sales-officers practice in Cleveland for executive-search firm Heidrick & Struggles International Inc.; and Harry Joiner, founder of, a boutique recruiting agency in Atlanta that specializes in integrated marketing and new media.
■The Résumé: Ms. Jordan's résumé is two pages in a classic format, leading with her contact information followed by a summary statement. It goes on to describe her career in reverse chronological order with bullet points describing each position and concludes with her educational background.
■The Positives: Our experts described Ms. Jordan's document as well-organized and easy to read. They didn't have any problems with its length, noting that two pages—or even three—can make sense for someone with her level of experience.
Before and After
View Interactive

Mr. Joiner additionally gave kudos to Ms. Jordan for including in her document a variety of key words—terms that recruiters are likely to search for when combing their résumé databases. Job seekers can identify important keywords for their fields by looking at the language used in job descriptions. Words in Ms. Jordan's résumé that Mr. Joiner says might help the document get noticed by marketing recruiters include "segmentation," "analytics," "cross-sell," "P&L," "CRM" and "SEO"—all critical for marketing roles. He adds that acronyms are fine to use but spelling them out in parentheses might be smart.

■The Advice: Our experts pointed to three flaws in Ms. Jordan's résumé: a lack of essential details; ambiguous information; and grammatical errors.
For starters, these hiring experts say, it is critical to make sure a résumé has enough details and clarity about the work a candidate has done. Ms. Jordan's résumé, like many they see, is missing specifics about her past positions, something that would help them get a better sense of how she progressed in her career. This is important, says Mr. Joiner, for showing that "an applicant can work their way up through an organization, and that they can lead and be led."

Do You Want The Résumé Doctor's Help?
To have your résumé considered for a future installment, please email a copy, along with a short description of your job search and employment situation, to Please use the subject line Résumé Doctor.

Read Laid Off and Looking: Follow a group of out-of-work professionals as they search for opportunities post melt-down
For example, Ms. Jordan's document doesn't list the months she spent in each job at Bank of America, the regions or divisions she was responsible for, whom she reported to or how many employees reported to her. And lower down, two stints listed offer no description of what she did in those jobs. "People discount their early positions, but they can be helpful in explaining how they made their way up the ladder," says Mr. Leech.

Some job hunters lump together descriptions for more than one position at a single firm, as Ms. Jordan did, to keep their résumés concise. Listed under each employer name are each job title and bullets describing all her responsibilities over three positions. But our experts say this made it difficult for them to see how she progressed from one job to the other.

Our experts noted another common omission from résumés in the education section. Ms. Jordan's document failed to state what year she earned either of her degrees. She also didn't say what she majored in for her undergraduate degree. While some professionals intentionally omit graduation dates to hide their age, "we always verify degrees anyway, so you might as well put them on there," says Mr. Abele.

What's more, hiding your age can raise recruiters' suspicions about your integrity. "You're asking someone to trust you enough to hire you, you might as well be open," says Mr. Leech.

One piece of résumé advice to consider—and in particular for a marketing résumé like Ms. Jordan's: a listing of your technological capabilities, because these can speak to your experience and credibility. In Ms. Jordan's case, there is no mention of whether she has worked with market-research vendors such as Yankelovich or Mintel, or if she is proficient in market-research technologies like Oracle or Quickbase.

It turns out, Ms. Jordan is actually skilled in using Visio, SAS, JMP, Oracle, ComScore, Omniture, Webtrends and several other market-research technologies, all of which she has since added to her résumé.

"If your work has been touched or impacted by an important piece of software, then it makes sense to put that in a résumé," says Mr. Joiner. Otherwise, recruiters may assume you're lacking in this area.

If you aren't knowledgeable in some areas you know recruiters will be looking for on a resume, be sure to include related expertise you do have, says Mr. Abele. Then prepare to talk about your ability to learn quickly and provide examples during the interview process.

But Mr. Abele, for his part, says it isn't always necessary to list technological expertise if you are a management-level job hunter or above.

"For nonmanagerial positions however, technical skills do become more relevant," he says. "Employers want someone who can plug and play pretty quickly."

Our experts also say they would like to see more metrics in Ms. Jordan's résumé that show how much savings or profits she generated for her past employers. And consistency is key; well-thought examples next to ambiguous ones can confuse a hiring manager. A good example from Ms. Jordan's résumé is a bullet that says: "Cited by president for recouping $11 mil revenue by reversing deteriorating customer churn rate while achieving triple-digit ROI [return on investment]."

But other bullets come up short, such as one that says she "utilized real time customer data" but that doesn't go on to describe any benefits that her employer gained as a result. "At the end of the day, that's what a hiring manager is scanning for," says Mr. Leech.

If you don't have these details because the quantifiable results were meager, include them anyway—unless they are so poor they could eliminate you from consideration—and briefly explain why and what you learned as a result, adds Mr. Abele.

One element of Ms. Jordan's résumé that the experts differed on was the summary. Mr. Leech says that Ms. Jordan's summary, like many he sees, "doesn't cut to the chase on what's she done."

Mr. Joiner argued that for a summary to be effective, it needs to be tailored for a specific position, something he recommends job hunters do for every job they seek—and ideally throughout the rest of their résumés. Executive recruiter Mr. Abele falls into the "who cares?" category; he says he skips past summaries.

Lastly, there is a piece of advice résumé-writers regularly give out (and job seekers sometimes forget): Check your spelling and grammar. If it isn't your forte, have a friend check it for you.

Our experts noticed that in one sentence Ms. Jordan incorrectly used both past and present tenses. She also wrote "a" when she should have written "an."

Such errors aren't deal-breakers, but they do raise "a little bit of concern about someone's focus on detail," says Mr. Leech.

Write to Sarah E. Needleman at

Michelle Obama Image is example of how being Politically Correct is destroying free speech for USa. It is just a form of censorship, enjoyed in China. - TECHNOLOGY
Google won't exclude distorted Michelle Obama image from its site
'We have, in general, a bias toward free speech,' a Google spokesman says, explaining that offensiveness alone is not a reason to remove the image from the search index.

By David Colker

November 25, 2009

A crudely altered photograph of Michelle Obama, which often comes up as the first result on a Google image search of her name, will not be removed from the company's search process despite protests that the depiction is racist and repugnant.

"It's offensive to many people, but that alone is not a reason to remove it from our search index," Google Inc. spokesman Scott Rubin said Tuesday. "We have, in general, a bias toward free speech."

The image, which depicts the first lady as having monkey-like features, is posted without explanation on a blog called Hot Girls -- which also contains several legitimate photographs of Obama.

Although Google won't alter the process that places the offending image among its top results, the company placed a house advertisement with the headline "Offensive Search Results" above the picture. Clicking the ad leads to a statement that says, in part, "We assure you that the views expressed by such sites are not in any way endorsed by Google."

The statement apologizes "if you've had an upsetting experience using Google," but it states that Web pages are not removed from its process unless the content is illegal or violates the company's webmaster guidelines. Rubin said nothing in the guidelines deals with this kind of imagery.

Google has posted similar statements in rare instances, notably in 2004 when searches for "Jew" yielded a virulently anti-Semitic site as the top result. Rubin said the statement is sometimes used in situations in which there are "offensive search results on an innocuous query."

The Hot Girls blog has an additional Google connection: It was produced using Blogger, an online tool owned by the search company. And it resides on the Blogger platform, which hosts blogs and is also owned by Google.

Rubin said Blogger users have to adhere to the site's terms of service, including a ban on hate speech, which the agreement defines as "content that promotes hate or violence towards groups based on race, ethnicity, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status or sexual orientation/gender identity."

Rubin would not comment specifically on the Hot Girls blog. But he said that a determination of hate speech, under company terms, would heavily rely on whether a site was "attacking or advocating attacks on a person."

"An image alone may not provide enough context to constitute a violation of the policies," he added.

A different website containing the same altered image of Obama was banned by Google several days ago, but only because the site was deemed to contain malware that could spread a virus or similar online malady. When a site is dropped from Google's index, the search engine will not present it as a result.

The safety feature on my Google was set to OFF. So, I was not seeing the Michelle Monkey image. With it on Moderate, it appeared...

Michelle Obama 'racist' picture that is topping Google Images removed from blog.

Hot Girls website apologises over 'monkey' picture that had been appearing at the top of Google Images searches

Blog hosting an offensive image of Michelle Obama with monkey features has removed it and posted an apology.

The image, which has been appearing at the top of search results when the words "Michelle Obama" are put into Google Images, was posted on a blog called Hot Girls, which is hosted by the Google-owned blog service, Blogger.

Hot Girls' owner has today removed the image, which appears to have originally been put up with a blog post on 21 October last year, and displayed an apology in Chinese with a very loose English translation.

Google had refused to remove the offensive image from its picture search listings, despite complaints that it is racist, instead opting to run an ad next to it explaining its policy on how search engine results work.

A spokesman for Google said that the Hot Girls blog and image may still temporarily appear when some users make Google Images searches but that it was coming out of the search engine's indexing system.

Earlier today Google's ad explaining why it kept the image in search listings was being sporadically replaced by other ads.

A spokesman for Google UK said the company was looking into why that was happening for some users and that it was not a "deliberate" action to remove the explanation.

"We would generally keep it [the explanation] up for as long as the blog [hosting the content] was up," he added.

Google warned, however, that the image of the US first lady could easily reappear in its listings if another blog posted it.

It is not the first time that Google has taken out explanation ads against search queries. In 2004 when searches for the word "Jew" returned antisemitic website results Google responded with a similar approach.

• To contact the MediaGuardian news desk email or phone 020 3353 3857. For all other inquiries please call the main Guardian switchboard on 020 3353 2000.

FD: I decided to leave it up and make it a lesson to people about posting images that you don't want your mother to see, when she is using a Moderate Search Sitting on her Google.

Talking Dog for Sale: Good Hairy Dog Story... thanks, Salen.

A guy is driving around the back woods of Montana and he sees a sign in front of a broken down shanty-style house: 'Talking Dog For Sale ' He rings the bell and the owner appears and tells him the dog is in the backyard.

The guy goes into the backyard and sees a nice looking Labrador retriever sitting there.

'You talk?' he asks.

'Yep,' the Lab replies.

After the guy recovers from the shock of hearing a dog talk, he says 'So, what's your story?'

The Lab looks up and says, 'Well, I discovered that I could talk when I was pretty young. I wanted to help the government, so I told the CIA. In no time at all they had me jetting from country to country, sitting in rooms with spies and world leaders, because no one figured a dog would be eavesdropping.'

'I was one of their most valuable spies for eight years running. But the jetting around really tired me out, and I knew I wasn't getting any younger so I decided to settle down. I signed up for a job at the airport to do some undercover security, wandering near suspicious characters and listening in. I uncovered some incredible dealings and was awarded a batch of medals.'

'I got married, had a mess of puppies, and now I'm just retired.'

The guy is amazed. He goes back in and asks the owner what he wants for the dog.

'Ten dollars,' the guy says..

'Ten dollars? This dog is amazing! Why on earth are you selling him so cheap?'

'Because he's a liar. He never did any of that shit.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Democrats in Texas? Where are they? We need to show up this time!

Dems Get Their Man In Texas?

The last time a Democrat was governor of Texas, Bill Clinton was in his second year in office, grunge music was still all the rage, Troy Aikman was quarterback for the Cowboys, and the Texas A&M Aggies were the dominant college football team in the state.

My, how things change. But after yesterday's chain of events -- Tom Schieffer (D) exiting the gubernatorial contest and Houston Mayor Bill White (D) apparently turning his focus from the Senate contest to the gubernatorial one -- Democrats now seem to have a path to win the governor's mansion. This could be especially true if Rick Perry defeats Kay Bailey Hutchison in their increasingly bitter GOP primary, which could alienate female voters and independents. Perhaps this is why RGA Chairman Haley Barbour told reporters last week he preferred for Hutchison to remain in the Senate.

It's Easier For A Texas Dem To Win State Office Than Federal Office: The entrance of White is also a tacit acknowledgement on his part that it's A LOT easier to be a Democrat in Texas running for state office than federal office.

Perhaps he's learning the lesson of another big city Texas Democratic mayor whom many in the business community loved: Ron Kirk. What if Kirk had run for governor in 2002 rather than Senate? Would the Dallas business community have rallied around him? It's a "what-if" plenty of Texas Democrats have played over the years. Also, White's likely move to the governor's race also means two Democrats won't beat each other up in a Senate contest, as longtime Democratic lawmaker John Sharp is raising money as well.

Happy Thanksgiving: Finally, we won't be publishing our morning and afternoon notes Wednesday through Friday, although we'll update the blog as news warrants. Our notes will return on Monday. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Early Data Suggest Suicides Are Rising -

"The precise reasons for the rise in suicides aren't yet known. But suicide rates have historically risen during tough economic times, when unemployment is high, suicide experts say. Calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a government-funded number (1-800-273-TALK) linked to a network of crisis centers, are on pace to reach about 630,000 in 2009, according to officials there. That is up about 15% from last year on top of a 36% increase in 2008 that Lifeline officials attribute, in part, to a promotion of the hotline by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs."