Aug 20

Ford’s US auto sales spike, surpassing GM

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ford Motor Company said on Tuesday that its sales in the United States rose 43% in February compared to the same period last year, as the automaker outsold rivals Toyota and General Motors.

The strength of our new products … are resonating with customers

Ford said that total sales improved to 142,285 units, compared to 141,951 units sold by GM. Additionally, Ford said that its share of the total US car market rose to 17%, up from 14% a year ago. The increase was better than analysts had predicted, and Ford’s stock rose to a five-year high in morning trading, before declining later in the day. Ford’s sales were significantly influenced by a 74% increase in fleet sales to businesses. Rental car agencies alone accounted for around 30,000 units sold. Sales to retail consumers increased only 28%.

The increases were led by sales of two sedans, the Fusion and Taurus, which rose 166.5 and 93.3% respectively, although sales of other models such as SUVs and pickup trucks also increased. Both models were significantly redesigned last year, and analysts said that improved quality from such cars were driving the increases.

Other companies also reported February sales today, nearly all reporting sales gains as well, although none as large as those of Ford. Toyota was the sole exception to the sales gains, as their sales declined 8.7%, as the company was faced with a global recall during the month that led to a temporary stoppage of production for some models.

“The strength of our new products … are resonating with customers,” said Ken Czubay, Ford’s vice president of sales and marketing. However, he believed that traditional Toyota customers were not buying rival autos, but rather awaiting the results from the recalls.

Posted in Uncategorized
Aug 13

How To Have A Candyland Sweet 16 For (Way) Less}

How to Have a Candyland Sweet 16 For (Way) Less


Blake E. Kritzberg

Can we blame it all on MTV’s My Super Sweet 16, like writers like to do? Not really, but the truth is that this formerly modest party has morphed into something bigger. Maybe you’re like me and can hardly remember your 16th — mine sure wasn’t a big deal — but look around today and it’s not out of the question to spend thousands on this event, not even counting the Mary-Kate & Ashley ideal of the car in a big, bright bow.

You may think the pricey event I’m describing is over-the-top, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Many parents are amping up their daughter’s sweet 16 with an event rental, a DJ, and a couture-style cake. Once you splash out for all these, you need a photographer to capture them. And you can’t have a ballroom party without linens … or florals. And on and on.

If this $10,000 specter doesn’t match up with your current economic reality, but your daughter wants a memorable Candyland Sweet 16, not to worry — you can still have a cute one at home, for much, much less. Here’s how to get in scads of sugary sweetness for very little cash.

The Personalized Invitations.

Pricey: A high-style Candyland invite starts with something sweet — and personalized — in a box. Have these made, and you’re looking at $5 or $6 minimum each, mailed.

YouTube Preview Image

Cheap: If you do it yourself, you can order personalized wrappers off eBay, wrap chocolate bars yourself, and package in cute little boxes or bags from Papermart. (Have the wrappers pre-printed with all the party info.) Or, hand out Whirlypops personalized with handsome card stock rounds. Make these yourself on a printer, and cut into perfect discs with a $12 craft-store circle cutter. Save even more by handing these out to friends, skipping the post office. Savings: $4 an invite.

The Super-Sweet Decor.

Pricey: Hire a venue and a four-hour DJ. Rent linens with candy-colored sashes and overlays. The tables need a focal point, so hire a florist to dye roses in bright candy colors and arrange in high-flying trumpet vases (no, I am not making this up).

Cheap: Turn your home and entryway into a virtual Candyland with clever decorations that play with scale. Your secret weapons: foam board, cellophane, balloons and paper lanterns. Even the craft-impaired, like me, can make great garlands out of giant “candies”: two paper plates glued together and covered with a cellophane wrapper. Check the web for more inflatable candy, and eBay for candy-themed balloons (they’re legion). With foam board and dowels, you can easily pull together a great lollipop forest to spiff up the lawn. Amazing “cotton candy” centerpieces are simple to craft. Savings: $6000 and up.

The Main Meal.

Pricey: Catered. It’s not like you can serve your guests veggie trays in a ballroom — you’ve got to at least give them passed hors d’oeuvres.

Cheap: Pizza. Believe it or not, your guests will eventually get a little sugared-out. Recharge their taste buds with lots of salty, fatty, tomato-y pizza. Savings: $20 per person and up, plus, get it delivered and save yourself the hassle.

The Dazzling Dessert.

Pricey: A three-tier Candyland dream cake with brightly fondant icing.

Cheap: Cupcakes are hot! And they don’t call for a degree in structural engineering, unlike the cakes. Make them yourself with super-bright frosting in different colors (use gel coloring). For that high-end look, just pipe on the frosting with a large star tip. Then prop a pretty piece of stick candy (lollipop, swizzle stick, rock candy) into each completed creation. Done? Now place all your lovely cuppies on a tiered pastry stand. If you don’t have a stand, make one with thrifted plates you’ve glued together with sturdy wine glasses or candleholders in between (use Plumber’s Goop to cement). Savings: $300 and up.

The Proof of the Great Time Had by All.

Pricey: A professional photographer to capture the Queen of the Day, and a photo booth to amuse her minions.

Cheap: Maybe you really do want a photographer to memorialize your lovely daughter. Scan Craig’s List for talented snappers who want to pad their portfolio, and who’ll shoot some pics ahead of time for cheap. As for your guests, create a simple backdrop (sheets), provide some props (boas, pink wigs and giant lollis), get out your digital camera and go to town. A photo printer and some gift frames to display the goods will thrill your girls. Savings: $1000 and up.

Want more? Check out our super-useful guide for pulling off a

Candyland Theme Sweet 16

that’ll leave you financially whole. And for a hot selection of

Sweet 16 party favors

, please visit us at FavorIdeas.

Article Source:

How to Have a Candyland Sweet 16 For (Way) Less


Jul 19

Types Of Motor Homes

Find Out More About:

By Ryan Larson

Motor homes are categorized into several different types. We have reviewed in earlier articles Type A, the recreational vehicle. Then we reviewed Type B motor homes, these are the van camper and travel trailer.

Type C motor homes are often called mini-motor homes. These often have the same amenities of larger motor homes, and can be ordered with quite luxurious amenities, but these mini-motor homes are much easier to handle on the road than the larger recreational vehicle. Type C mini-motor homes range in price between $5,000 and $20,000 used and up to $65,000 used.

Another type of motor home is what is called the 5th Wheel. This is the “L” shaped trailer you see being pulled by large pick up trucks. These are also available for those who can afford them with luxurious amenities and design. As with the travel trailer these 5th wheel motor homes can be parked in a camp ground and you have your vehicle to do exploring with.

YouTube Preview Image

A very popular family motor home is a truck camper. They are often very inexpensive ranging between $8,000 and $22,000 new. These work well for those that are single, or parents and kids. They are basic in design and function.

A lot of families use pop ups for camping. These are essentially a tent on wheels and are a great first step for those thinking about Rving. These pop-ups can sleep from two to eight people. They usually have some type of small kitchen, stove top and sink and storage. The disadvantage is that you have less room and less protection from the elements due to the fact that you have screening and canvas as protection.

Talk to family and friends who have RV’s. Go to RV shows in your area and check out the different models of motor homes and recreational vehicles for yourself.

Decide what type of vacationing you will be doing. Are you going to be vacationing in one area or are you going to be exploring a different area each day and staying in different places each night? What time of year are you going to be vacationing? Certainly a pop up wouldn’t be your warmest choice for a winter vacation. What is your gas budget? Can you afford to fill the 100 gallon gas tank of a recreational vehicle that gets 5 to 8 miles per gallon? Do you have to be more cost conscious? In that case a mini-motor home may be for you.

About the Author: This article courtesy of


Permanent Link:

Jul 19

“Camp Casey” moves to safer land, as Mother’s protest continues

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

In Crawford, Texas, anti-war protesters led by American Cindy Sheehan, mother of a fallen soldier, have found a new place to demonstrate. “A kind gentleman from down the road, closer to the Bush ranch, has offered us the use of his property,” said Sheehan to the reporters, as the camp prepared a move to private land.

The property owner, U.S. Army veteran Fred Mattlage, said, “I just think people should have a right to protest without being harassed, and I’m against the war. I don’t think it’s a war we need to be in.”

Sheehan continued to tell the reporters, “He offered it because he heard about the shots fired at us the other day and he didn’t think that was right. He happens to be the third cousin of the person that fired the shots and so he came down and he said he supports us 100 percent.”

The “shots fired” were those of nearby resident Larry Mattlage, whose land borders the protesters at their current location. After complaining about the proximity of the protesters, he fired a shotgun twice into the air Sunday – in order to prepare for duck hunting season, he said. Mattlage says at no time was he ever threatening the protesters with his shots.

Not all Americans agree with Mrs. Sheehan’s position. On Monday, a man was arrested and charged with vandalism of Camp Casey’s memorial for troops lost in Iraq. Around 10pm the previous night, authorities say the accused used his pickup truck to run over hundreds of small wooden crosses bearing names of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq.

In comments to the press, Bush offered sympathy to Sheehan, “I sympathize with Mrs. Sheehan. She feels strongly about her — about her position. And she has every right in the world to say what she believes.”, he said. However, he has still declined to meet her. “I think it’s important for me to be thoughtful and sensitive to those who have got something to say.” Bush told reporters, “But, I think it’s also important for me to go on with my life, to keep a balanced life.”

Others have commented that Sheehan is being used by those with their own agendas, “What started out as a grieving mom that we all sympathized with has now turned into … an orchestrated far-left campaign,” commented Greg Mueller, a conservative public-relations executive.

A former FBI special agent, Rowley, and Becky Lourey, whose son was killed in Iraq, will leave for Texas on Thursday and camp at the site for a few days.

Rowley said, “It puts a human face on this issue; many people, if they don’t have a personal connection to the troops, it’s so easy for this to become a discussion that lacks seriousness and urgency. I think it’s good to show that there are real people that are being affected.”

“Our children are dying and I think it’s time to go support Cindy and see if Bush will come out and we can say, ‘President Bush, what is the mission exactly?’,” Becky Lourey added. “Truth has been shifting all around and I think we need to rejoin the world community and not occupy another nation.” Lourey said.

Sheehan wants the withdrawal of all troops from Iraq. President Bush claims that leaving Iraq now wouldn’t be helpful for Iraqis or Americans, but only for terrorists.

Posted in Uncategorized
Jul 15

How Do I Pay For A Car I Am Buying On Line?}

Submitted by: Ryan Letterman

Whether you buy a car from a dealership or online, there are still only two methods of payment: cash or finance.

If you have cash in any amount, you are in the driver’s seat. If you find a motivated seller and you tell him that you can pay $500 less than he is asking in cash, you may be able to strike a better deal.

However, you want to make sure that everything is above board before you talk about the cash. Have you taken your test drive? Have you seen a copy of the title in the seller’s name? Have you seen a Carfax or similar product?

Once you are satisfied with all the terms, invite the seller to meet you at your bank at a certain time and date. Tell him to bring along a Bill of Sale and the Original title to be signed over to you. Your job is to present him with a Certified Check drawn on the bank where the meeting takes place.

YouTube Preview Image

We are not talking about a $500 car here. If it is $500, you would still meet him at your bank wanting the same documents, but you could hand him $500. You do not want to hand a person several thousand dollars or more in cash.

If the seller looks askance at your plan of giving him a Certified Check, find out why. On the other hand, don’t say anything. Just tell him that is the way you do business with everyone.

When meeting your seller at the bank, stand in a place where you know the security cameras will record the transaction.

When you are paying cash at a dealership, you will want to know the final amount so you can bring back the check. Some car dealers will accept a personal check and then have their cashier check the funds at your bank and put a hold on them.

Read your sales agreement very carefully as dealers are very good at adding extras that were not brought up in your verbal discussions.

If you are financing your purchase, you will want to have all your ducks in a row before you begin your search. Call your bank or whomever you have lending you the money and tell them exactly what you are looking for. They will tell you the average loan on the car you want, and this will tell you how much down payment you need.

Also inform your lender that you are purchasing the vehicle from a private seller and find out all their rules and regulations for handling such a deal. Many times, they want you to make the down payment to them and they handle the rest of the dealing directly with the seller.

If you are purchasing from a dealer, you still need your financing in place before you shop for a car. This way you are certain of the type of car you can afford and precisely what your rate of interest on the loan will be.

Sales people and finance managers at the car dealers always try to increase your interest rate when you finance through them because they earn commission when they sell for over their backer’s stated interest.

About the Author: If you reside around Chicago, Illiniosand are scouting to

Sell Your Used Truck in Chicago

, talk to the team at Trade In Genie.”

We Buy Cars

” is their motto!


Permanent Link: }

Jul 15

Chicago Metra considers selling naming rights for train lines, stations

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Chicago’s Metra is currently considering the possibility of selling the naming rights to its train stations, rail lines, and even bridges to generate more revenue. 

The regional rail system for Chicago and its surrounding suburbs has been experiencing revenue shortfalls, along with other public transportation agencies such as the Chicago Transit Authority and Pace. They all rely on sales taxes and fares to fund their services, but the recent recession has reduced sales tax revenues, and unemployment has caused ridership to fall. Compared to 86.8 million trips in 2008, Metra reported that only 82.3 million trips were provided in 2009. As spokeswoman Judy Pardonnet said, “We’re looking at any opportunity to increase non-fare revenue.”

A law approved by former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich in 2008 granted free rides to all seniors regardless of income, adding to the decreasing fare revenues as well. State lawmakers are trying to restrict the free rides to low-income seniors; Metra has not yet commented on the issue, however. 

New designs put on the agency’s website last September has attracted more traffic, and Metra is considering selling advertising space online. In addition, advertising space could be sold on the outside of train cars as well. As for the naming rights to stations and routes, Metra plans to hire a consultant that would figure out the details of such a proposal. Spokesperson Meg Reihle did not know how much money Metra could gain from the sale or which organizations would be interested in buying. 

According to Ms. Reihle, public transit agencies in other cities have sold naming rights as well, such as the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority in Cleveland and Long Island Rail Road in Long Island. TECO Energy sponsors a rail line in Tampa’s Hillsborough Area Regional Transit for US$1 million over ten years. 

Throughout its 26-year history, Metra has named several of its locomotives and renamed two stations: Ogilvie Transportation Center, which was previously named North Western Station, and Millennium Terminal, which was previously called Randolph Street. No transactions were made in renaming those two stations, however. There is also a Station named after the candy maker Mars, but that station was named before Metra took it over, and the company doesn’t pay Metra for any naming rights. 

I think the business community recognizes that transit is positive for their advertising benefit

Execuive Director Phil Pagano sees the proposal as a way for businesses to advertise themselves. “I think the business community recognizes that transit is positive for their advertising benefit,” said Mr. Pagano at a board meeting. In addition to businesses, hospitals located near the train stations could purchase naming rights as well. However, Mr. Pagano has also stated that “the agency would be selective about the type of businesses it partners with.”

Metra has said that it will be sensitive to the wishes of the communities near the stops, and town names will not be removed from station names. Rather, both the municipality and the sponsoring organization would share the naming rights, such as in renaming Naperville Station to “Naperville Boeing Station”. “I’m not sure whether [the old name] is first or second, but definitely it’s going to have to be there,” said Mr. Pagano.

Posted in Uncategorized
Jul 15

Zimbabwe bound arms ship flees from South Africa

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A Chinese arms ship bound for Zimbabwe was expelled from Durban, South Africa on Friday evening by the city’s High Court.

This comes after China, soon to host the Olympic games in Beijing, has come under world scrutiny for its human rights record and after Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe created further rifts internationally by denouncing opposing nations. In Zimbabwe votes from 23 out of the 210 constituencies are still being recounted after Mr. Mugabe suspected opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai of rigging the recent parliamentary elections. Mr. Tsvangirai claims that the delay in releasing the results is because Mr. Mugabe wants to “steal the election.”

Dockworkers in Durban refused to help unload the cargo of the An Yue Jiang, threatening protests and violence if the government tried to do it without them. Many believed the arms were to be used by Mugabe and Zanu-PF to repress Zimbabwean citizens. Other protesters included unions and human rights groups, who made a petition for the ship to be expelled.

According to the South African Mail & Guardian, the ship contained three million rounds of ammunition for AK-47s, 1,500 rocket-propelled grenades and several thousand mortar rounds sealed in blue and red boxes.

The South African government, which prefers ‘quiet diplomacy’ over ‘megaphone diplomacy’ when handling Zimbabwe said that the cargo was legally permitted to cross through South Africa, Defence Secretary January Masilela stated that “if the buyer is the Zimbabwean sovereign government and the seller is the Chinese sovereign government, South Africa has nothing to do with that”. Nevertheless the Durban High Court ruled against this after an appeal by the Anglican archbishop of the province.

This leaves South Africa in a deep split over its Zimbabwe policy, some wishing to follow president Thabo Mbeki’s softly-softly approach, others like Randall Howard, General Secretary of the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union saying that “the South African government cannot be seen as propping up a military regime”.

Posted in Uncategorized
Jul 15

Suspect in gay bar attack dies after gunfight with police

Sunday, February 5, 2006

The man who was suspected of attacking three men in a gay bar in Massachusetts died early Sunday morning after being shot in a gun battle with Arkansas State Police.

Jacob D. Robida, 18, fled Massachusetts on Friday after a warrant was put out for his arrest in the aforementioned gay bar attack. Along the way he picked up his girlfriend, 33-year-old Jennifer Rena Bailey, in Charleston, West Virginia. Robida was pulled over in a traffic stop by Gassville, Arkansas Police Officer Jim Sell. Sell asked Robida to get out of the car, and Robida shot him three times before getting back in the car and leaving. A witness called 911, but Sell died at the scene.

Robida led Baxter County, Arkansas sheriff’s officers and Arkansas State Police officers on a high-speed chase. Robida ran over spike strips in Norfolk and drove on two flat tires for a while. He ultimately wrecked his car into some parked vehicles while trying to avoid a roadblock on Arkansas State Road 5. Robida shot at the officers, who returned fire, shooting Robida twice in the head. Bailey was killed in the gunfight; though some witness said Robida shot her before firing on the officers, an autopsy and forensic investigation will determine how she died.

Robida was rushed to Cox-South Hospital in Springfield, Arkansas, where he was pronounced dead at 3:38 a.m. CST (0938 UTC).

Posted in Uncategorized
Jul 15

Using Joomla Content Management For Your Business}

Using Joomla Content Management For Your Business


Cordell George

I am a Web Developer & I own a Web Design & SEO firm based in Melbourne, Australia. Over the last 9 years, I have developed many websites and worked with many different content management systems. I have designed and built my own content management systems and I have seen many half done open source systems come and go. So, it comes as no surprise that over the last 9 years that the calls by many clients for a more complete open source CMS solution have been answered by an open source solution. This article is about one of the best open source content management systems available, Joomla and I walk you through the potential benefits that Joomla can provide for your business.

So, what is Joomla! ?

YouTube Preview Image

Joomla! is an award-winning, web based, Content Management System(CMS) that provides its users with the ability to add, edit and delete content. Content is the meat of a website, everything on the site, from page titles and images to text and placement on the page. It is simple for even non-technical users to add or edit content, update images, and to manage the vital data that makes your company run. Anybody with basic word processing skills can easily learn to manage a Joomla! site. So what this means to the many non-programmers in the business World, is a freedom. The freedom to modify your website without need of hiring a html developer or web programmer just to update one image or change some text. So what is the catch? well, there really isn’t one! Joomla! is open source and is released under the GPL/GNU Licence so that means its free for anyone to use as long as licenses within the code remain intact!

Currently Joomla powers millions of websites Worldwide, from the United Nations and Porsche Brazil to websites for smaller businesses with more modest design budgets. Joomla offers a versatility in how it can be used and who it can be used by. Of course for more complex jobs of modifying design and your own look and feel you might need to hire a designer, however this task is made easier because Joomla is so popular. To find qualified web designers who have used Joomla in the past, it is very easy, a simple search on one of the many freelance designer-for-hire websites on the Internet. You can even post your individual project and have designers bid on your project and you can make your selection from the bidders.

From my experience most people have no trouble understanding the basics necessary to edit content and pages and given that Joomla has such an active and growing community of more than 40,000 users and developers it is quite easy to find information online. Using the simple, browser-based interface you will be able to easily add new news items, manage staff information, job listings, product images, and create an unlimited amount of sections or content pages on your website.

From my web design experience I know that with very little configuration, Joomla! does a fantastic job of managing the web content needed to make a business website run. However for many people, the true power of Joomla! lies in its ability to be modified with components and modules. There are literally hundreds & hundreds of component addons and plugins that add to the base Joomla website system framework so that it can be molded into suiting your business processes better. For example, there are extensions to make the website an ecommerce website, to make the website a property management website or a complex download repository.

In few short words it might be worthwhile exploring Joomla for your next website as it provides you with diverse flexibility and a level of control of your content not present 5 years ago.

To read about

benefits of apples


benefits of beetroot

, visit the

What Are Its Benefits


Article Source:

Using Joomla Content Management For Your Business


Jul 15

US survey finds advertising contributes to increased underage drinking

Tuesday, January 3, 2006

A survey to test whether exposure to alcohol advertisements affects alcohol consumption by young people found that advertising does contribute to increased drinking, including among underage drinkers.

Researchers from the University of Connecticut surveyed 15 to 26 year olds, who reported their alcohol consumption over the previous month. The research then correlated this with the respondent’s exposure to advertisement, and the money spent by companies on alcohol ads. The alcohol industry’s measured media expenditure is roughly $1.8 billion per year.

The study found that those youngsters exposed to more ads also drank more, and that markets with greater alcohol advertising expenditures also had greater alcohol consumption. These findings also oheld for drinking by those younger than the legal drinking age of 21 years.

Alcohol use by the youth has been a matter of public concern, as it has been linked with lowered educational performance, risky sexual activity, motor accidents and addiction. Other surveys have found that underage drinkers account for 20% of alcohol consumption. Alcohol advertising is not subject to federal legislation, the industry follows a voluntary code of conduct.

While many studies have found an association between alcohol advertising and use, the question of whether the link is a causal one is still unanswered. The present survey uses market-level measures of advertising to address criticism of previous studies that relying on self-reported exposure to advertisements might be biased as those who drink may be more likely to pay attention to, and remember the ads.

The study found greater ad-spending in a market was related to both higher levels of youth drinking and steeper increases in drinking over time, which continued until respondents were in their mid-twenties. The link also held the other way: less alcohol advertising associated with less drinking, more modest increases in consumption over time during the respondents’ early twenties and a steady decline in consumption after this period. The results are consistent with findings from studies of advertising bans.

The study was funded by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

The industries voluntary guidelines specify that 70 percent of the audience for its advertising be at least 21 years old, the legal drinking age. Industry groups have claimed that its advertising affects only those older than the legal drinking age and that advertising at best causes brand switching. Reacting to the study, representatives of the alcohol industry in the UK, which has one of the highest youth drinking rates in Europe, said that there was a strict system in place controlling advertising. But studies have found that there is often greater concentrations of alcohol advertisements in media aimed at youth than at adults.

Posted in Uncategorized