Monday, December 14, 2009

VTech(R) Introduces its First Two-Line DECT 6.0 Cordless Phone System

The New DS6151 Offers Most Affordable and Advanced Communication Solution of its Kind

BEAVERTON, Ore., Dec. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- VTech® Communications, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of VTech Holdings Ltd. (HKSE: 303; ADR: VTKHY) and the largest U.S. cordless phone manufacturer, today announced its first two-line phone with DECT 6.0 technology. Available now for just $79.95, the DS6151 is the most affordable system of its kind, making it ideal for busy households and small businesses.

Based on DECT 6.0 technology, the feature-rich and expandable VTech DS6151 offers superior sound quality, range and interference-free calls. As a two-line system priced at nearly half the cost of similarly-featured phones, the DS6151 is perfect for small businesses as well as for homes using dial-up Internet service or to provide separate lines for different family members.

Additionally, the system includes a digital answering machine with a dedicated mailbox for each line. As a result, users have peace-of-mind that their calls with family, friends or business associates are secure, and can enjoy smoother, more organized communication.

"This solution is great for people working at home, families that need separate lines or consumers who still use dial-up Internet service," said Matt Ramage, senior vice president, product management, VTech Communications, Inc. "With its smart design elements and budget-friendly price, the DS6151 is a new breed of two-line home communication."

Designed for Functionality

The DS6151 has optional expandability up to 12 handsets with only one phone jack (using the DS6301 accessory handset, sold separately for $29.95), making it easy to answer landline calls from any room. Along with two-line functionality, VTech designed the DS6151 to simplify any household or business communication with features including handset and base speakerphone and the ability to transfer and conference between handsets. Users also can conference an outside call between the two lines.

Other key features include an extra large LCD with blue backlighting, larger display font and a tilted base station display for easy viewing, plus dual caller ID.

Product Availability

The VTech DS6151 is available now at and will be sold at Best Buy and OfficeMax retail stores nationwide in Spring 2010.

Additional product highlights include the following:

Model Key Features Price
----- ------------ -----
DS6151 -- DECT 6.0 digital technology, which $79.95
provides the best sound quality, security
and range in cordless phones

-- Expandable up to 12 handsets using only
one phone jack - uses DS6101 accessory

-- Extra large base LCD with blue

-- Digital answering system with two
separate mailboxes for each line

-- Handset and base speakerphone for
"hands-free" conversations

-- High-gloss finishing and large font
for easy viewing

-- Intercom, transfer and conference
between handsets

-- Voicemail waiting indicator

-- Handset volume control

-- Audible time and date stamp on recorded

-- Available now at:
and Best Buy and OfficeMax stores
nationwide (May 2010)
------ ------------------------------------------ ------
DS6101 -- DECT 6.0 digital technology provides the $29.95
best sound quality, security and range in
cordless phones

-- Accessory handset only - requires the
DS6151 to operate

-- Intercom, transfer and conference
between handsets

-- Handset speakerphone for "hands-free"

-- Voicemail waiting indicator

-- Handset volume control

-- Available now at:

Friday, October 9, 2009

Obama says he'll accept Nobel as 'call to action' - Yahoo! News

Obama says he'll accept Nobel as a call to action - Yahoo! News
On one hand, the president has not been in office long enough to deserve the Nobel Peace Prize. He has been asked to reject the award. (bullshit)
On the other hand he has been in office long enough to have solved five of the country's major problems--according to SNL Jokes and many others who are not joking.
So which is it?
Take a huge gulp of haterade, wipe ya mouth and take another swig.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Michael Jackson had something for everyone--no need to blame Jamie

Well, I went to the Jamie Foxx web site and there is a virtual race war-of-words going on there. Some are accusing Mr. Foxx of being a racist after viewing the Black Entertainment Television Awards Show last week.
If any of you watched Michael Jackson’s memorial on Monday and heard Al Sharpton entire speech, then maybe you will get the hint that Mr. Jackson was indeed a black man. Don’t blame Jamie Foxx for that, for he too is a black man. There are some things relatable across the races and some things relatable to the races. Mike’s last CD was a testament to the love he felt for his community. His entire music catalog is a testament to how he loved music and his fans.
Invincible was played at every stepper’s set for years and still got some play before he died just because it was gooooood! We like and appreciate that Mike, so thanks. We liked all of his songs but some of those syncopated beats scream foot work and some scream other dance moves--stuff I‘m too old to do. We all like some things more than others. That is just the way people are made up. No one calls Foxx a racist when he is hosting the Country Music Awards. He is just as funny and shocking as ever. So I think the rub in all of this is that Foxx reminded folk that Michael Jackson was a black man.
Some of his fans do not want to take this fact into consideration. He was everything but to them. The truth is that he was a little black boy from Gary, Indiana--which is 85 percent African American--who grew up in Los Angles using his talent to his advantage. Was he more than just a black man? Yes, just as all black men are more than just a black man and just like all white men are more than just white men,
et cetera. We are all more than just our race. However, it seems being black sticks under the craw of many. I don’t know why but it just seems to make a difference. As assimilated as we are, it should not be but it is and it takes a great effort on a black person’s part to downplay anything that gets in the way of acceptance. Mike proved that. As blacks we are still making and counting firsts. Mike proved that too.
Let us not find a blame in all of this surrounding MJ’s death but take entertainment at face value and not make it a political action committee. If you want to fight for rights or anything else good that helps the human race, President Obama has several very fine outfits people can join.

P.S. Ladies no one will care if you work, are on government assistance, have had children out-of-wedlock or whatever. Those things are your personal choices and do not give nor take away your right to speak out. So please stop prefacing comments with ”I am a single mother…” No one cares and we are not giving out awards for choosing to birth and/or raise children. We used to but not anymore because everybody’s doing it.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Bear Grylls and Will Ferrell Join Forces in the Swedish Wilds during Special Episode of MAN VS. WILD for new Land of the Lost movie

Episode Marks Most Fully Integrated Partnership to Date Between Discovery Channel and Universal Pictures and Proves that Extreme Adventure is Harder on the Stomach Than Comedy

Marking the latest adventure in Discovery Channel's long-running series MAN VS. WILD, Bear Grylls invited Actor/Comedian Will Ferrell to join him for an extreme adventure in the Swedish hinterland, it was announced today. The early June episode is tied to Universal Pictures' upcoming comedy adventure "Land of the Lost," which stars Ferrell and hits movie theaters on June 5, 2009.

This special episode of MAN VS. WILD is the most fully integrated to date in an ongoing strategic partnership between Discovery Channel and Universal Pictures to create special shows that tie into opening movies. Previously, the two companies have worked together on tie-ins with recent Universal releases. These include a integration of Universal's "Frost/Nixon" with an episode of Discovery's CASH CAB; a tie-in of Universal's "Fast & Furious," which recently opened to $71MM--the highest box office weekend of 2009--with Discovery's DESTROYED IN SECONDS; and last summer with Universal and Marvel Studios' "The Incredible Hulk" with Discovery's DEADLIEST CATCH, Universal's "Wanted" with Discovery's FUTUREWEAPONS and Universal's "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor" with Discovery's MAN VS. WILD.

In this first joint extreme adventure special, Grylls takes Ferrell through the paces of real life survival in the ice-bound mountain and glacier ranges in the far north of Sweden. Armed with only the most basic survival equipment, Grylls briefs his partner on the extreme conditions they'll have to confront over the next 48-hours...and what worst-case scenarios lie in store.

Common to all MAN VS. WILD episodes, Grylls shows Ferrell what it takes to find food in the icy coniferous forests, as they climb trees, improvise snow shoes from saplings, drink their own urine and even bite into reindeer eyeballs!

"Will did an amazing job in sub-zero very unforgiving conditions," said Grylls. "He trusted me when it mattered and we survived... And he has definitely had an adventure! He should be very proud of how he performed."

"To be able to participate in an episode of MAN VS. WILD was a thrill of a lifetime, even though I did get urine-drunk which is sad," said Ferrell.

"We enjoy every aspect of working with our clients on content integrations. The most successful partnerships given our non-fiction programming include customized opportunities that get our client's close to our content as organically as possible. This one is fun and should garner great interest for our show and for the movie," commented Joe Abruzzese, President, Advertising Sales, Discovery Communications.

"Pairing one of the toughest men alive with one of the funniest will be an absolute riot," said John Ford, President and General Manager of Discovery Channel. "Bear and Will share a snow shelter and eat reindeer eyeballs together. That says it all. I can't wait to watch."

"Our ongoing partnership with Discovery has been greatly successful for our companies, and the pairing of Bear and Will for MAN VS. WILD is our most innovative project to date," said Annah Zafrani, Vice President of Media Promotions, Universal Pictures. "We're able to connect 'Land of the Lost' to Bear's fans--people who love adventure and mysterious worlds. It doesn't hurt that, with Will, we have one of the funniest men on the planet... who is also game to be lost in the wild."

An ex-Special Forces soldier, Bear Grylls was trained as a survival expert in the British army, has a black belt in karate and is an experienced high-altitude mountaineer. Grylls has channeled his daring spirit into feats such as the highest-ever dinner party at a table suspended below a hot air balloon at 24,500 feet, and the first unassisted crossing of the frozen North Atlantic Ocean in an open rigid inflatable boat.

In addition, in 1998 at age 23, Bear became the youngest British climber to ever complete a summit and descent of Mount Everest. Last year, Bear returned to the Himalayas to conquer a new dream--attempting to fly a powered paraglider higher than Everest. Through this expedition, Bear and his team donated more than $2.5 million to charities, including $600,000 to the Global Angels Foundation, a charity that supports long-term projects for underprivileged children worldwide.

MAN VS. WILD is produced for Discovery Channel by Diverse Productions and executive produced by Steve Rankin. Dan Korn serves as Executive Producer for Discovery Channel.

Will Ferrell stars as has-been scientist Dr. Rick Marshall, sucked into a space-time vortex and spat back through time. Way back. Now, Marshall has no weapons, few skills and questionable smarts to survive in an alternate universe full of marauding dinosaurs and fantastic creatures from beyond our world--a place of spectacular sights and super-scaled comedy known as the "Land of the Lost." For more information, visit

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Autism Study Finds Significant Benefit with Hyperbaric Treatment

In a medical world that tells parents of autistic children to "accept" the condition of their child, a new study brings not only hope, but actual help, to these families. Lead physician and researcher, Daniel Rossignol, M.D., treats children with autism. Seeing his patients improve with hyperbaric oxygen treatment led him to conduct the first large scale, double-blind, controlled study to examine its effectiveness. And, the results of this study demonstrate positive improvements.

Hyperbaric therapy traditionally involves inhaling up to 100% oxygen at a pressure greater than 1 atmosphere (atm) in a pressurized chamber. In the first randomized, controlled, double-blind multicenter trial, published in BMC Pediatrics and entitled "Hyperbaric treatment for children with autism: a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, controlled trial." Dr. Rossignol and colleagues, from 6 centers in the USA, studied 62 children, aged 2-7 years, to assess the efficacy of hyperbaric treatment in children with autism.

The research trial concludes that children with autism who received hyperbaric treatment at 1.3 atmospheres and 24% oxygen for 40 hourly sessions had significant improvements in overall functioning, receptive language, social interaction, eye contact, and sensory/cognitive awareness compared to children who received slightly pressurized room air.

The children were randomly assigned to either 40 hours of hyperbaric treatment at 1.3 atm and 24% oxygen (treatment group) or slightly pressurized room air at 1.03 atm and 21% oxygen (non-treatment group). Clinical outcomes were evaluated by three different scales: the Clinical Global Impression (CGI) scale, the Aberrant Behavior Checklist (ABC), and the Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist (ATEC).

Dr. Rossignol said, "In our study, we observed significant improvements in several core autistic behaviors with the use of hyperbaric therapy at 1.3 atm compared to children receiving near-placebo treatment. These findings confirm what we are seeing in clinical practice--that many children with autism may benefit with the use of this treatment."

Director of the International Hyperbarics Association, Shannon Kenitz, said, "With autism on the rise, it is promising to see a study that has been conducted with the high standards endorsed by the medical community. Having this scientifically controlled and analyzed study that shows the positive effects of hyperbarics is truly what this community has needed. The study not only presents the benefit of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for children with autism, but also gives families the hope that so many other therapies have failed to do."

"The impact of this study on the autism community is significant. It brings validity to a successful intervention that needs to become part of mainstream medicine," commented Kyle Van Dyke, M.D., and Autism Specialist from Madison, Wisconsin.

According to Philip James, M.D., an expert in hyperbaric medicine out of the UK, this study is "An article of outstanding merit and interest in its field."

The growing concern regarding autism in this country is reinforced by the critically high ranking this study as earned by BMC Pediatrics. It is currently the most accessed article and projected to continue to climb in significance.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Black Male Teachers

From my inbox to you, courtesy of my friend Toni!

Do you know any Black males who are seniors in high school who want to go to college out of state for "FREE" ? Several Black Colleges are looking for future black male teachers and will send them to universities/colleges for 4 years FREE.

The 'Call Me MISTER' program is an effort to address the critical shortage of African American male teachers particularly among South Carolina 's lowest performing public schools. Program participants are selected from among under-served, socio-economically disadvantaged and educationally at-risk communities.

The program is a collaboration between Clemson University and four historically black colleges in South Carolina : Benedict College, Claflin University , Morris College and South Carolina State University.

The project provides:

Tuition for admitted students pursuing approved programs of study at participating colleges.

An academic support system to help assure their success. A cohort system for social and cultural support.

For more details and the online application or call(800)640-2657.


Monday, March 2, 2009

Annual Duck Tape prom clothes competition

Countless memorable outfits showcasing vibrant colors, outrageous fabrics and over-the-top accessories have passed down Hollywood's red carpet. Many of these trends and styles have even found their way to an equally important high-fashion event - the high school prom. But, for those prom-goers who really want to stick out and make a statement (and perhaps win money for doing it!) there's always duct tape.

Entering its ninth year, the Duck(R) brand duct tape Stuck at Prom(R) Scholarship Contest is putting high school students from the United States and Canada to the test, challenging couples to create and accessorize prom outfits that are unique, beautiful and made out of duct tape.

It's easy enough to walk into a store to buy a prom dress and rent a tux, but making it and saving hundreds of dollars in the process has been the most appealing aspect of the contest for the thousands of students who have entered over the last eight years. And what's better than saving money? Winning it, of course! The first place couple with the highest number of online votes will win $6,000 - that's $3,000 for each person - in scholarship dollars! The school that hosts the prom of the winning couple will also receive $3,000.

The couple earning the second highest number of online votes will win $2,000 each, with the high school receiving $2,000, also. The third place couple will win $1,000 each and their high school will receive $1,000.

Students who are interested can go to for official contest rules and a registration form. The contest, sponsored by Henkel Corporation, marketers of Duck(R) brand duct tape, starts on March 2, 2009. Participants are required to submit a photo of themselves wearing their duct tape prom formalwear and completed forms by June 8, 2009.

A panel of judges will choose 10 finalist couples based on five criteria: workmanship, originality, use of colors (Duck(R) brand duct tape is available in 20!), accessories and quantity of duct tape used.

Then, it's up to the public's vote. The top 10 finalists will be narrowed down to first, second and third place winners during a period of online voting, which will open on June 19, 2009, and end on July 2, 2009. Winners will be announced on or around July 9, 2009.

During the contest period, all accepted entries, including those from previous years, can be viewed at

Ebony & Jet on the brink of ruin

This e-mail was sent to me from my friend, Toni:

One of the MOST notable permanent fixtures in EVERY black household (back in the days), was the Ebony, along with Jet magazine.

If you wanted to learn about your history, the plight of black america, current issues facing black americans, how the political process of america affects you, how politics works, who the hottest actors were, what time a particular black television show aired, who got married recently, who were the most eligible bachelors, and bachelorettes in your town, what cities had black mayors, police chiefs, school superintendents, how to register to vote, what cars offer the best value for the buck, who employed black americans, how to apply for college scholarships, ect, MORE THAN LIKELY, the Ebony, or the Jet magazine could help you find answers to those questions.

We have recently been informed that the Johnson Publishing Company organization is currently going through a financial crisis. The company is attempting a reorganization in order to survive. Many people have already lost their jobs with a company that has employed thousands of black americans during the course of it's existence.

In order to support this effort to save OUR magazine, my friends and myself have pledged to get a subscription to both, Ebony, and Jet magazine, starting with one year. We are urging EVERY other person who comes across this plea, to do the same. Please post, repost, and post again, to any blog that you may own, or support. Please email this to EVERY person that you know, regardless of their background. Let them know that Ebony, and Jet magazine has been part of the black american culture for 3 quarters of a century, and that there is a lot that they can learn about black american culture from reading them.

We are currently discussing the idea of throwing an Ebony/Jet party, where people can eat, drink, and sign up for their subscription on the spot. Please spread this idea around to all that you know. Your sororities, fraternities, lodges, VFW posts, churches, civic groups, block clubs, caps meetings, book clubs, ect.

It would be a crying shame, to lose our historic magazine, during the same year of such an historic event as the election of our FIRST BLACK President of the US.

May our Father continue to bless us, in the name of our savior, Jesus Christ.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

12 States & Cities to Preserve 70,000 Affordable Rental Homes with MacArthur Support

Seizing the opportunity to make needed long-term investments in the face of a weak economy, 12 states and cities are launching innovative projects to preserve more than 70,000 affordable rental homes.

The new projects will assist military families in Maryland, seniors in rural Iowa and Vermont, low-wage workers in Florida and Oregon, and people who have been homeless in Los Angeles. They will promote energy efficiency in Pennsylvania, save distressed buildings in Minnesota, improve management of rental housing in Washington State, and ensure that rental homes are available in gentrifying areas near public transit in Denver.

With the stock of affordable rental housing disappearing at an alarming rate, MacArthur’s $32.5 million investment – $9.5 million in grants and an additional $23 million in low-interest loans – will leverage more than $147 million in other funding. The news was welcomed today by federal, state, and local housing officials across the country.

“These grants have spurred state and local innovation and leadership in the preservation of affordable housing,” said U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary, Shaun L. Donovan. “At each grantee site, a representative of HUD has participated in developing the strategies and aligning efforts. It is my goal to make HUD a strong partner at the state and local level. The MacArthur Foundation should be commended for supporting partnerships across the government, private and nonprofit sectors.”

State and local governments in 40 states competed for MacArthur’s support, indicating broad, national interest in preserving affordable rental housing. The Foundation’s funding for these 12 projects is a part of MacArthur’s Window of Opportunity initiative, a $150 million, ten-year effort to preserve affordable rental homes across the nation. By investing in public sector initiatives such as these, the Foundation hopes to help create a wave of policy reform in cities and states that will make it possible to preserve one million homes this decade.

“For many years, the goal of home ownership has been emphasized in the U.S. and as a country we lost sight of the value of rental housing in a balanced national housing policy,” said MacArthur President Jonathan Fanton. “The end of the housing bubble and a wave of foreclosures have underscored the importance of affordable rental housing. We now have an opportunity to reset the policy agenda, restore rental housing to its proper place, and reshape the policy environment so that it both encourages rental housing preservation and makes it easier to do. State and local governments are at the forefront of this effort, showcasing innovation and trying fresh approaches.”

Almost all Americans are renters at some point in their lives. Today, about one in three households – home to more than 75 million people – rent their homes, a number that is rising because of the foreclosure crisis and overall weak market for home sales. Yet, the supply of affordable rental homes is shrinking. Over the last decade, more than one million affordable rental homes were lost due to demolition, conversion to condominiums, expiring government subsidies, and rapidly rising rents. An additional one million homes are expected to be lost in the decade ahead. For every affordable home built each year, two are lost. This means there are not enough affordable homes for millions of Americans all across the nation, not simply in urban areas.

Now, while housing prices decline, acquiring multi-family rental properties is becoming more affordable, enabling cities and states to use scarce dollars more efficiently and effectively. The average cost to preserve a home is half that of building a new one. Preserving affordable housing also provides a stimulus to local economies. For instance, each job supported or created through affordable housing development in Oregon generates another one and one half jobs, on average.

“We’re leveraging our mass transit expansion and ensuring that Denver residents of all income levels have access to affordable housing near these critical transportation corridors,” said Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper. “This creates important economic opportunities for our workforce and further strengthens the character and vitality of Denver’s neighborhoods.”

Examples of the 12 creative state and local projects include:

Denver – The City and County will establish a new loan fund for transit-oriented development that preserves affordable rental housing near existing and planned regional public transit stations. This investment will also help residents access job centers throughout the region. The Denver metropolitan area is undergoing the largest expansion in the nation of its public transit system.

Maryland – Military base closures and the related relocation of 40,000 households will increase pressure on rents in eight counties. The State will ensure that rental housing preservation is a key element of the region’s response to the base closures by identifying preservation opportunities and creating a compact among state and local housing leaders to align efforts.

Oregon & Portland – The City and State are expanding the Oregon Housing Acquisition Fund, a revolving loan fund created to finance the purchase of at-risk properties until permanent financing is available. Over the next five years, federal subsidy contracts will expire on 80 percent of Oregon’s privately-owned rental housing. Nearly one-quarter of these homes are located in Portland, where more than 2,700 families are waiting for rental assistance.

Pennsylvania – In the largest such effort in the nation, Pennsylvania will conduct comprehensive energy audits to determine the most appropriate and cost-effective improvements for increasing energy efficiency in rental homes. Results will help reduce anticipated 40 to 60 percent increases in utility expenses in affordable rental housing for some of Pennsylvania’s neediest families.

The MacArthur Foundation has a long history of commitment to affordable housing. Last year, the Foundation announced a $68 million investment in foreclosure prevention and mitigation in Chicago. The Foundation also supports a $25 million research program on how housing matters to families and communities. More information is available at

iSkoot Brings Real-Time Twitter to Consumer Handsets

iSkoot Kalaida(TM) Platform Helps Mobile Carriers Activate Twitter on Consumer Phones Along With Social Nets, E-Mail, and News

iSkoot, a mobile software pioneer known for groundbreaking mobile Internet calling solutions, today announced it has added support for the popular Twitter community to its innovative Kalaida mobile services platform, which can deliver real-time Internet functionality to almost any handset sold today.

Twitter's rapid updates and "micro-blogging" format have made it one of the world's fastest-growing social networks. By concentrating processing in the network, iSkoot's Kalaida platform lets consumer handsets connect to Twitter and other communications tools the way PCs do: all at once and in real time. A single sign-in activates all services to keep the experience simple while preserving handset resources and battery life.

"The Kalaida platform works with today's devices and networks to make even the simplest handsets smarter," said Mark Jacobstein, CEO of iSkoot. "We designed Kalaida to incorporate new services as quickly audiences engage with them, and we're very pleased to now make mobile access even easier for the millions of people who actively use Twitter worldwide

"Twitter is a dynamic and engaged community that's both online and mobile. We're excited to make it easier for all people to participate in the Twitter conversation wherever they go, no matter what type of phone they have," said iSkoot Senior Director of Product Management John Beckmann. "We've started with something simple, but will be adding new features soon and supporting more handsets, including BlackBerry."

Other services enabled on the Kalaida platform include full-time, real-time connection to social networks, personal e-mail, instant messaging, and leading news, sports, and entertainment feeds. Kalaida delivers a full spectrum of Internet services to a single live screen on the handset, eliminating the need for users to open a browser or application to access one service at a time. All services are delivered over available data connections, without requiring 3G or WiFi for optimal performance.

The iSkoot Kalaida platform currently supports more than 20 handsets from leading manufacturers including LG, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, and SonyEricsson, with more to be announced this year.

For more information on Kalaida visit

About iSkoot
San Francisco-based iSkoot, with offices in Cambridge and Israel, brings leading Web services like Skype(TM) to mobile handsets around the world.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Orthopaedic Surgeon Shortage Predicted-Due to Soaring Joint Replacement Procedures

Two studies find patient demand will soon surpass the number of orthopaedic surgeons available

In the near future, there may not be enough orthopaedic surgeons to provide joint replacements to all who need them. According to two new studies presented at the 2009 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), the number of patients requiring hip or knee replacement surgery is likely to soon outpace the number of surgeons who can perform the procedure.

According to a study co-authored by Thomas K. Fehring, M.D., if the number of orthopaedic surgeons able to perform total joint replacements continues at its current rate:

In 2016, 46 percent of needed hip replacements and 72 percent of needed knee replacements will not be able to be completed.

“I was somewhat shocked at the shortfall that we predicted,” says Dr. Fehring, an orthopaedic surgeon at OrthoCarolina Hip and Knee Center in Charlotte. “This is life-changing surgery, offering patients the chance to be mobile, and a very high percentage of patients may not be able to receive it.”

Joint replacement, also known as arthroplasty, is considered by many to be one of the most successful medical innovations of the 20th century. Total joint replacement is a surgical procedure in which the patient’s natural joint is replaced with an artificial one.

More than 700,000 primary total hip and knee replacements are performed each year in the United States, and demand for the surgery is expected to double in the next 10 years.

A second study co-authored by Steven M. Kurtz, Ph.D., found that a major reason for the growth in patient demand for joint replacement is the increase in younger patients.

Projections show that by 2011, more than 50 percent of patients requiring hip replacements will be under the age of 65; the knee-replacement patient population will reach that threshold by 2016.

For primary total knee replacement, the fastest growing group of patients is in the 45-54 age category; the number of procedures performed in this age group is projected to grow from 59,077 in 2006 to 994,104 (an increase of 17 times) by 2030.

“Joint replacement is generally thought of as a procedure for older people, over 65,” says Dr. Kurtz, corporate vice president and office director at Exponent, Inc., in Philadelphia. “Our projections show that younger people make up a big piece of the pie, and that is only going to increase if historical trends continue.”

Both researchers believe that the key to stemming this supply-side crisis is for policymakers to reconsider the rates at which total joint replacements are reimbursed. The reimbursement rates have consistently gone down over the years, even as the costs of providing health care have gone up.

However, Dr. Kurtz notes that the possibility of new technologies may offer a glimmer of hope. “It’s hard to predict what changes will come about in the next 20 years,” he says. “Hopefully, we will have some new tools in the future to help address this problem, which could be of epidemic proportions.”

Disclosure: Dr. Fehring and Dr. Kurtz and their co-authors received no compensation for this study.

Friday, February 20, 2009

National Office of Urban Affairs

Buy the book! Buy the book Eighteen Months and Short Stories, Real Life today!

The U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting held this week in Washington D.C. was highlighted by a meeting with the President and Vice President of the United States on Friday, February 20 inside the White House East Room.

President Obama announced that he signed February 19, an executive order establishing the White House Office of Urban Affairs, where former New York City Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion will head up the agency. The office was created to, ”provide leadership for and coordinate the development of the policy agenda for urban America across executive departments and agencies;
(b) to coordinate all aspects of urban policy;
(c) to work with executive departments and agencies to ensure that appropriate consideration is given by such departments and agencies to the potential impact of their actions on urban areas;
(d) to work with executive departments and agencies, including the Office of Management and Budget, to ensure that Federal Government dollars targeted to urban areas are effectively spent on the highest-impact programs; and
(e) to engage in outreach and work closely with State and local officials, with nonprofit organizations, and with the private sector, both in seeking input regarding the development of a comprehensive urban policy and in ensuring that the implementation of Federal programs advances the objectives of that policy.”

In short, the office will coordinate all federal urban programs. The President said he is getting letters from constituents across the country about the problems they are facing. He acknowledged that mayors cannot deficit spend and that is why the recovery plan will create 3.5 million jobs and aid state and local governments to stem municipal cutbacks. He reiterated that 18 million will get health insurance and seven million taxpayers will receive financial help to get insurance after job loss.

“What makes this recovery plan so important we are putting America to work in what needs done in critical areas…it lays a new foundation,” the President said.

He said 400,000 people will be put to work across the country in infrastructure improvement based jobs. Infrastructure improvements include roads and highways, bridges, high speed rail, early childhood education, modernization of medical records and laying broadband lines

“We’ve done more in 30 days to advance health care reform than has occurred in a decade,” he said. He also said, what is required in returned is unprecedented accountability and responsibility to the taxpayer.

“They expect to see their money spent in its intended purposes without waste or fraud,” President Obama said.
He said this means he will hold both federal and local municipalities responsible for its use.
“We will use the new tools to watch the taxpayers money with more rigor and transparency than ever. If a federal agency proposes something that will waste money I will put them on notice,” President Obama said.

He said the same goes for local municipalities.
“I will call them out on it.” No compromise or shortcuts, he said.
He said the stimulus plan does not mark the end but the beginning of what he plans to do to attack urban challenges.
The President said he thinks about his start into politics when speaking with mayors--community outreach. He said citizens frequently look to local municipalities in times of financial trouble.

Reporters speaking with the mayors during an impromptu news conference on the white house driveway, after the meeting, asked about this accountability.
The mayors collectively said they welcome having their feet being held to the fire because it is what they have been going through everyday anyway. New Orleans mayor, Ray Nagen, said the money the cities will receive will go through the states to be disbursed. He said it took about three years to get hurricane victim monies. He said the legislature of each state can vote whether to take the money or not.

Questions then centered around making sure that the cities could receive the economic stimulus if the money was voted approved by each state and how they would like to see it spent.
After hearing from Democratic mayors, reporters on hand called to hear from Republican mayors.

A Republican mayor from Minnesota said, “one of the things we are now recognizing are the tools being put on the table to put our people back to work. The reinvestment act makes sure people are back to work and infrastructure is repaired and amenities offered, enriching the lives of each city’s citizens.
Another Republican South Carolina mayor said he was against the stimulus package at first but now that the recovery bill is law, he thinks, “we need to put as much of the money in long term projects as possible.”
It was apparent that the mayors who attended the meeting were on board with the President's plans.

Vice-President Joe Biden reminded all in attendance about the web site that could help shed light on how the recovery money is spent.

“Only after one month, laws have been signed to strengthen the American people. The results are clear and ready for the people to see it involves patient outreach," Vice President Joe Biden said, during an introduction of President Barack Obama.
“There is so much more to do,” he said.

Biden spoke of how for years America’s cities have been neglected and the concerns of its mayors unheard.
“We know how important cities are. Seven out of ten jobs are in (our nation’s) cities.” They haven’t been paid much attention to thus far.

He said the recovery package signed into law will provide “unprecedented investment in American cities."
“We have to make this work for our people,“ Biden said.
He acknowledged that taxpayers are trusting the government to spend the money in a way that it was intended. He said taxpayers can go to to see how the money is being spent and make their concerns known.

He asked the mayors to highlight projects that need private investment and growth.
“The world is watching to see how well this will work.” Biden said.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Media Seen as the Primary Cause of the Depth and Length of the Global Recession, According to New Research From Frost & Sullivan

Companies Must Ignore Fear, Make Smart Moves to Emerge Stronger

In a recent survey conducted by Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, 91% of CEOs blame the breadth and depth of the current economic situation on the media.

"The media's manipulation of statistics, negativity, exaggeration, and doomsday forecasts have driven fear and panic among consumers and businesses alike," says David Frigstad, Chairman of Frost & Sullivan.

Economic statistics are often twisted and exaggerated. The fear of total economic collapse is perpetuated in the media to grab attention and sell more copies or attract more viewers or listeners. Because of this, consumers and business have frozen spending, canceled projects, sold investments, and laid off workers. This has caused a downward spiral in demand and pricing that has now caused about 20 trillion dollars of damage globally.

"As the media continues to perpetuate fear, uncertainty and doubt, there is a growing chance that it will result in a self-fulfilling prophecy," adds Frost & Sullivan Economist Sandeep Maheshwari.

What clearly started out with financial mismanagement and fraud on Wall Street has now escalated into a major global recession exacerbated by the media. According to Frost & Sullivan's research, CEOs cite how the media has continued to drive fear through efforts to gain more readers, viewers, and listeners. The ironic turn is that the media is also being victimized by the current recession, with declining audiences and falling ad revenues.

In the responses portion of the study, CEOs made several interesting comments:

-- "Several newspapers have compared the overall job losses to the Great Depression without taking into account the huge increase in U.S. population since that time. These comparisons only generate more fear and are counter-productive."

-- "Economists miss every turn in the economy. Why do we rely on their forecasts today when they are so unreliable? They move like a herd of antelope -- their current forecasts all fit nicely into a pack."

-- "I recently read a headline that said Microsoft will lay off 5,000 workers. At the end of the piece it mentioned it would be over a three year period. Compared to the overall size of Microsoft, this is not newsworthy."

We are now at a turning point. An unprecedented global stimulus plan and guaranteed programs are now in place. More than 8 trillion dollars globally is being pumped into the economy, along with trillions of dollars in guarantees. Retail sales, housing prices, existing home sales, and used car sales are all showing signs of strength. Interest rates are at historical lows and mortgage relief is in sight.

"All of these trends could signal the turning point if we change our outlook. The media, economists, politicians, bankers, and business executives could collectively turn the economy around by working simultaneously to restore confidence back into the system -- in turn, calming the public. It's time for us to give up on the doom and gloom," concludes Frigstad.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

America's Emptiest Cities

Vacancy rates in these spots spell lots of empty neighborhoods.
Call it a modern-day tale of two cities.
For decades, Las Vegas, ripe with new construction and economic development, burgeoned into a shimmering urban carnival. Detroit, once the fulcrum of American industry, sagged and rusted under its own weight.
Blog Pictures |

Saturday, February 14, 2009


...But when a riot breaks out and the prisoners take him hostage, a lifer (played by Nicolas Cage) is forced to help the young man out. xXx director Rob Cohen was originally attached to the project when it was set-up at New Line.

First Look: Nic Cage in Matthew Vaughn's Kick-Ass

September 10, 2008
by Alex Billington

"If I absolutely have to go to jail for a comic-book movie then I accept no substitutes. This is the one. I hereby declare Kick-Ass as the greatest movie of 2009." That's how author Mark Millar starts out his blog on the production of Kick-Ass, the comic book adaptation directed by Matthew Vaughn that's currently shooting in London.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Urotherapy Works?

LA PAZ, Bolivia – A Bolivian woman has died from an injection of urine allegedly administered by her friend as a form of health therapy, a prosecutor said Tuesday. Investigating prosecutor Oscar Flores told The Associated Press that 35-year-old Gabriela Ascarrunz died Saturday of an "infection caused by urine that was injected by fashion designer Monica Schultz."
I cannot imagine how this works but apparently it does. I would like to know why it did not work in this woman's case but it did work in the clothing designer who allegedly gave her the fatal dosage.
I read a little on this topic and saw on Wikipedia that Madonna used it to cure athelet's foot fungus.
Apparently this urotherapy has been around for thousands of years.
Growing up I have heard old wives tales that say wipe your face or the baby's face with infant urine for healthy skin. I saw the end results of this but the person was not using cloth diapers but the modern kind. Maybe that was a factor but the baby's face was rash upon rash. Maybe as time went on it cleared up--I dunno.
Anyone else know about urotherapy?

Urotherapy Works?

LA PAZ, Bolivia – A Bolivian woman has died from an injection of urine allegedly administered by her friend as a form of health therapy, a prosecutor said Tuesday. Investigating prosecutor Oscar Flores told The Associated Press that 35-year-old Gabriela Ascarrunz died Saturday of an "infection caused by urine that was injected by fashion designer Monica Schultz."
I cannot imagine how this works but apparently it does. I would like to know why it did not work in this woman's case but it did work in the clothing designer who allegedly gave her the fatal dosage.
I read a little on this topic and saw on Wikipedia that Madonna used it to cure athelet's foot fungus.
Apparently this urotherapy has been around for thousands of years.
Growing up I have heard old wives tales that say wipe your face or the baby's face with infant urine for healthy skin. I saw the end results of this but the person was not using cloth diapers but the modern kind. Maybe that was a factor but the baby's face was rash upon rash. Maybe as time went on it cleared up--I dunno.
Anyone else know about urotherapy?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Women in the Workforce Link Cosmetic Surgery to Success

Faced with news of increasing layoffs, straining economic times, and a belief that hiring is based on looks, millions of American women are looking at cosmetic medical procedures to give them a competitive edge in the workplace. In a new telephone survey* compiled by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) of 756 women between the ages of 18 and 64, many reveal cosmetic plastic surgery procedures now appear to be an important rung on the success ladder.
-- 13 percent (more than 1 out of 10 of the 115-million working-age
women) say they would consider having a cosmetic medical procedure
specifically to make them more confident and more competitive in the
job market.
-- An astounding 3 percent (nearly 3.5-million working women) say they've
already had a cosmetic procedure to increase their perceived value in
the workplace.
-- 73 percent (almost three out of four or, 84-million working women)
believe, particularly in these challenging economic times, appearance
and youthful looks play a part in getting hired, getting a promotion,
or getting new clients.
-- 80 percent (four out of five or 92-million working women) think having
cosmetic medical procedures can boost a person's confidence.

Insurance Broker Janice Axelrod, a baby-boomer, recently had a chemical peel and fat transfers from her abdomen to her face. "Time has given me the professional knowledge. But time can take away the youthful sparkle of my appearance if I let it. When you look good, you feel confident. That gives me a competitive edge and something my clients have come to expect from me," says Axelrod.

ASPS Member Surgeon Loren Schechter, MD performed Axelrod's cosmetic procedures at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois. He says "Not only do the women believe youthful looks help in the workplace... they're acting on that belief."

John Canady, MD, president of ASPS says, "Consumers need to remember that while cosmetic procedures might help them in the job market, they're still medical procedures." Canady says women still need to proceed with caution. "Patient safety is ASPS' number one concern. Women need to do their homework. Go to the ASPS website at to find an ASPS Member Surgeon in your area."

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons is the largest organization of board-certified plastic surgeons in the world. Representing more than 6,700 physician members, the Society is recognized as a leading authority and information source on cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. ASPS comprises more than 94 percent of all board-certified plastic surgeons in the United States. Founded in 1931, the Society represents physicians certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery or The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Stimulus means jobs in Indiana

Community leaders of Northwest Indiana and Chicago's south suburbs have big ideas for how to stimulate the region's economy in these trying economic times.
Many want to build the Illiana Expressway, extend the South Shore commuter rail line in several directions and undertake multi-million-dollar flood control projects.

The problems we have today started many years ago — This is an archived Chicago Tribune article that is more relevant today that it was last year this time. Its topic? Crippling unemployment, a crumbling city and how blacks are disproportionately affected. Recession and unemployment started a couple of years ago within the black community and is an ongoing issue. Now what? Go tell the GOP.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Don Lemon of CNN is interviewing someone who performs grassroots HIV education and she says 18-24 age group is a growing aids problem in aa community amid the down-low brothers.
Wrap it up please!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Spotlight 29 Casino Laughs It Up With Rita Rudner

March 5 Concert is Benefit for Gilda's Club Desert Cities

"Comedian of the Year" Rita Rudner likes to shop. "I love to shop after a bad relationship. I don't know. I buy a new outfit and it makes me feel better. It just does. Sometimes I see a really great outfit, I'll break up with someone on purpose." Now the top Las Vegas headliner is coming to Spotlight 29 Casino on March 5 for a one-night-only concert benefiting Gilda's Club Desert Cities.
Tickets for Rita Rudner are $125, $75 and $50 and are available now at and at the Spotlight 29 Casino Gift Shop. Tickets are also available at or by calling (800) 585-3737, or at Gilda's Club. Proceeds benefit Gilda's Club Desert Cities.

Rudner began her career as a dancer and appeared in the original Broadway productions of "Follies" and "Mack and Mabel." While appearing in "Annie," she realized there were many more female dancers than there were female comics, and she began to study the New York comedy scene and comic structure of Woody Allen and Jack Benny. Her work resulted in countless television appearances, four books, plays, sell-out concerts all over the world and one of the most in-demand shows on the Las Vegas Strip.

She is married to husband/manager Martin Bergman. Rudner has said, "Before I met my husband, I'd never fallen in love. I'd stepped in it a few times. When I eventually met Mr. Right I had no idea that his first name was Always."

Rudner and Bergman spend their time between their homes in Las Vegas and southern California. "In Hollywood a marriage is a success if it outlasts milk," Rudner has said.

Gilda's Club Desert Cities is part of the national Gilda's Club network. The organization's mission is to provide a place where people with cancer and their families and friends join with others to build social and emotional support as a supplement to medical care. Free of charge and nonprofit, Gilda's Club offers support and networking groups, lectures, workshops and social events in a non-residential, home-like setting. For information or to join Gilda's Club, call (760) 770-5678.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Get Involved in Your Schools
I found this on an e-mail list and feel that it is worth passing along to you who are concerned. This is the best way to get vital news out to the public.
These decisions have been made by the school board. No one likes change, but it is necessary in our district for us to proceed with change and progress.
Many Wirt students, special needs students included, come from the Horace Mann area. Wirt students are not exclusively from the 1st District now.
The themed high schools will launch in the fall of 2009.
At Emerson, the student has one class/school day in their major. The rest of the school day is academic work as usual. Emerson is the only Gary high school which made AYP again this year. Emerson's ISTEP scores are the highest in Gary and are competitve with other schools in NWIN. Much of the arts activity is done after school, again requiring heightened parental and student involvement. The performance aspect of Emerson alone is community outreach. The auditorium at Wirt is beautiful, and it will be fully utilized by Emerson. Emerson hasn't had a place of its own in which to perform for years.
West Side will be taking on middle school students as will each of the four themed schools. (Emerson is already 6-12 because of its charter. It's ready-made for this configuration and is ready and anxious to expand.) This all is happening this fall.
The 1st District is not sacrificing its school. Emerson has always been a 1st District school. As it has been for years now, all the Gary high schools have been schools of choice. The kids are bussed all over the city. I have some of the same students I taught at Wirt now at West Side. At least now the movement will make some sense.

Subject: get involved in your schools

First District parents are being told that a student does not have to be a prodigy to attend Emerson. That may be true, but when I went to the Indiana Department of Education website, I did not find any teacher for students with special needs at Emerson.

Not counting Learning Disabled and those with Emotional Disabilities, there are 296 special needs students at Wirt. Where will the special needs students from the 1st District go?

Another concern is where will the students who have no desire to major in the arts go? There is not going to be a new themed schools until 2010 at the earliest, if ever.

I do agree with Nora that it takes parental and community involvement for any school to succeed. I also believe that if this community puts as much effort into making its local schools work as it does for other issues, any school in the 1st District will be successful.

Here are a few more questions:
Will the education of the children in the 1st District be advanced when the majority of them are transferred to Roosevelt, Lew Wallace or West Side? Will the majority of children in the 1st District have the same opportunity to succeed as the students at Banneker and Emerson? Should the board wait until all the schools are themed schools before closing Wirt? Why is the board asking the 1st District to sacrifice its school when West Side is a larger facility and has a state of the art auditorium? Should the school district be subsidizing the Gary Theater Guild with our taxes? Should the students have to compete with the theater guild for West Side High School's auditorium? Should the board be spending money on reconfiguring the high schools or fixing leaky roofs?

Ask questions. Get involved. Here is the link to the school board committee meetings.

Check out this link to see the number of students at Emerson and the cost per pupil:
You will have to scroll down to the bottom of this page to find this information,

Then check out this link to see class sizes and courses offered at Emerson:

Now click on this link to see the number of students and cost per student for Wirt High School.
Again, you will have to go to the bottom of the page to find this information.

Then check out this link for class sizes and courses offered.
There are 14 special needs teachers at Wirt.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Pet Dental Claims Skyrocket

Pet advocates are encouraging pet owners to focus on their dog's or cat's oral health during National Pet Dental Health Month this February. And it appears more Americans are paying attention, as national pet insurance provider PetFirst Healthcare saw claims for illnesses related to oral-health increase 179 percent during the past year.

"Many pet owners don't place as much emphasis on dental health as compared to other aspects of their pet's wellbeing," said Brent Hinton, CEO of PetFirst. "It's just as important, though, because oral disease can lead to serious health problems for both dogs and cats."

According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats show signs of oral disease by age 3.

Without proper care, plaque and tartar build-up can lead to periodontal disease, which affects the tissues and structures supporting the teeth. Left untreated, it can cause oral pain, dysfunction, tooth loss and complications with the heart, liver and kidneys.

"Pets cannot speak up to tell their caregiver they are experiencing discomfort, so pet owners should pay extra attention to warning signs of dental issues," Hinton said.

Symptoms of periodontal disease include yellow and brown tartar build up along the gum line, inflamed gums and persistent bad breath. PetFirst saw the most significant increase in claims related to periodontal disease, which increased 200 percent last year.

Common indications of oral disease for pets include bad breath, a change in eating habits, pawing at the mouth and depression.

Hinton said the best preventative plan is to schedule regular teeth cleanings for pets and for pet owners to work with veterinarians to establish a dental-care regimen at home.

Some pet insurance policies reimburse pet owners for costs related to preventative care. Mirroring the rise in claims related to oral disease, the amount PetFirst reimbursed for preventative oral care, increased 132 percent in the past year.

Friday, January 30, 2009 Heads Back to the Big Game With 'Confidence', the leading online destination for car shoppers, will debut an all-new advertisement on Super Bowl XLIII, "Lifetime of Confidence." The 60-second spot, which will air in the second quarter, illustrates how helps shoppers prepare to head to the dealership and buy a car.

The ad builds on's "Car Shopping Confidence" campaign that kicked off last year with two ads on Super Bowl XLII. The commercial uses the epic life story of fictitious character David Abernathy to illustrate how even the most confident people need a little extra help when it comes to car shopping.

From shaking his doctor's hand upon birth and successfully negotiating a later bedtime at age 3, to saving the class pets from his burning school and performing surgery at an opera house, the narrative spot takes viewers through various events in David's lifetime of confidence. Yet even David is intimidated when it comes time to buy a car. David's preparations on build his confidence so he can get the perfect car at the perfect price. The ad closes with's tagline, "Confidence Comes Standard."

"We wanted to showcase our confidence message in a big way during the big game," said Mitch Golub, president of "Consumer confidence in car shopping has never been more important, and it speaks to what delivers. We are seeing the largest increase in internet shoppers in more than a decade, a clear sign of the times. As consumers are faced with more automotive options and economic uncertainty, they want to be sure they are making the right purchase decision, and they are coming online to do their homework.

The Super Bowl gives us the biggest stage in advertising to remind consumers that delivers confidence by providing tools, credible information and advice that fuel smart new- and used-car purchase decisions."

"'Lifetime of Confidence' is a great extension of our 'Confidence' campaign," said Carolyn Crafts,'s vice president of marketing.

,"Car shopping can be an intimidating process, even for the most knowledgeable and confident people. We're showing that everyone needs to come to to prepare for the buying process," she said.

DDB Chicago,'s agency of record, created the spot specifically in response to's desire to make confidence the core focus of its Super Bowl presence.

"To best deliver the confidence message in the Super Bowl environment, we chose to produce a cinematic 60-second spot that would be larger than life. It tells a great story that gives viewers a little escape," said Mark Gross, creative director at DDB Chicago.

Following the Super Bowl, will surround consumers with its confidence message on air, in print and online, promoting the site's credible and easy-to-understand research tools and advice. Online ads will run after the big game on top sites such as Yahoo!,, and YouTube. "Lifetime of Confidence" will run on leading cable networks, including ESPN, where will continue its sponsorship of ESPN's "Saturday Afternoon College Football" and "NASCAR Now."

The campaign will also get additional weight from's local affiliate network, including leading newspapers and television stations such as The Washington Post, Dallas Morning News, Arizona Republic, Los Angeles Times, KHOU Houston, and The Miami Herald, who will back the campaign locally in print and online.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Jiffy Lube Seeks to Raise $1.5 Million for American Heart Association's Go Red For Women Movement

Jiffy Lube this week announces the launch of the second year of its nationwide campaign to support the American Heart Association's Go Red For Women movement.

Starting January 28, more than 85 percent of Jiffy Lube locations across the U.S. will participate in the Jiffy Lube Maintenance Partners for Life campaign, which emphasizes the importance of maintaining a healthy heart and a healthy vehicle. Jiffy Lube seeks to raise $1.5 million to help fight heart disease, which would exceed last year's total of $1,034,757. One hundred percent of the funds will benefit Go Red For Women initiatives.

Nearly 2,400 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each day -- an average of one death every 37 seconds. In fact, heart disease is the nation's number one killer of women and men. Despite more women dying of heart disease than the next five causes of death combined, only 21 percent of women view heart disease as their greatest health threat.

"We're very excited to continue our partnership with the American Heart Association's Go Red For Women movement, which has made such a positive impact in the fight against heart disease," said Rick Altizer, president of Jiffy Lube International.

"We were so blown away by the positive response and overwhelming support from our system and customers alike. We look forward to a long and rewarding relationship with the AHA."

Between January 28 and March 16, customers at participating service centers can support this cause with a donation of $3. In return, donors will receive a Jiffy Lube Maintenance Partners for Life savings book containing heart-healthy recipes, as well as $100 in savings from Jiffy Lube, Perfumania and Yankee Candle. Funds will be donated to local American Heart Association chapters in the communities in which they are raised.

In addition, for each Jiffy Lube Gift Card purchased during the campaign, both online or at participating service centers, Jiffy Lube will donate $1 to Go Red For Women.

Jiffy Lube Maintenance Partners for Life leverages the strong parallels between properly maintaining both heart health and vehicle health, and educates people on smart preventive maintenance of their bodies and vehicles.

Maintaining a healthy heart and healthy vehicle is a matter of choice; the right choices can turn into life-saving actions. Regular visits to the doctor, along with a proper diet and exercise regime help keep both the body and heart healthy. Likewise, following the vehicle manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedule can help keep a vehicle running properly. Simple choices can provide long-term benefits; to learn about choices that can benefit your heart health, visit

"Jiffy Lube has demonstrated extraordinary dedication to the fight against heart disease," said David Josserand, American Heart Association Board Chairman.

"Its Maintenance Partners for Life campaign touches many lives by raising awareness and much-needed funds across the nation. We're extremely grateful for the contributions Jiffy Lube has made to this cause and we look forward to working collectively to reach our Go Red For Women goals," he said.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Steve Harvey to Sign Copies of 'Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man' at Borders in Largo Jan. 30

Actor, Radio personality and commedian, Steve Harvey began doing stand-up comedy in the mid-1980s. His success as a stand-up comedian led to a WB network show, "The Steve Harvey Show," which ran from 1996 to 2002.

It was a huge hit and won multiple NAACP Image Awards. In 1997, Harvey continued his work in stand-up comedy, touring as one of the "Kings of Comedy," along with Cedric the Entertainer, D.L. Hughley and Bernie Mac. The comedy team would later be reunited in a film by Spike Lee called "The Original Kings of Comedy." Steve Harvey is now widely known as the host of the nationally syndicated "Steve Harvey Morning Show," which has more than seven million listeners.

Harvey will sign his latest book, "Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy, and Commitment." on Friday, Jan. 30 at 7 p.m., Borders 931 Capital Centre Blvd. Largo, MD 20774. Please call (301) 499-2173 for details.

Steve Harvey, the host of the nationally syndicated "Steve Harvey Morning Show," can't count the number of impressive women he's met over the years, whether it's through the "Strawberry Letters" segment of his program or while on tour for his comedy shows. These are women who can run a small business, keep a household with three kids in tip-top shape and chair a church group all at the same time. Yet when it comes to relationships, they can't figure out what makes men tick. Why? According to Steve it's because they're asking other women for advice when no one but another man can tell them how to find and keep a man.

In "Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man," Steve lets women inside the mindset of a man and sheds light on concepts and questions such as:

-- The Ninety Day Rule: Ford requires it of its employees. Should you require it of your man?

-- How to spot a mama's boy and what if anything you can do about it.

-- When to introduce the kids. And what to read into the first interaction between your date and your kids.

-- The five questions every woman should ask a man to determine how serious he is.

Sometimes funny, sometimes direct, but always truthful, "Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man" is a book you must read if you want to understand how men think when it comes to relationships.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

"We Have Not Turned the Corner. In Fact, We Can't Even See the Corner Right Now."

In an essay opening the February 2 Newsweek cover package, "I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)" (on newsstands Monday, January 26), Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria writes that President Barack Obama will have to quickly start planning for a set of more extraordinary measures to pull the United States out of its current, unsustainable economic condition.

"The American financial system is effectively broken. Major banks are moving toward insolvency, and credit activity remains extremely weak. As long as the financial sector remains moribund, American consumers and companies -- who collectively make up 80 percent of GDP -- will not have access to credit, and economic activity cannot really resume on any significant scale. We have not turned the corner. In fact, we can't even see the corner right now," he writes.

"President Obama faces a terrible dilemma. He needs to act quickly and on a massive scale," Zakaria writes.

Without large scale action, the financial system will keep bleeding, but the American public believes that we have already spent far too much on bailing out the banks.

Zakaria argues that the economic fact is that we have not spent enough.

"This current crisis has resulted in a deep erosion of American power that we have not fully understood. Even in the depths of the Iraq War, when much of the globe was enraged by George W. Bush's unilateralism, people everywhere believed that the United States had the world's most advanced economy and that its capital markets in particular were the most sophisticated and developed," he said.

That system is now seen across the world as a sham, and the attitudes of officials and businessmen range from shock to rage at what they see in the United States.

"When he began his run for the White House, Barack Obama thought he could restore American power and leadership by righting our foreign policy, winding down the Iraq War, closing Guantanamo, ending torture. These are all important policies, and I am glad that he is pursuing them. But right now, the most important way for him to restore America's credibility and influence in the world is to rescue the American model," Zakaria writes.

Also in the cover package, Senior Editor Daniel Gross writes how more and more companies and firms are deciding to forgo the work of restructuring their finances, and instead selling off their inventory and closing.

"Rather than soldier on, many operators have opted to simply fold, returning money to investors. Companies, homeowners and money managers willing to quit rather than fight is both a symptom of the nation's deep economic woes and emblematic of the challenge the Obama administration faces," Gross writes. "Our 'Yes, We Can' president is going to have to fix a 'No, We Can't' economy," Gross said.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Steinway Installs World's Largest Solar Cooling System

With more than 11 acres of factory operations housed in a cluster of century-old buildings in Queens, Steinway & Sons is keenly aware of the need for energy-saving technology to power its piano manufacturing processes. That's one reason the 156-year-old company has installed the largest solar-powered rooftop system in the world to provide cool air to dehumidify the factory and protect the precision pianos inside.

The $875,000 solar system is partly funded through a grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, and through federal tax credits. It will function as a beta site for the tri-state area.

"It's critical that we find energy-efficient ways to dehumidify our plant, and the solar panels are the answer," said Bill Rigos, Facilities Manager at the Steinway & Sons factory in Queens.

The system, which will be completed in late spring, pumps solar-heated water into an 80-ton double-effect absorption chiller that serves as a heat exchanger. The chiller removes the superheated water and leaves cool air for dehumidifying. Lower humidity in the factory provides a more stable environment, with no moisture to threaten the precision construction of the famed Steinway pianos. In winter, the system will convert water to steam to heat the factory.

"Steinway has always been an innovative and progressive company; it's part of the company's culture," said Andrew Horbachevsky, Steinway's Vice President of Manufacturing.

"This begins with a bold vision. Our objective is to continue to challenge the status quo, whether in piano performance and quality, product offerings or factory operational efficiency. Using renewable energy sources reflects this same sensibility."

Steinway has found that a desire to cut energy costs leads naturally to green alternatives, and the solar panels are a huge example.

"We look at green initiatives as a way to recapture resources," said Todd Sanders, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Steinway.

"We're not doing it to be flashy. We're doing it because it makes good business sense and helps to maintain the excellence of our products."

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Walmart Offers $9 Smoking Cessation Starter Pack

To help motivated consumers quit smoking and to further its Operation Main Street efforts to save customers money on prescription medications, Walmart today announced that it has expanded its affordable pharmacy program to include a smoking cessation prescription starter pack for $9, the lowest price on the market.*

The $9 starter pack of bupropion ER 150mg, the generic equivalent of Zyban, is now available at Walmart, Neighborhood Market and Sam's Club pharmacies in a 17-tablet, 10-day supply. This announcement is part of the retailer's January Healthy Living initiative, which aims to help Americans maintain their better eating, smoking cessation and exercise pledges in 2009.

"Times are tight right now, and Walmart is committed to helping our customers maintain their healthy lifestyles in both good economic times and bad," said Dr. John Agwunobi, Walmart senior vice president and president, health and wellness.

"With our affordable smoking cessation offerings, we're hopeful that smokers who are committed to quitting will be able to get the tools they need to stop smoking and still be able to afford everyday household items so they can live better," he said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 43 million Americans currently smoke, with 70 percent of them saying they want to stop. However - given today's current economic landscape - money previously set aside for smoking cessation products may now be re-allocated toward items American families need most.

Smoking cessation medication for $9 at Walmart may help reverse this trend as the bupropion ER starter pack - initiated at the request of both health care professionals and customers - is low-priced and affordable for consumers who want to quit.

"The public health community has long recognized that the cost of either cigarettes or smoking cessation medications has served as a determining factor for smokers to continue smoking or finally to decide to quit," said Cheryl G. Healton, Dr. P.H., President and CEO of the American Legacy Foundation.

"This move by Walmart to provide science-based smoking cessation therapies that smokers can more easily afford is a huge step forward in helping millions of smokers finally quit for good. We applaud Walmart and hope other retailers will follow their example. It can only result in longer, healthier lives."

According to the CDC, smoking cessation treatments, including counseling and medications, can double quitting success rates. In addition to the bupropion ER starter pack, Walmart also currently offers the following over-the-counter and prescription products for consumers and physicians to consider for continued success toward a smoke-free lifestyle:

-- Nicorette Coated Gum 120-count bonus pack, assorted flavors ($39.84)
-- NicoDerm Step 1 21-count bonus pack patches or Step 2 14-count patches
-- Commit Lozenges 96-count bonus pack, assorted flavors ($34.84)
-- Equate-Brand Nicotine Gum, Patches, and Lozenges
-- 60-tablet, 30-day supply of bupropion ER 150mg ($27)

"Quitting smoking is tough, but we know that when smokers have the resources available to help, their rates of success are higher," said Terry Music, chief mission officer, American Cancer Society.

"In addition to accessing smoking cessation medications, smokers wanting to quit should make a quit plan to further increase their chance of success. By calling the American Cancer Society Quitline(R) at 1-800-227-2345, smokers can talk with a trained counselor who can explain how best to use the cessation treatments and provide other tips and tools to help in a successful quit attempt."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Frank N. Darras Recognized as a Southern California Best Lawyer

Frank N. Darras, the nation's leading disability and long-term care insurance lawyer has been recognized for the fifth time in a row, as one of the 'Best Lawyers in America'.

Best Lawyers is the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession, listing exceptional attorneys who were nominated and voted for by their peers. Darras is one of the outstanding lawyers who has earned recognition through exemplary legal work that has been acknowledged by his colleagues.

For over 20 years, Darras has taken on insurance industry giants on behalf of the disabled and the elderly. In 2008, he was singled out to provide expert counsel and commentary about Senior Life Settlements, Long-Term Care, the Conseco Trust and disability insurance. He was even asked by members of the U.S. Congress for his expertise and insight on insurance matters.

Frank Darras has nurtured and grown his disability and long-term care insurance practice into the largest in America, reviewing over 3000 new cases a month. He personally reaches out to the disabled, empowers them, restores their hope and gets them the benefits they richly deserve.

The inclusion in Best Lawyers is a particular honor because the standard to be included is so rigorous. More than 18,500 leading attorneys throughout the United States cast more than a million votes on the legal abilities of their colleagues. Best Lawyers requires no fee or purchase for those honored to be listed. Best Lawyers in America has earned the respect of the legal profession, media, and clients as the most reliable, unbiased source of legal referrals anywhere.

Darras is often quoted, widely published and a frequent keynote speaker.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Simmons Jewelry Co. and Nickelodeon/Viacom Consumer Products Partner on Co-Branded SpongeBob SquarePants Line

Nickelodeon Celebrates SpongeBob SquarePants' 10th Anniversary Year with the Creation of 12-Carat Total Weight, Diamond-Encrusted SpongeBob Pendant to be Auctioned Off for Charity curtesey of the
Simmons Jewelry Co. and Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products.

The fine-jewelry and watch line -all inspired by the pop-culture phenomenon SpongeBob SquarePants, which is now celebrating its landmark 10th anniversary year.

Led by the creation of an exclusive, 12-carat total weight diamond-encrusted SpongeBob pendant to be auctioned off for charity, the entire retail collection will feature a variety of fashionable, distinctive and avant-garde designs utilizing materials such as enamel, gold, silver, and diamonds under the design direction of 2009 GEM Award recipient for Jewelry Style, Russell Simmons.

The diamond encrusted SpongeBob by Simmons Jewelry Co. pendant containing a total of 12 carats of white diamonds as well as color enhanced yellow, red and blue diamonds set in 18KT yellow and white gold--will make its debut display in Park City, Utah, during the 2009 Film Festival and will be auctioned off at a later date with proceeds benefiting the Diamond Empowerment Fund (D.E.F.). This pendant will be displayed in a one of a kind, custom made abstract box.

"We are always looking for innovative ideas to develop fine jewelry and the Nickelodeon partnership to license SpongeBob is the perfect addition to the Simmons Jewelry Co. family," said Russell Simmons, who will be on-hand to announce the partnership in Park City.

Marking the first luxury brand jewelry partner for SpongeBob SquarePants, the collection will be available for both men and women. Available at fine jewelry and specialty retailers in fall 2009, the products will retail from $150 to $75,000.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

One in Four Dogs Die of CancerCancer is the Number One Cause of Death in Dogs Over 2

Dog owners and lovers in the United States view canine cancer as the greatest health threat to their beloved pets. They are correct. One in four dogs die of cancer.

Cancer is the number one cause of death in dogs over the age of 2. Morris Animal Foundation (MAF) has posted on its Web site,, a canine cancer exclusive of special interest to dog owners and dog lovers everywhere. The MAF canine cancer Web exclusive features information and insight from two of the world's leading colleges of veterinary medicine and canine cancer research centers, Colorado State University and Cornell University.

View the presentation at: The MAF exclusive includes a question and answer session conducted by three veterinary oncologists from the Colorado State University Animal Cancer Center - the largest facility of its kind in the world. Questions have been submitted from owners whose dogs are suffering from cancer, animal lovers, as well as dog breeders, boarding kennel managers and others.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Obama 'Collector's Vault' Is a Scrapbook of the 44th President's Life and Campaign

Whitman Publishing, LLC, has released a hands-on "Collector's Vault" honoring Barack Obama's life and historic presidential campaign. The 144-page coffee table book is a combination history, scrapbook, and photo album, packed with souvenir replicas such as buttons, posters, campaign staff passes, and tickets.

The Obama Collector's Vault debuts nationwide at Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Costco, Sam's Club, Wal-Mart and other book outlets Tuesday, January 13. It is also available at, or by calling 1-800-546-2995.

Written by political veteran Avery Krut, the $49.95 book covers every aspect of Barack Obama's life and historic campaign for the Presidency, combining elements of scrapbook, photo album and souvenir treasure trove.

Among the Vault's colorful pages are more than 50 separate pieces of Obama memorabilia, including reproductions of his birth certificate, high school yearbook photographs, family snapshots and historic speeches-plus collectible postcards, bumper stickers and campaign posters.

All of the personalities are here in Krut's dramatic narrative: Hillary and Bill Clinton, John McCain and Sarah Palin, Joe Biden and Joe the Plumber. But, in the end, the Obama Collector's Vault is the story of one remarkable American and his family.

Readers for generations to come can relive the heady days of the Obama '08 Campaign from hopeful beginnings to its landmark conclusion. They can also revisit the stirring words of Barack Obama's most important speeches, including the electrifying 2004 Convention Keynote and "American Promise," the 2008 Acceptance Speech that moved tens of thousands in Denver's Mile High Stadium.

Historic photographs will take you from Barack's first tricycle to the triumphant night in Chicago's Grant Park when he became the President-Elect-- from the shy young man in Hawaii to the confident leader about to assume his rightful place on the chart of all 44 American Presidents that concludes this historic keepsake.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Windows Embedded POSReady 2009

Today, at the National Retail Federation Annual Convention & Expo, Microsoft Corp. announced the availability of the latest offering from its Windows Embedded Ready product line for key device categories, Windows Embedded POSReady 2009, the next generation of Windows Embedded for Point of Service (POS).

Windows Embedded POSReady 2009 is Microsoft's embedded operating system optimized for OEMs building POS solutions and enterprises using POS devices. This next-generation POS platform is a flexible operating system designed to seamlessly connect POS solutions with peripherals, servers and services.

The following quotes are from just some of the companies currently working with Windows Embedded for Point of Service that will be working with Windows Embedded POSReady 2009 to bring diverse connected device solutions to market.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Celebrate January: National Hot Tea Month! International Tea Expert Spins Stories of Adventure in New Book

What happens when a young man growing up in Africa heads off to England to "find himself" -- only to land in the finest of tea houses receiving classical training as a tea taster?

Award-winning author Barry W. Cooper shares with us his path to becoming the "Indiana Jones of Tea" in Silver Spoons, Mad Baboons, and Other Tales of Tea (240 pp., $24.95, ISBN 0977739716). Cooper won a 2008 IPPY Independent Publishing Award for this mix of adventure and tea education.

Joe Simrany, President of the Tea Association of the USA, says, "Barry Cooper's name has become synonymous with tea. A larger-than-life figure, Barry has helped shape the tea industry as we know it today and will surely become part of the folklore remembered for generations to come. Filled with insight and adventure, this memoir reads like a page-turning novel and will be enjoyed by anyone with even a passing interest in tea."

The stories in Silver Spoons cover a range of territory, from the early "Safari Encounters" years in Africa to Cooper's encounters in hostile territories when searching for the perfect herbs and teas in "Guns and Golf" and "Flight Out of a War Zone."

A young man's initial training in the formal world of tea is detailed in "Lipton Training," insights gleaned from his time spent at Boulder's Celestial Seasonings are revealed, and his subsequent decision to leave and build his own Colorado tea company are chronicled as well. Mixed into the storytelling the Tea Master also shares his expertise on teas from all major countries of origin: India, China, Formosa, Ceylon, Japan and Kenya.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Russell Simmons, Founder of Simmons Jewelry Co., Presented the 2009 GEM Award for Style

In honor of his exceptional contributions to the fine jewelry industry, Russell Simmons received the coveted Award for Style from the Jewelry Information Center at Friday evening's GEM Awards in Manhattan.

The hip-hop pioneer, entrepreneur, and humanitarian was awarded this prize in recognition of both his innovative jewelry design along with his philanthropic efforts through Simmons Jewelry Co. LL Cool J was tapped to introduce and pay tribute to Russell, his longtime friend and mentor.

The 2009 awards drew hoards of industry leaders and professionals to recognize companies and individuals whose work promotes the visibility and status of fine jewelry and watches to consumers.

The JIC, the consummate authority on these products, specifically praised Russell for his Simmons Jewelry Co. collections that effortlessly fuse urban concepts with chic, of-the-moment design elements. LL Cool J emphasized Russell's connection to numerous charitable endeavors worldwide. Stemming from his passion for both the jewelry industry and the development of underprivileged communities, Russell founded the Diamond Empowerment Fund (DEF) in 2007. Funds from Simmons Jewelry Co.'s "Green Bracelet" provide crucial support for this educational initiative in Africa.

With Russell at the helm, the sophistication of the Simmons Jewelry Co. collections has drawn a new consumer to the jewelry industry -- a consumer receptive and enthusiastic to his modern take on traditional jewelry. The embrace of Russell's unique design will surely perpetuate the jewelry industry's relevance for generations.

Simmons has been instrumental in brining the powerful influence of hip-hop culture to every facet of business and media. His groundbreaking vision has touched music, fashion, finance, television and film, as well as the face of modern philanthropy.

Simmons' company is quickly emerging as an industry leader and design innovator in all jewelry categories. Simmons Jewelry Co. can be found in premier jewelers and fine department stores including Zales, Gordon's Jewelers, Kay Jewelers, Jared the Galleria of Jewelry, Neiman Marcus and Macy's East Department Stores. For more information about Simmons Jewelry Co. and retail locations visit

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Physician Associates, LLC Selects Allscripts Electronic Health Record to Connect and Automate 80 Physicians

Allscripts announced today that Physician Associates LLC, one of the largest multi-specialty group practices in the Southeast United States, has selected the Allscripts Enterprise(TM) Electronic Health Record (EHR) to automate and connect their 80 physicians in 18 offices across Central Florida.

"Physician Associates is committed to making healthcare more efficient and effective for our patients, and the implementation of Allscripts is a major step in that direction," said Chris Jordan, Chief Information Officer of Physician Associates.

"With the Electronic Health Record, our patients can expect quicker, more seamless care as well as improvements in our ability to track and improve the quality of care we deliver."

The Allscripts Enterprise Electronic Health Record will replace paper recordkeeping for Physician Associates by automating everyday clinical tasks such as prescribing medications, ordering and viewing laboratory tests, and documenting patient care. The solution also will connect the group's physicians and other caregivers to each other, to laboratories, pharmacies, insurers and other key healthcare stakeholders, while delivering secure, immediate access to patient information at the point of care - whether in the office, at the hospital or remotely.

Physician Associates has used Allscripts Vision(R) (formerly Misys Vision(R)) practice management solution for more than 10 years with great success and wanted an Electronic Health Record that would integrate seamlessly with the administrative billing and scheduling system.

The group had begun to evaluate the Allscripts Enterprise Electronic Health Record when the merger of Allscripts and Misys Healthcare was announced last March. The merger made the decision to select Allscripts a "no brainer," said Jordan, though not only because of the seamless integration with their practice management system.

"Our physicians, who were generally not happy about giving up their paper charts, were amazed at how quickly and easily they could navigate through the chart in the Allscripts system to find the information they needed," said Jordan.

"For me, a big selling factor was that Allscripts is a Microsoft .NET product, because it's much easier for us to administer and it allows the vendor to make changes to the software faster and more easily."

Allscripts Chief Executive Officer Glen Tullman said the selection of Allscripts by Physician Associates is the latest proof that physician groups who use legacy Misys practice management solutions naturally turn to Allscripts when they go looking for an electronic health record.

"One big reason, in addition to our integration with their existing PM system, is that they know Allscripts has the resources and the commitment to continue to innovate and upgrade our solutions so physicians can do what they most want to do - practice the safest, most effective medicine possible," he said.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Charitable giving lasts a lifetime

As part of its 2008 Charitable Giving program, which focuses on 'Doing Well by Doing Good', PR Newswire employees voted on charities located in each area where the company has substantial operations. As a part of the program, employees volunteer their time to the organization as a group and the company makes cash donation. The Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland and the Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity were among the charities selected by PR Newswire's Cleveland office, and have already benefited from PR Newswire's volunteers and resources.

"The Ronald McDonald House relies on devoted volunteers to provide a supportive home and other resources for children who need special medical attention and their families," said Mary Jo Pecek, family services assistant, Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland. "PR Newswire's local staff has graciously given their time by lending a helping hand at events for the families staying at our facilities."

To date, PR Newswire employees assisted the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland by hosting a dinner for the families of sick children being treated at local Cleveland hospitals. At the event, PR Newswire volunteers barbequed food and interacted with the families. In the Cleveland office of PR Newswire, employees continue to help the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland by collecting soda can tabs to help them fundraise. Additionally, to further serve the 37 families staying at the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland on any given night, PR Newswire employees post and collect items from the children's wish lists, which keep the house stocked with essential items.

The Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland isn't the only organization benefiting from the good will of PR Newswire employees. Thus far, PR Newswire employees have participated in two "Build Days" with the Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity. In the next few weeks, there are several days planned where PR Newswire volunteers will assist the Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity on site, laying gravel and helping with handy work.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Sport & Fitness Ranks as Top-Growing Online Category for the Season

ComScore, a leader in measuring the digital world, this week released online spending data by category for the online holiday shopping season, which showed that trends in online spending outperformed offline in several key product categories. The study compared comScore e-commerce data to overall consumer spending data published by MasterCard Advisors' SpendingPulse Unit for the period of Nov. 1 -- Dec. 24 vs. year ago.
SpendingPulse is an information service provided by MasterCard Advisors, a subsidiary of MasterCard Worldwide. A macro-economic indicator, SpendingPulse reports on national retail and service sales and is based on aggregate sales activity in the MasterCard payments network, coupled with estimates for all other payment forms, including cash and check.
According to comScore, the top growing online product category for the season was Sport & Fitness, which grew 18 percent versus year ago.
The category continues to benefit from consumers' focus on health and fitness and consumers feeling more comfortable purchasing higher-priced fitness equipment, such as treadmills and elliptical machines, online.
The second fastest-growing category was Video Games, Consoles & Accessories, which grew 14 percent on continued demand for popular consoles, such as the Nintendo Wii, Microsoft Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Apparel & Accessories, the only other product category with positive online growth, generated higher sales as a result of retailers' aggressive discounting and promotions, and helped by unfavorable weather across much of the country.

Top Online Product Categories for 2008 Holiday Season
Online Non-Travel Spending
Excludes Auctions and Large Corporate Purchases
Dec. 1-24, 2008 vs. Nov. 26 -- Dec. 19, 2007
Total U.S. -- Home/Work/University Locations
Source: comScore, Inc.

Product Category Y/Y Percent Change
Sport & Fitness 18%
Video Games, Consoles & Accessories 14%
Apparel & Accessories 4%
Books & Magazines -1%
Consumer Electronics -5%
Flowers, Greetings & Gifts -7%
Toys -7%
Computer Hardware -8%
Home, Garden & Furniture -14%
Event Tickets -18%
Jewelry & Watches -24%
Computer Software (Excl. PC Games) -24%
Office Supplies -30%
Music, Movies & Videos -32%

A comparison to the MasterCard Advisors' data revealed that the online trends in several product categories outperformed overall consumer spending in those categories, including:

-- Sales of Apparel & Accessories up 4 percent online, compared to a 19-21
percent decline in overall sales of the category.
-- Consumer Electronics declined 5 percent online and Home, Garden and
Furniture declined 14 percent online. This compares to a 26-percent
decline in overall sales of Electronics/ Appliances.
-- Jewelry & Watches declined 24 percent online, compared to a 34-percent
decline in overall sales of Luxury Goods (including Jewelry & Watches).
Wealthiest Households Spent More Online this Holiday Season

comScore also analyzed non-travel e-commerce spending by household income segment for the holiday shopping season, revealing that growth in online spending only occurred (up 7 percent) within households making at least $100,000 in annual income, while lower income segments logged significant declines in spending.
Those households earning less than $50,000 per year appear to be the most affected by the current economic environment, with their online spending declining by 13 percent versus year ago.