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Does Travel + TSA = Traveling Trauma?

November 22, 2010 Featured News, Travel No Comments
Airport Security Body Scan

Airport Security Body Scan Machine

Immediately prior to one of the heaviest travel days of the year, there are a multitude of people crying ‘Foul’ on the increased Travel Security Administration security (TSA) measures.  The overall response has said the ‘enhanced pat-downs’ simply go too far.  In cities all across the country, we are seeing stories of distress and claims of near trauma.

While the public outcries are loud and internet videos are plentiful, the TSA has said that it has no intention of changing the invasive pat-downs. In fact, they declare this should have been happening already to protect our country.  It is not what most airline passengers want to hear, going by the polls.

In an effort to drive their discontent home, there has been talk brewing of a ‘National Opt Out’ day that could cause extremely long delays at some airports.  If a passenger Opts Out of a body scan is when the more enhanced pat-down will occur.  This boycott possibility has not only travelers on edge, but the TSA employees who will be working as well as other airport security.

The Transportation Security Administration says there currently are 385 full-body scanners now in use at 68 airports U.S. airports.  John Pistole, TSA Chief, says they intend to have all hands on deck this week.  He expresses concern over the discussion of a body scan boycott, citing the delays it will cause other passengers simply trying to reach their destinations.  His recommendation?  Arrive early and plan on more time before your flight.

While the guidelines won’t change, the TSA has made an adjustment that exempts working pilots from the body scans.  There is also ongoing discussion regarding extending the same type of exemption to some government officials, due to the fact they have already been vetted for higher security clearance through certain government agencies.

GM’s IPO is hot, and China’s Automaker, SAIC, wants a piece of the action

November 12, 2010 Business, Featured News No Comments
GM Headquarter

GM Headquarter

SAIC Motor Corp, China’s largest automaker, is a joint-venture partner with General Motors in China. The Chinese company wants a 1% stake in GM share and is willing to pay between $500 Million to $ 1 Billion for the GM’s IPO shares. GM is planning to sell 365 million shares in an IPO offer at a price of between $26 and $29.

Before the official Thursday’s IPO sales, there are already six times more shares in demand than are offered by GM. Due to the strong demand for the IPO shares, GM is expected to raise its price to above $30.

Sovereign Wealth Funds from Mideast and Asia are other foreign investors who want stakes in GM. They are planning to buy more than $1 billion worth of shares.

Unfortunately, strong demand from foreign investors is good for GM, however, many US investors got shut out from the IPO. Especially for those smaller investors who are customers with discount brokers. Some complaints were heard, considering the U.S. taxpayers were the ones that rescued GM from bankruptcy last year.

With this IPO, U.S. government ownership in GM Shares will drop from 61% to 43%. GM is planning to give back $10 billion from this IPO.

The strong demand for the IPO is partly because of the news about GM had a strong 3rd Quarter earnings of $2 billion in profit, and its revenue was up 34.5% from last year. GM announced that their expected pre-tax profit to be $19 billion for the year.

Consumers Don’t Feel Their Financial Interests Are Being Well Protected and Are Dissatisfied With Many Areas in Financial Services

November 11, 2010 Featured News, Finance No Comments

Financial freedom

Consumers Don't Feel Their Financial Interests Are Being Well Protected and Are Dissatisfied With Many Areas in Financial Services

A new survey on regulatory reform by TNS, the world’s leading custom research firm, finds that only 46% of American consumers feel  their financial interests are being appropriately protected by laws and regulations.  For consumers who are over-indebted this is even worse: only 29% of this group feel their financial interests are being well protected.

With regulatory reform and consumer financial protection high on the political agenda, TNS asked consumers about their financial services “pain points” to help inform the agendas of regulators. The TNS Regulatory Reform Survey was developed in collaboration with Professor Peter Tufano, the Sylvan C. Coleman Professor of Financial Management at Harvard Business School.  A nationally representative sample of 2,300 American consumers 18 years or older was surveyed between October 8-14 2010.

Consumers remain uncertain of the economy and how their interests are being protected

While overall consumer confidence shows some stability of late, there remains some underlying uncertainty among US consumers regarding the future.  Specifically, only 14% of US consumers see the US stock market and the value of their household investments improving over the next six months.  Moreover – regardless of political leaning — fewer than half of US consumers (46%) feel their financial interests are adequately protected by today’s laws and regulations. While regulatory reform promises to provide some of this protection for consumers and has garnered a lot of attention in the media, 46% of American consumers say they are not familiar with how this legislation will benefit them.  Further, those who are familiar have doubts that reform will benefit them; only a third agree that it will be “good” for the average US consumer (the same number who disagree).

Even routine matters scores low

In an attempt to inform the efforts of the new consumer financial protection bureau and other regulators, TNS surveyed US consumers and found that they were not satisfied with even the most basic of their financial services activities, such as “routine matters with your bank” (only 43% extremely/very satisfied) and “understanding how overdraft protection on your checking account works” (only 42% extremely/very satisfied).  ”It was most remarkable to us that consumers experience ‘pain’ on even the most basic of tasks,” says Trish Dorsey, Senior Vice President and head of the North American Financial Services sector at TNS.

Credit cards still number one consumer pain point

The area within financial services with which US consumers are most dissatisfied is credit cards, with 61% of consumers saying that they are very or extremely dissatisfied with the fees charged on credit cards; 61% saying they are very or extremely dissatisfied with interest rates charged on credit cards; and 49% saying they are very or extremely dissatisfied with the terms on credit cards.  ”While dissatisfaction with fees and rates is hardly surprising, the level of discontent with more everyday elements of financial services life is striking,” says Peter Tufano.  Other areas of strong consumer dissatisfaction identified in the survey include personal loans, especially dealing with fraudulent lenders (42%), fees on payday lending (32%), fraudulent investments and their promoters (42%), and the trust in investment markets in general (37%).

So what does all of this mean for US financial institutions?  ”Uncertainty creates opportunity,” says Dorsey.  ”And today’s environment creates plenty of opportunity – for financial institutions to avoid the temptation to efficiently follow but rather to actively lead.  If we learned anything during the most recent financial crisis, it was that being ‘present’ with the consumer was critical in terms of allaying uncertainty and managing expectations.  It will be important to participate in this debate with regulators and to actively engage with consumers about their fears and frustrations.”

The TNS Regulatory Reform survey was conducted using Light Speed Research and was conducted from October 8 through October 14, 2010.  Results of the TNS Regulatory Reform survey were presented on Friday November 5, at the Financial Services Marketing Symposium in Orlando, FL.

Peter Gabriel, Sheryl Crow, Jimmy Cliff, and Jack Dorsey, Co-Founder of Twitter, Support Human Rights Organization Using Video to Expose Human Rights Abuses

Human Rights Abuse

Peter Gabriel, Sheryl Crow, Jimmy Cliff, and Jack Dorsey, Co-Founder of Twitter, Support Human Rights Organization Using Video to Expose Human Rights Abuses

Music legend and human rights activist Peter Gabriel will host the 6th Annual Focus for Change benefit dinner and concert for WITNESS, the international human rights organization, on Thursday, December 2nd at Roseland Ballroom in New York City.

The event includes performances by Grammy Award-winner Sheryl Crow and reggae legend Jimmy Cliff. Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter, is a keynote speaker who will highlight the power of online spaces to inform people about on-the-ground abuses and mobilize them to take action.

The event will showcase WITNESS’ innovative use of video and storytelling to end human rights violations. Co-founded in 1992 by Gabriel, WITNESS has trained and supported thousands of human rights defenders in more than 80 countries to use video in their campaigns for change. Video has been used by WITNESS partners to corroborate allegations of human rights violations; as evidence in courts; to promote grassroots education and mobilization; as a resource for news broadcasts; and as a deterrent to further abuse.

“Video testimony ensures that the suffering of thousands of people all over the world cannot be denied or forgotten.  Those voices can be amplified and heard in the places of power and courts of justice,” said Gabriel of the organization’s impact.

This year WITNESS is honoring HBO for using the power of documentary film to educate, illuminate and inspire. It is also honoring WITNESS partner LICADHO for its work to end forced evictions in Cambodia. Dr. Pung Chhiv Kek, President of LICADHO, and the Venerable Luon Sovath, a human rights defender also known as the “multi-media monk” will represent the organization at the event.

WITNESS trained LICADHO staff how to use video in their online and on-the-ground campaigns to document forced evictions of citizens whose land has been seized for so-called ‘development projects.’  LICADHO is capturing the abuses Cambodians experience from the moment their homes are targeted for seizure, through demolition and aftermath.  Affected communities may find themselves abandoned or relocated far away without homes, jobs, schools or hospitals.

Based on 16 Million Barcode Scans by Smartphone Users, ShopSavvy Reveals the Hottest Gifts for the 2010 Holiday Season

shopsavvy

Data from ShopSavvy users shows Uncle Milton’s Moon In My Room, “Toy Story 3” and “Call of Duty: Black Ops” among the most-scanned items from Nov. 1-10.

In the first 10 days of the holiday shopping season, ShopSavvy users performed 16 million product scans with ShopSavvy’s built-in barcode reader, with nearly a third of the smartphone app’s 6.5 million users scanning at least one item from Nov. 1-10. This is more than three times the number of scans conducted in the same period in 2009. The data offers a compelling sneak peek at holiday shopping trends for 2010.

“In a typical month, ShopSavvy users conduct between 30 and 50 million scans; this month, we expect that to be closer to 120 million scans, with more than half of those coming over Black Friday weekend,” said Alexander Muse, co-creator of ShopSavvy, the comparison shopping app for iPhone, Android and Nokia smartphone users. “This represents a mountain of data of value to retailers, advertisers and the shopping public.”

Based on ShopSavvy user data, the most-scanned products in the top holiday gift categories from Nov. 1-10 were the following:

Toys

1.    Uncle Milton’s Moon In My Room

2.    Squinkies Bubble Pack – Series One

3.    Fushigi Magic Gravity Ball

4.    LEGO Harry Potter Hagrid’s Hut

5.    The Sing-a-ma-jigs Set of 4 Singing Plush Figures

Books

1.    “Life” by Keith Richards

2.    “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth” by Jeff Kinney

3.    “Decision Points” by George W. Bush

4.    “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” by Stieg Larsson

5.    “Full Dark, No Stars” by Stephen King

DVDs

1.    “Toy Story 3”

2.    “How to Train Your Dragon”

3.    “Iron Man 2”

4.    “Sex and the City 2”

5.    “Modern Family: The Complete First Season”

Video Games

1.    “Call of Duty: Black Ops”

2.    “StarCraft II”

3.    “Halo: Reach”

4.    “NBA 2K11”

5.    “GoldenEye 007”

Consumer Electronics

1.    LG Blu-ray Disc Player

2.    Vizio 55-inch 1080p LCD HDTV

3.    Canon Pixma Wireless Printer

4.    Apple TV

5.    Roku XD Streaming Player

ShopSavvy’s 6.5 million users are expected to conduct more than 200 million scans between now and Christmas, Muse said.

Last week, ShopSavvy released ShopSavvy 4 for iPhone, offering an array of new features to make holiday shopping easier for smartphone users. The new consumer-friendly functionality includes:

  • Price-matching policies. ShopSavvy tells you whether a retailer will match a competitor’s lower price based on ShopSavvy results.
  • Up-to-date inventory information. A blue dot by a retailer’s name on the price results pages tells you whether an item is currently in stock.
  • Streaming deals. ShopSavvy offers a Twitter-like stream of special deals and short-term promotions aggregated from sources across the Web, as well as exclusive deals for ShopSavvy users.

“ShopSavvy is all about arming consumers with information to save them money. During the busy holiday shopping season, ShopSavvy 4 offers new features that enable consumers to save valuable time as well. They can do their research and comparison shopping in the time it takes to scan a product,” Muse said.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Announces Aggressive Tobacco Control Strategy and Proposed Graphic Warning Labels

November 10, 2010 Featured News, Health No Comments

Smoking

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Announces Aggressive Tobacco Control Strategy and Proposed Graphic Warning Labels

Legacy applauds HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and the leadership at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its bold new effort announced today to dramatically reduce the number of American lives lost annually to tobacco-related disease. Still the number one preventable cause of death, tobacco continues to claim more than 400,000 lives each year in the United States.

Today’s announcement included a proposed rule, Required Warnings for Cigarette Packages and Advertisements, requiring more prominent warnings to better communicate the deadly effects of tobacco. As Secretary Sebelius shared with us today, anyone who picks up a pack of cigarettes will soon clearly understand the risk that comes with smoking. Placing prominent color photos and warning statements will hopefully help young smokers make more informed decisions about lighting up, and give current smokers a renewed commitment to quit their addiction for good.

The proposed graphic warnings would significantly cover the front of cigarette packs, replacing the current warnings on the narrow side of cigarette packs, and would be required as part of the new proposed rule. The proposed warnings include images of tobacco-related cancers and even the corpse of an individual who has passed away from lung cancer.

Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show the rate of decline in youth and adult smoking has stalled in recent years – making the issue of smoking in America a continued public health crisis. About eighty percent of current smokers tried their first cigarettes before they graduated high school. We know the tobacco industry has long targeted younger people in order to “replace” the customers who have already died from using its deadly products. The federal government’s announcement today and its focus on prevention is a strong show of commitment to the nation’s smokers, saying “we are in your corner.”

Today’s announcement by the Federal Government to move forward with a first national strategic plan to address tobacco use aligns action with partners around the country to dramatically reduce the adult smoking rate to 12 percent by 2020. With its plan, “Ending the Tobacco Epidemic: A Tobacco Control Strategic Action Plan,” the Federal Government is taking an unprecedented and bold leadership role guiding the public health community, including organizations like Legacy, to remain laser-focused on our collective mission to prevent young people from lighting up and help smokers quit. HHS’ commitment gives public health advocates like Legacy and our partners around the country renewed energy to work together with a clear mission.

At Legacy, our mission to help Americans lead longer, healthier lives is two-fold: to build a world where young people reject tobacco and anyone can quit. While campaigns like the national youth smoking prevention campaign truth® continue to counter the tobacco industry’s marketing tactics, our efforts along with other national and state programs can feel like an uphill battle when research shows the tobacco industry spends more than $34 million a day marketing its deadly products. We have long contended that in order to save young lives and save money, real change needs to come from the top. Health services should be focused on prevention – after all, tobacco is the number-one preventable causes of death in the United States and around the world. These types of bold steps by the leadership of HHS is a true tipping point in furthering the decline of smoking and changing of social norms surrounding tobacco in the United States.

Background

The FDA gained regulatory authority over tobacco as part of the as part of the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. The legislation was an historic and unprecedented public health victory and many of its measures will reduce the number one cause of preventable death in the United States.

Since the signing of the bill into law, this nation has begun to see sweeping marketing restrictions on tobacco products, putting an end to misleading claims such as “light” and “low tar,” as well as the banning of flavored cigarettes that appeal to youth. This month, the FDA’s Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee will review comprehensive evidence surrounding menthol cigarette use, which research has shown is disproportionately prevalent among African Americans and youth.

Sports & Recreation

SportsMetriX System Linked to NCAA Tournament Upsets

6 Nov 2010

NCAA Basketball Tournament

The unprecedented number of upsets in last season’s NCAA tournament was no coincidence. SportsMetriX software was the one common link that helped Butler, Northern Iowa, Murray State, Baylor, and Cornell for preparing pregame reports for their opponents. Sienna and Montana …

Terminal at 4-years-old, Triumphant at 22, Ryan Dant to Watch His Hero Nolan Ryan and His Beloved Rangers Take on Giants in Game 3

30 Oct 2010

Ryan Dant

Ryan Dant wasn’t supposed to be a 22-year-old. Or an 18-year-old. Or even a 12-year-old. At three-and-a-half, the little boy who loved baseball and Nolan Ryan and his Texas Rangers in particular was told, along with his parents Mark and …

World-Class Snowboarding for the First Time in China

15 Oct 2010

Snowboarder-Shaun-White

The 2010/2011 snowboard season is starting with a big bang: The legendary snowboard contest Air & Style is coming to Beijing, People’s Republic of China, with the 6-star Swatch TTR World Snowboard Tour event “Oakley and Shaun White present Air …

Entertainment

Peter Gabriel, Sheryl Crow, Jimmy Cliff, and Jack Dorsey, Co-Founder of Twitter, Support Human Rights Organization Using Video to Expose Human Rights Abuses

11 Nov 2010

Human Rights Abuse

Music legend and human rights activist Peter Gabriel will host the 6th Annual Focus for Change benefit dinner and concert for WITNESS, the international human rights organization, on Thursday, December 2nd at Roseland Ballroom in New York City. The event …

Creative Channel Services’ Study Suggests Set-Top Box Is Preferred Upgrade Solution

9 Nov 2010

Internet TV

The Internet is most likely to debut in the American living room via a set-top box that is streaming rented content, says a nationwide survey of 3,600-plus consumer electronics retail sales associates conducted by Creative Channel Services (CCS). Recently, the …

Nissan Whistleblower After being Jailed a 3rd Time Starts Stand-Up Comedy

8 Nov 2010

Sharyn Bovat

Sharyn Bovat, the middle Tennessee relocation consultant assigned to manage the move of Nissan board member Carlos Tavares was arrested and taken to jail on July 7th, 2010 by the Franklin police in Williamson County (case # gsc-3714); the details …

Health

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Announces Aggressive Tobacco Control Strategy and Proposed Graphic Warning Labels

10 Nov 2010

Smoking

Legacy applauds HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and the leadership at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its bold new effort announced today to …

Terminal at 4-years-old, Triumphant at 22, Ryan Dant to Watch His Hero Nolan Ryan and His Beloved Rangers Take on Giants in Game 3

30 Oct 2010

Ryan Dant

Ryan Dant wasn’t supposed to be a 22-year-old. Or an 18-year-old. Or even a 12-year-old. At three-and-a-half, the little boy who loved baseball and Nolan Ryan and his Texas Rangers in particular was told, along …

BODY WORLDS’ Producer Sets Sights on Disease Prevention, Creates New Museum Exhibition Addressing American Health Issues

26 Oct 2010

Body World

Anatomist Dr. Gunther von Hagens and physician, Dr. Angelina Whalley, the trailblazing scientist and creative designer behind Gunther von Hagens’  BODY WORLDS — the anatomical exhibitions seen by 32 million visitors worldwide — announced BODY …

Featured News

Does Travel + TSA = Traveling Trauma?

22 Nov 2010

Airport Security Body Scan

Immediately prior to one of the heaviest travel days of the year, there are a multitude of people crying ‘Foul’ on the increased Travel Security Administration security (TSA) measures.  The overall response has said the ‘enhanced pat-downs’ simply go too …

GM’s IPO is hot, and China’s Automaker, SAIC, wants a piece of the action

12 Nov 2010

GM Headquarter

SAIC Motor Corp, China’s largest automaker, is a joint-venture partner with General Motors in China. The Chinese company wants a 1% stake in GM share and is willing to pay between $500 Million to $ 1 Billion for the GM’s …

Consumers Don’t Feel Their Financial Interests Are Being Well Protected and Are Dissatisfied With Many Areas in Financial Services

11 Nov 2010

Financial freedom

A new survey on regulatory reform by TNS, the world’s leading custom research firm, finds that only 46% of American consumers feel  their financial interests are being appropriately protected by laws and regulations.  For consumers who are over-indebted this is …

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Business

GM’s IPO is hot, and China’s Automaker, SAIC, wants a piece of the action

12 Nov 2010

GM Headquarter

SAIC Motor Corp, China’s largest automaker, is a joint-venture partner with General Motors in China. The Chinese company wants a 1% stake in GM share and is willing to pay between $500 Million to $ 1 Billion for the GM’s …

Based on 16 Million Barcode Scans by Smartphone Users, ShopSavvy Reveals the Hottest Gifts for the 2010 Holiday Season

11 Nov 2010

shopsavvy

In the first 10 days of the holiday shopping season, ShopSavvy users performed 16 million product scans with ShopSavvy’s built-in barcode reader, with nearly a third of the smartphone app’s 6.5 million users scanning at least one item from Nov. …

Nissan Whistleblower After being Jailed a 3rd Time Starts Stand-Up Comedy

8 Nov 2010

Sharyn Bovat

Sharyn Bovat, the middle Tennessee relocation consultant assigned to manage the move of Nissan board member Carlos Tavares was arrested and taken to jail on July 7th, 2010 by the Franklin police in Williamson County (case # gsc-3714); the details …

Finance

Consumers Don’t Feel Their Financial Interests Are Being Well Protected and Are Dissatisfied With Many Areas in Financial Services

11 Nov 2010

Financial freedom

A new survey on regulatory reform by TNS, the world’s leading custom research firm, finds that only 46% of American consumers feel  their financial interests are being appropriately protected by laws and regulations.  For consumers who are over-indebted this is …

High Unemployment Rates Lead Consumers Searching For Debt Resolution Morgan Drexen Supports Attorneys In Reducing Debt

1 Nov 2010

Attorneys In Reducing Debt

After several months out of work Stephanie Silver had drained her 401(K) and her debt was rising. Personal savings were not an option for Stephanie an Oregon resident; she started using her credit cards for everyday items. Stephanie’s husband was …

Identity Theft 911 Recommends Identity Theft Services Shopping Tips From The Consumer Federation

23 Oct 2010

National Protect Your Identity Week

In recognition of National Protect Your Identity Week,Identity Theft 911 (http://www.identitytheft911.com) announces its support for the checklist “Nine Things to Check When Shopping for Identity Theft Services” released by the Consumer Federation of America this week. Identity Theft is the …

Technology

Peter Gabriel, Sheryl Crow, Jimmy Cliff, and Jack Dorsey, Co-Founder of Twitter, Support Human Rights Organization Using Video to Expose Human Rights Abuses

11 Nov 2010

Human Rights Abuse

Music legend and human rights activist Peter Gabriel will host the 6th Annual Focus for Change benefit dinner and concert for WITNESS, the international human rights organization, on Thursday, December 2nd at Roseland Ballroom in …

Based on 16 Million Barcode Scans by Smartphone Users, ShopSavvy Reveals the Hottest Gifts for the 2010 Holiday Season

11 Nov 2010

shopsavvy

In the first 10 days of the holiday shopping season, ShopSavvy users performed 16 million product scans with ShopSavvy’s built-in barcode reader, with nearly a third of the smartphone app’s 6.5 million users scanning at …

Creative Channel Services’ Study Suggests Set-Top Box Is Preferred Upgrade Solution

9 Nov 2010

Internet TV

The Internet is most likely to debut in the American living room via a set-top box that is streaming rented content, says a nationwide survey of 3,600-plus consumer electronics retail sales associates conducted by Creative …

Travel

Does Travel + TSA = Traveling Trauma?

22 Nov 2010

Airport Security Body Scan

Immediately prior to one of the heaviest travel days of the year, there are a multitude of people crying ‘Foul’ on the increased Travel Security Administration security (TSA) measures.  The overall response has said the …

Yakima Vehicle Racks Gives Thanksgiving Travelers Smart Options for Carrying Gear, Luggage and Family

5 Nov 2010

YAKIMA-car-rack

With Americans downsizing to smaller cars and hybrids, Thanksgiving travelers face new challenges on where to put luggage, family and gear. Yakima (www.yakima.com), known for vehicle racks for boats, bikes, camping, winter sports gear, trailers …

Branson’s Ozark Mountain Christmas Begins Nov. 1

29 Oct 2010

OZARK MOUNTAIN CHRISTMAS

With dozens of star-filled Christmas music shows and a glittering array of light displays, including the 1-mile Branson Area Festival of Lights drive-through, “The Live Music Show Capital of the World” kicks off its annual …