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High-Risk Business in Midst of Peak Season: Payscout Comments on Risk Management Services that Assist Travel Agents in Navigating Potential Liabilities


Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) March 27, 2015

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, in 2012 the U.S. travel and tourism industry generated nearly $ 1.5 trillion in economic output. This activity supported 7.8 million U.S. jobs, and accounted for seven percent of all U.S. exports. While the majority of activity in the industry is domestic, expenditures by international visitors in the United States generated nearly $ 166 billion in sales and a trade surplus of more than $ 47 billion. (1)

The need for travel agentsand the opportunities for them in the marketcontinues to grow. Only last week, for example, Airlines for America (A4A), a trade group of U.S. air carriers, predicted that travel in March and April of 2015 will increase about two percent, to an average of 2.2 million passengers a day. In its announcement, A4A attributed the increase in spring air travel to rising U.S. employment and personal incomes, an improving economy, the highest consumer sentiment in a decade, and the continued affordability of air travel. (2)

With increased opportunity, though, comes increased risk. The primary reason for this, says Payscout CEO Cleveland Brown, is that consumers are statistically more likely to dispute and charge back travel agency charges than other types of transactions, leading agencies to be placed in the same risk category as merchants selling adult products, escort and companion services, fortune telling, and sports forecasting or odds making. The risks are real, says Brown. As a sales agent for an airline, for example, an agency might be liable for the entire amount of an airline ticket if it were successfully disputed or were purchased with a stolen credit card. An additional layer of risk is the future deliverable of the product. A customer may purchase travel up to a year in advance, which leaves the transaction to chargeback exposure up to the time of travel and an additional six months to year after travel, if the consumer is not satisfied with the services.

This particular risk is likely to remain a part of the travel agency business for the foreseeable future. Until credit card acceptance rules are materially changed, say travel attorneys Norman Bluth and Mercedes Ozcan, travel agencies are at risk when a customer perpetrates a fraud. Given this reality, the best way to be protected against credit card fraud is to know your customer. A travel agency needs to obtain as much information as possible from its customers, and to respond to debit memos and chargebacks within a few days of receiving notice of such. (3)

Travel agents can help their clients avoid the danger of fraud while traveling, which helps build relationships and mutual trustand may reduce chargebacks. A recent USA Today feature on identity theft lists a number of tips agencies can provide their customers, such as avoiding free, insecure Wi-Fi networks; disabling a smart phones ability to automatically connect to hot spots; locking the phone with a password; using cash wherever possible; and avoiding street-corner ATMs. (4)

When working with its clients in the high-risk travel field, Payscout helps agencies spot possible risk patterns, take preventive measures, and protect their businesses while continuing to process payments smoothly. Payscouts goal is to enable its clients to remain competitive while taking advantage of the growth opportunities in their industry.

Travel, says Brown, is a thrivingand essentialindustry in the United States. However, it brings with it a number of issues about which industry participants must be very careful. As far as credit card processors are concerned, travel agencies are among the highest-risk merchants, which means new travel agencies have great difficulty opening a merchant account that enables them to handle credit card transactions. We strongly encourage merchants in this space to work with a merchant service provider who is experienced in managing risk.

As with any high-risk activity, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The most successful travel agencies, Brown notes, train their staff in the proper application of credit card acceptance best practices, and have them apply these practices on a consistent basis. While specific procedures will vary from agency to agency, at a minimum, agency management should be careful to set aside large-value bookings for fraud review, track and store key characteristics of all known fraud transactions, and carefully screen high-risk bookings, such as those in which the passenger and the cardholder have different names, or when the date of travel is less than six days after the date of purchase.

About Payscout, Inc.:

Payscout Supports the Entrepreneurial Dream One Transaction at a Time.

Payscout is a global merchant service provider (MSP) and payment service provider (PSP) with tier-one bank sponsorships in the United States, Latin America, Caribbean, Asia-Pacific and Europe. Serving small to medium businesses (SMBs) and enterprise companies alike, Payscout offers payment processing solutions for brick-and-mortar and eCommerce transactions. The company has earned acclaim as a new-generation provider of merchant banking services, specializing in online/eCommerce retailers with a predominant proportion of card-not-present (CNP) transactions; and it is one of the few providers to deliver a true global payment solution that encompasses all merchant risk verticals. Customers can access Payscouts credit card processing services via a state-of-the-art, web-based user portal and through direct interactions with highly trained experts. In addition to supporting thousands of clients across a multitude of industries and all 50 states, Payscout maintains global partnerships with VISA USA, Bank of America Merchant Services, VISA Europe, VISA Latin America, VISA Asia Pacific, MasterCard Worldwide, China Union Pay, Deutsche Bank, First Data and Payscout Brazil. Payscout was recognized as one of Americas fastest-growing privately held companies in 2014, ranking #2,416 on Inc. magazines Inc. 5000 list. Within the financial services industry, Payscout placed #140 nationally and #24 in California. For more information, visit http://www.payscout.com.

1. U.S. Department of Commerce, Industry Snapshots, 2013.

selectusa.commerce.gov/industry-snapshots/travel-tourism-and-hospitality-industry-united-states

2. Dallas Morning News, March 11, 2015

aviationblog.dallasnews.com/2015/03/airline-group-expects-spring-2015-travel-to-increase-2-percent-over-2014.html/

3. What to do about the costly problem of charge back fraud, Travel Market Report, September 26, 2013. travelmarketreport.com/articles/What-to-Do-About-the-Costly-Problem-of-Chargeback-Fraud

4. USA Today, May 15, 2014. usatoday.com/story/travel/2014/05/15/identity-theft/9091065/







Over $1 Million in upgrades at GameTime Miami


(PRWEB) March 20, 2015

Since GameTime Owner and CEO Mike Abecassis took over GameWorks in Miami back in 2010, he has been maintaining and updating the Family Entertainment Center, but now recognizes the need to take his FEC to a whole new level with a new design concept that is certain to catch the attention of a more broad and larger clientele.

GameTime at Sunset Place has historically done very well, but business has slowly declined as it has become less exciting and not as new, says CEO Michael Abecassis. Really, the entire center will be new to any guest who hasnt been there for a while and should have a great impact once completed.

With high-end modern materials and furnishings, GameTime Miami will be transformed to reveal over $ 1 Million in upgrades throughout the center. This will include a new Restaurant that will accommodate larger parties, outdoor seating, a new audio visual experience, new banquet space, remodeled Sports bars and upstairs billiard lounge, new restrooms and more advanced systems throughout their mega-arcade that holds over 120 of the latest and greatest video games, simulators and redemption machines.

A new GameTime, coming soon to Ft. Myers, will follow the lead on this new design concept and will be the 3rd flagship (joining Miami and Tampa), of the GameTime brand and the 7th FEC to date.

The unveiling of this new design concept will take place late April at GameTime Miami, located in The Shops at Sunset Place. Stay connected by joining their Fun Club at http://www.gametimeplayers.com and get social with #GTplayers @GTplayers and Facebook.com/GTplayers







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Rise in Fiber Connectivity in Emerging Markets Drives Growth in the Submarine Optical Fiber Cables Market, According to a New Report by Global Industry Analysts, Inc.

San Jose, California (PRWEB) March 20, 2015

Follow us on LinkedIn Submarine optical fiber cables are undersea cables used for carrying data across interconnected networks between continents. All of the modern cables make use of optical fiber technology for carrying digital data. The growing data transmission workloads placed by high-performance computers, servers and network storage systems is helping spur growth in the market. The worlds increasing dependence on uninterrupted data connectivity and the subsequent increase in demand for greater bandwidth is enhancing the need for fiber optic interconnectivity to support this rise in data traffic. Presently, most of the transoceanic Internet traffic is transmitted through submarine cables, given the high level of efficiency achieved in transmission through submarine cables, as against using satellites. At present, submarine optical cables transmit 100% of the international Internet traffic, and more than 95% of the worlds combined data and voice traffic.

Significant advances in optical transmission technology are driving the demand for data and video transmission, thereby necessitating the deployment of additional submarine cables. Most of the new projects are aimed primarily at addressing the needs of emerging and underserved markets. The Greenfield SAPL cable between linking Hawaii and South America, as well as the Arctic Fibre projects are a few examples of submarine cable projects targeting underserved regions. On the other hand, upgrade projects on several existing cable routes are also being taken up to keep pace with the escalating demand for bandwidth. Between 2008 and 2014, about US$ 12 billion was invested in new projects with most of the funds spent on increasing coverage, expanding networks and improving quality of services. Also, about 160 new projects with a combined value of more than US$ 20 billion are in proposal or construction phase for the year 2015 and beyond. Growth in the coming years will also be driven by the development and ongoing transition towards cost-effective 100G transmission technology, from the earlier 10G transmission technology.

As stated by the new market research report on Submarine Optical Fiber Cables, developed markets across Europe and the United States are witnessing slower growth owing to market saturation and uncertain economic conditions. Growth opportunities in these markets will come primarily from upgrade or capacity enhancement projects. Future growth in the global market will be driven by increased broadband investments in developing markets across South Asia and Africa. With a CAGR of 4.5% over the analysis period, Africa represents the fastest growing submarine cable route. Growth in this route is led by the escalating demand for reliable connectivity and affordable broadband services.

Major players covered in the report include Alcatel-Lucent, Bezeq International Ltd., Cable & Wireless Communications Plc, Ciena Corporation, Emerald Networks Inc., Fujitsu Limited, Huawei Marine Networks Co. Limited, Infinera Corporation, Kokusai Cable Ship Co. Ltd., NSW, NTT Communications Corporation, Global Cloud Xchange Limited, Pacnet Limited, Tata Communications Limited, TE SubCom, and Xtera Communications Inc., among others.

The research report titled Submarine Optical Fiber Cables: A Global Strategic Business Report announced by Global Industry Analysts Inc., provides a comprehensive review of market trends, drivers, mergers, acquisitions and other strategic industry activities. The report provides market estimates and projections in Thousand Kilometers (Cumulative Installations) for major geographic markets such as Africa, Transatlantic, Europe & Mediterranean, Transpacific, South East Asia and Others.

For more details about this comprehensive market research report, please click here

About Global Industry Analysts, Inc.

Global Industry Analysts, Inc., (GIA) is a leading publisher of off-the-shelf market research. Founded in 1987, the company currently employs over 800 people worldwide. Annually, GIA publishes 1500+ full-scale research reports and analyzes 40,000+ market and technology trends while monitoring more than 126,000 Companies worldwide. Serving over 9500 clients in 27 countries, GIA is recognized today, as one of the world’s largest and reputed market research firms.

Global Industry Analysts, Inc.

Telephone: 408-528-9966

Fax: 408-528-9977

Email: press(at)StrategyR(dot)com

Web Site: http://www.StrategyR.com/

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Rebranding LarryJordan.com: New Design, Improved Experience


Los Angles, CA (PRWEB) March 24, 2015

As we continued adding new resources to our website, said Larry Jordan, President of Larry Jordan & Associates, Inc., We realized that we needed to totally redesign the interface to make it easier for editors to find the answers they need. With over 1,100 technical articles and more than 1,200 videos in our store and Video Training Library, there was so much information available that no one could sort through it easily enough. My goal during this redesign was to provide faster access to exactly the answers editors need, so they can get back to work as quickly as possible, as well as add new features that our previous website did not support.

Adapting to new ways of doing business and technology, the new LJA website offers a clean, modern design, easy-to-navigate functionality, and a content-rich site experience. In addition to the simplified cascading interface, the freshly renovated site invites visitors to discover more about Larrys background in education and production, explore the full library of his training tutorials, as well as browse a brand-new Online Store featuring all of LJAs wide range of training downloads, DVDs, webinars and more. Larrys Tip of the Day changes daily, and provides additional tips and tricks for the editing enthusiast. Also, the sites Workshop & Events section spotlights the companys various options for private/corporate training, including their brand-new on-line educational initiative, Learn With Larry, that allows students and educators around the world to invest in and customize their professional-caliber post-production training to improve their skills.

“Larry Jordans new website design is based on the philosophy of interaction design, said Patrick Charlier, Chief Designer for Beyond Web Interactive, the California-based web design firm which created the new website. During the planning and design process it was important to Larry that the team create a compelling experience for his users and students. The sites environment had to be easy to navigate, while implementing a clean and modern design sensibility. In order to add functionality to the design, the tech team used the most cutting edge technology to make the website seamless and fast to enhance the user experience even further.”

Larry Jordans vast network of friends and followers around the world will be pleased to see that the new website also provides complete social media integration, featuring direct links to LJAs Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms, where company and product updates appear on a daily basis. Additional sections and interactive features are planned for further development, to ensure the new website continues to provide a fresh, versatile site experience.

This world-class redesign fully supports the direct, customer-focused service that we have been known for throughout the industry, said James Stevens, Director of Marketing for Larry Jordan & Associates, Inc. But the goal of our renovated site is to provide an even greater accessible online resource for those looking to expand their editing training and minimize the time they spend searching for it. This new website represents a comprehensive brand refresh that is closely aligned with the companys strategic vision for maximizing efficiency and economy for their clients growing educational needs.

About Larry Jordan & Associates, Inc.

Larry Jordan & Associates, Inc. provides high-quality, engaging training and information covering video production and post-production for practicing professionals and students through a variety of media worldwide.

The company was founded by Larry Jordan, an internationally renowned digital media analyst, producer, director, consultant and Apple-Certified trainer specializing in Apple and Adobe training. Jordans Weekly Newsletter is read by creative professionals around the world and is available at https://larryjordan.com/newsletter-archives. Jordan is also executive producer and host of the weekly interactive internet radio show and video podcast, Digital Production BuZZ, providing everything you need to know about digital media, production, post-production and distribution (http://www.digitalproductionbuzz.com).







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The city of Detroit, Michigan has hit an all time low.

According to an article by Joseph Phares, Detroit’s Police Chief recently resigned in lieu of an affair with a woman of lower rank being discovered. Detroit Police have also started warning visitors to “Enter the city at your own risk.”

The article states, “People once flocked to Detroit as a place of opportunity and prosperity. Now people flee for their lives taking with them the tax revenue sorely needed to keep the city afloat.”

Harsh words for a once illustrious city known for it’s manufacturing and growth.

Turns out the last Detroit Police Chief was also fired for having an affair, and with the same woman of this most recent chief.The city of Detroit needs to do something to get their image back on the good graces of the community and the nation.

Two key areas of public relations that Detroit needs to utilize are crisis and internal communications, among others like community relations and digital/social media tactics.

For example on crisis communications: the mayor, any major city decision maker and even some state officials need to sit down and develop a plan to fix some major issues in the city. They’ll need to discuss how they’re going to handle the crime issue, financial troubles and overall decline in the city.

As for the city’s internal communications, if it was me I’d start with the police department. Sounds like they need to regain control of the people and the crime situation. Detroit has become a very dangerous city to live in, and they need to do something to boost police officer’s morals and work efforts if they can’t increase their pay checks.

Next those decision makers need to notify every other city worker of the campaign to boost city moral and faith in the officials. This is going to need to be a “team effort” if Detroit wants to see any improvements.

I would also recommend that Detroit put together some great commercials to remind folks of the historic past and that their dreams don’t need to be lost. The city can prevail through these hard times. These commercials tied into some great social media advertisements and accounts could really benefit Detroit.

Holding some community events when things get a little safer is also a great way to bring the people together and allow them to interact with their leaders in a positive light. Implementing these ideas could really bring Detroit out of the gutter and back into the game.

If Detroit can’t make these necessary changes, I’d say it’s time to bring in additional state police and military enforcement to maintain order.

As for a PR professional, this might just be one of those clients you don’t want to waste your time having a headache over!

Read the article mentioned below:

http://www.examiner.com/article/detroit-spirals-further-into-chaos-police-chief-resigns-as-police-warn-citizens

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Residents of Maine have seen better days, and dance-fitness company, Zumba could use a few good days as well.

Recently a list of over 100 alleged clients of a 29-year-old Zumba instructor who is accused of running a prostitution ring out of her dance studio has been released to the public.
An ABC News article by John Schriffen stated,

“There is speculation that the list contains the names of well-known locals, including prominent politicians, lawyers, and law enforcement officers who allegedly frequented the brothel investigators say was run out of Alexis Wright’s Pura Vida Studio. Wright allegedly had a video camera set up in the room to film the acts as well.”

Days following the release of the information a 4.0 magnitude earthquake hit Maine, and social media sites couldn’t get enough sex scandal aftermath jokes. Pretty much twisting the knife in a wholesome business like Zumba’s side.

So from a Public Relations standpoint, what can Zumba do?

To start, they need to do something!

There has been no talk of Zumba’s response to this whole thing. Nothing on their Twitter, nothing on Google, zilch-

If I worked for Zumba I would at least make a statement regarding the scandal. At least acknowledge that it’s happening, and state that your company maintains values and standards that Miss Wright clearly didn’t share.

Zumba is a company that women have fallen in love with and pushed to a cult-like status. However if Zumba doesn’t do something about this situation they run the risk of potentially losing female consumers.

Zumba needs to remind women that it is a company focused on them, and will continue to put their interests and health as the top priority.

In doing so Zumba can avoid any major backlash created by the scandal and eventually move past this incident.

Unfortunately for the residents of Maine it might take longer to do so.

Learn more from the stories below:

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/zumba-prostitution-scandal-police-charge-21-men-17488092

http://abcnews.go.com/US/zumba-sex-scandal-judge-wont-block-list/story?id=17461359#.UICpjsXA9oE

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Alexandra Kogut, 18, was found beaten to death in her SUNY Brockport dorm room Saturday.

Western New York college SUNY Brockport has a tragic problem on their hands: the death of one of their 18 year old female students. To make matters worse for the college, the girl was recently found beaten to death in her dorm room and police have arrested her boyfriend as the prime suspect in her murder.

From a PR perspective the school has a mess on their hands. Not only do they need to notify students, parents, faculty and investors of the death, but they also need to offer grief counseling and other services to those affected by this tragedy.

To top that off, they will need to investigate how a student was beaten to death on campus without a single person knowing about it or coming to her rescue. Also, the school is going to need to determine measures on how to prevent another death from occurring. The school will also need to inform their female students of the dangers of domestic violence and unhealthy relationships.

All of the above measures will be necessary if the school wants to keep a positive reputation in the Brockport community. No one wants to send their child to the school that isn’t safe for them. If done correctly the school will make it through this tragedy unharmed, but if they don’t put the right PR actions into place they can expect serious issues.

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In August Progressive Insurance faced a nasty Public Relations crisis thanks to defending a killer in court or so claimed comedian, Matt Fisher. In Fisher’s blog he claimed that Progressive Insurance had represented his sister’s killer in court in order to minimize their liability. Fisher’s blog titled, “My Sister Paid Progressive insurance to defend her killer in court” went viral.

At the time of the crisis an article by Julia Boorstin stated, “There were nearly 16,000 negative tweets about Progressive just yesterday — that’s up nearly 50,000 percent from a week earlier, according to General Sentiment, a firm which tracks social media chatter.”

Progressive’s response according to the article was to claim Nationwide actually represented Fisher’s sister’s killer, and they sent out the same message to every negative comment, “This is a tragic case and our sympathies go out to Mr. Fisher and his family for the pain they’ve had to endure. We fully investigated this claim and relevant background, and feel we properly handled the claim within our contractual obligations.”

This is a perfect example of what not to do in regarding social media and public relations. Progressive insurance never accepted their role in the harmful deed and then they played it off with their statement released on Twitter. With the kind of heat surrounded by a death the a company should have made further attempts to comfort the Fisher family as well as to assure their clients that they wouldn’t be next.

If I was the person in charge of Progressive’s public relations during this crisis, not only would I have taken extra steps to work with the Fisher family in rectifying the situation, but I also would have put out a press release stating that actions were being taken to make sure this didn’t happen again to another family. You can’t delete the thousands of Tweets that were already sent, but you can assure your clients that they won’t be the next family dealing with this.

Great customer support goes a long way, and better Public Relations wouldn’t have hurt either in this situation.

Click the link below to read more:

http://www.cnbc.com/id/48665555/Progressive_Insurance_s_Twitter_PR_Nightmare

O.J. Simpson

Can we really trust the Justice System?

Within the past 10 years several big name court cases have gained attention in the public eye. Some of them have shown us that the justice system works as it should, with fairness and respect for the facts. However some cases have raised a few eyebrows, and have left people wondering is justice really blind? The following are two cases that raise some questions about the fairness of the justice system.

The O.J. Simpson Case: In 1994 famous former NFL player O.J. Simpson was found not guilty of murdering his second wife, Nicole Brown and her friend, Ron Goldman. The pair was stabbed to death outside of Brown’s California home. Some evidence and behavior(Like fleeing from the police in his famous white Ford Bronco) of Simpson’s would suggest he did kill the pair or at least knew who did, but thanks to the help of his slick lawyer Johnnie Cochran he escaped jail time. Simpson was however later convicted in civil court and was ordered to pay $33,000,000 in damages to the families of the victims. Did he get away with murder because he’s famous? You decide.

The Casey Anthony Trial: In 2011 Anthony was found not guilty of murdering her two-year old daughter Caylee. Caylee’s remains were found close to the Anthony’s parent’s home in Florida, and Anthony’s own mother called 911 on her daughter because it reportedly smelled like a dead body in Anthony’s car. The trial lasted several weeks and gained tons of media attention from all over the world. Once again evidence and Anthony’s behavior(Like lying to the police and others about her knowledge of Caylee’s disappearance) would suggest that Anthony was guilty, but the justice system let her go free. Did this pretty, young white female get away with murder? You be the judge.


I bring up these trials because another one is going to start soon for George Zimmerman, a man accused of shooting an unarmed, African-American teenager named Trayvon Martin. Martin was walking home when Zimmerman shot him, and Zimmerman is now claiming self-defense. This case has sparked tons of attention from the media, and I believe we might see another case of injustice in the upcoming future. Already people are sticking up for Zimmerman, and already accusations are being thrown around because Martin was a Black teen wearing a hoodie on the night of his death.

So I have to ask, is justice really blind? In my opinion it can see just fine. Justice sees if you’re rich and can afford the best defense lawyers, and if you’re poor you receive the worst lawyers. If you’re Black or Hispanic you’ll see less justice than if you’re white, and depending on your age it can go either way.

Either way I hope this blog makes you think about our justice system, and the problems within it. If justice is blind, than in my opinion it’s blind to the truth, the facts and what’s fair in the world. If this is something that matters to you, don’t let this injustice continue!

For many people the month of May marks a time in the year when the spring rains come, the flowers start to bloom and we get our first taste of summer. May is also when most students graduate and start planning their futures or when people come together to thank their moms on Mother’s Day for all they’ve done for us.

However I want to remind you of an even more important reason to celebrate the month of May…

May is National Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month!

For those of you unaware of the this horrible disease here are a few facts that might shed some light on what over 30,000 Americans are dealing with:

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States (70,000 worldwide). A defective gene and its protein product cause the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that:

clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections; and
obstructs the pancreas and stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food.

In the 1950s, few children with cystic fibrosis lived to attend elementary school. Today, advances in research and medical treatments have further enhanced and extended life for children and adults with CF. Many people with the disease can now expect to live into their 30s, 40s and beyond.

Symptoms of Cystic Fibrosis:

People with CF can have a variety of symptoms, including:

very salty-tasting skin;
persistent coughing, at times with phlegm;
frequent lung infections;
wheezing or shortness of breath;
poor growth/weight gain in spite of a good appetite; and
frequent greasy, bulky stools or difficulty in bowel movements.

Statistics:

About 1,000 new cases of cystic fibrosis are diagnosed each year.
More than 70% of patients are diagnosed by age two.
More than 45% of the CF patient population is age 18 or older.
The predicted median age of survival for a person with CF is in the late 30s

-From the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s website

Why this matters to me:

My little sister Kimmy in her CF treatment vest.

My little sister Kimmy is living with Cystic Fibrosis. My family knew about her disease and it’s complications when they adopted her from foster care. Kimmy’s siblings do not have the disease.

Everyday we have to give Kimmy her enzymes before she eats, we have to make sure she washes her hands often and avoids germs, and we have to make sure she completes her breathing treatments twice a day. It is a lot of work keeping her healthy, but Kimmy and her sister have been the greatest blessings to ever come to my family.

How you can help:

You don’t have to have a lot of money to donate, and you don’t have to be a scientist searching for a cure to help people living with Cystic Fibrosis. The following is a link to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Get Involved page: http://www.cff.org/GetInvolved/

There you can find several ideas to help you make a difference for people living with CF. Unfortunately because only 30,000 Americans have this disease it isn’t given the government funding or attention it deserves. So please spread the word about Cystic Fibrosis to whoever you can this May and help make a difference for families like mine.

As Lewis Black said, let’s make CF stand for “Cure Found.”

Why you should watch out for this company’s crappy customer service!

Image from Photodog.com

Less than a year ago I purchased a Toshiba laptop from Best Buy and at the time was really impressed with their customer service. The gentleman at the Buffalo, N.Y. store location helped me a great deal in explaining the pros and cons to each of their machines, and I thought did a great job at helping me to find the computer that was right for me.

However, when I got home from the store within days I noticed that there was something wrong with my laptop. I was having issues turning it on(I’d push power & get a black screen of death), and then would end up having to turn it off and turn it back on before I could actually get a start-up screen. No big deal I thought because I had the “Black Tie Protection Plan,” and was guaranteed help from the famous Geek Squad for my computer needs.

The following is what I’ve dealt with from Best Buy in the last six months:

Idiot Geek Squad Service: The boys at Geek Squad have replaced my hard drive twice and guess what? I still have the same problems as before when it comes to turning on my laptop. I’ve made several trips (3 hour-long round trips because I live so far away from the nearest store) and they’ve pulled everything from losing my number to not installing my recovery discs onto my computer. That was a lovely surprise when they told me I could pick up my “fixed” computer to only discover when I got home that it didn’t even have an operating system back on it. Thanks for that geek squad!

Don’t call 1-888-Best-Buy: This is Best Buy’s number to contact them, and when I called I was put on hold for over an hour. In fact I was put on hold, hung up on by them, and when I tried to call back was put on hold for another 45 minutes before a human picked up the phone. This person then directed me to some computer company who they claimed would help me figure out my issues, but when I spoke to someone from that company it turned out that they didn’t even do business with Best Buy and had no idea why they sent me to them. When I called Best Buy back, the lady on the line said she didn’t know how she could help me, but that she would call me back soon. Guess who’s still waiting for a phone call back ;)

Best Buy’s Replacement Policy: I was told by Geek Squad that if they had to send my computer out to be fixed four times then I would receive a new lap top. Well I’m about to take it back to be sent out for a third time, and $5 says that when I get it back within weeks it will still have the same problem. How am I supposed to use a computer that Geek Squad keeps wiping clean of everything when they return it? There’s no point in putting all of my programs back on to the laptop if Geek Squad still hasn’t fixed it, just so they can wipe it clean again when I take it back next time. I’ve already spent $300 just in gas taking it back and forth to get fixed by the Geek Squad, what else do they want me to do? I’m at my wit’s end with this company!

To top it off, I called Toshiba to see if they could help me. They said if I paid $160 then they could help, so much for my protection plan from Best Buy!

For anyone out there interested in buying a computer or some device from Best Buy, please use my story as a word of caution! They aren’t as awesome and helpful as you may think! In fact, this is the worst service I think I’ve ever had to deal with. I just want a computer that works, is that too much to ask for?

View the Presdent’s speech here: http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/whca-dinner-jimmy-kimmel-president-obama-skewer-secret-025426787.html

This year’s White House Correspondents’ dinner brought the nation’s celebrities and congressmen together for a night in Washington, D.C. coined the “nerd prom” on Twitter. Hollywood’s famous like George Clooney, Kim Kardashian and Lindsey Lohan attended the event hosted by late night talk show host, Jimmy Kimmel. The stars mingled with politicians like Newt Gingrich, former NY Governor Eliot Spitzer and also Attorney General Eric Holder.

President Obama followed the night’s exquisite dinner with a brief speech shown in the link above, and as humorous as it was I can’t help but feel once again disappointed in our President.

To make matters worse for my conscience, I voted for him.

Now you may ask why I reference his speech? It’s simple, the President had some of the most influential characters in journalism and media in one room, and instead of taking an opportunity to address a few changes needed for the future of our nation the President came out with jokes, and some bad ones too.

In my opinion the President had a chance to spread a much-needed message about the nation’s urgent problems, and also to ask for faith from the American people to not lose hope in their government, but he blew his opportunity.

Four years ago the President was talking about “Change we can believe in!” Yet as a voter, all I can say is that I’m still disappointed in how our political system is working. I’ve seen no change, in fact our elected representatives are still too occupied with their own greed to ever care about the average joes.

So I have to ask, when are we as a nation going to say enough is enough?

Now I won’t sit here and claim to know everything that goes on in the government, but I’m no idiot either and stay up to date as much as possible on current events. I will say though that what I see has me more than worried about the future of our country. I know I can’t begin to think of a solution for our government’s problems, but for those in charge I expect to see some changes soon.

By changes I don’t mean increasing my student loan interest rates either!

I am a drinker with writing problems.
-Brendan Behan

Ever since Tupac made an appearance fhis year at Coachella music festival a huge buzz has generated about resurrecting other artists for surprise performances. Watch Tupac’s performance here.

Now there’s buzz around the band “TLC” resurrecting member, Lisa “Left-Eye” Lopez for a tour marking her 10 year death anniversary.

With all this hype about holograms and raising dead artists, I’ve come up with my own top 7 list of musicians I’d LOVE to see perform one more time.

(Click on the names to learn more about their deaths)

1. John Lennon

2. Johnny Cash

3. Bob Marley

4. Jimi Hendrix

5. Michael Jackson

6. Kurt Cobain

7. Janis Joplin

This was a tough list to make because I enjoy music from so many genres, but after some thought these are definitely my fan favorites. You might agree or disagree, but you have to admit if even one of these artists came back for a last performance it would be huge! I think John Lennon’s influence on the world with and without the Beatles earned him the #1 spot.

Check out a tribute video for Lennon below:

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