Saturday, December 25, 2010

Your Personal Purchasing Guide to Mp4 Player

An Mp4 player had come more reliable than Mp3 because of its added features. Finding Mp4 with the best quality is hard since there is quite large number of Mp4 players today, though the internet caters the most products for players but finding one with the best quality is a bit tricky. With this guide you can decide on the important factors to consider in buying Mp4 player.

  • First, you have to check on the size of internal memory. This is one important aspect when choosing Mp4 player. Knowing its memory will determine how many videos, movies and songs you can store in your Mp4. An Mp 4 player size ranges from 10 GB to 256 MB. Also find one that includes flash memory.
  • ?Second, choose one that has longer battery life. A good range of battery means that you can use the Mp4 player longer and better functionality.One that is AC/DC adapter ready is better when charging.
  • Third, consider also the size of your Mp4 player. Mp 4 players come in many sizes; there are those that have large screens, and one that is sleek. Bigger screens however have better viewing but prices may depend on the size of the screen and the bigger the screen is the higher is the price.
  • Fourth, see to it that your Mp4 player has AV / IN and OUT line recording. It is important that you purchase on an Mp 4 player that carries either one of those two because it allows you to replay video and movies easily from mp4 player to your television and you can also record favorite programmes on TV.
  • Fifth, make sure that you get the desired speed connection from USB to the computer. The speed can affect downloading and uploading of movies into your Mp4 player or to the television or to the computer.
  • Sixth, choose also an Mp4 player that has additional features like FM radio tuner, recording capability and other vital functions.It is always beneficial to carefully examine the specs of the Mp 4 player before you finally decide to purchase it. When you buy check carefully for chargers software for CD and DVD, adapters and headphones. They are basically included in the purchase.

Even though an Mp 4 player is expensive but it is worth it than buying an iPod. The use of Mp4 player is similar to that when an iPod and cell phone is combined. You can save much with Mp4 player considering the many features it provide and also it has become the rush of shoppers today.

Actually if you have $100 you can already have Mp4 player that carries a wonderful specs like color LCD display screen, 3 inches, touch screen and a memory of 8 GB. This is enough to store videos, movies and images. It can look beautiful compared to cell phones plus it can function as mobile units also.

But remember, buy only an Mp4 player that suits your needs and according to your type.

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Friday, December 24, 2010

West Birmingham police officers to get holiday feast

Published: Thursday, December 23, 2010, 11:45 PM
Dora Sims police meal.jpgDora Sims, secretary of the Five Points West community in Birmingham, at left, and Patricia Henderson, president of the community, prepare sweet potato pies for police officers in Birmingham's West Precinct. The pies will be part of a Christmas Eve dinner being prepared and served by numerous neighborhoods in western Birmingham. (The Birmingham News / Linda Stelter)

Their families might be cooking at home this Christmas Eve, but for west Birmingham police officers who have to work, the feast will be in the roll call room at the West Precinct.

A decades-old tradition in western Birmingham kicks off at 1:30 this afternoon, when the people they protect set out a homemade holiday meal.

Residents of the Belview Heights, Bush Hills, Central Park, Ensley, Ensley Highlands, Fairview, Five Points West, Green Acres and Tuxedo communities are pitching in, said Patricia Henderson, president of the Five Points West community. The Five Points West Merchants Association and Schaeffer Eye Center also participate.

"Everybody makes a dish. It's a way to say 'thank you' to the police officers," Henderson said.

Sgt. Dexter Cunningham, supervisor of the precinct's day shift, said all the officers are looking forward to it. "We really appreciate the community we serve thinking of us," Cunningham said. "They care enough about us to think about us."

Day shift is the first of three shifts the residents are feeding. That's about 75 officers total, so plenty of food will be kept aside for the afternoon and night shifts to enjoy a meal, dinner organizers said.

Traditional holiday fare is on the menu, such as turkey, ham, dressing, green bean casserole, macaroni and cheese and congealed salad. Some of the cooks have been working since mid-week on their dishes.

On Wednesday afternoon, the scent of cinnamon and nutmeg swirled in the kitchen at dinner coordinator Dora Sims' Bush Hills home as she prepared five sweet potato pies.

What's one of the secrets to a good pie?

Boil the potatoes in their skins, then plunge them into cold water to peel, she said. It's a trick she learned from her aunt, Lucille Price of Titusville, who was a cook at the Eye Foundation Hospital and gave her the recipe.

"She said it helps keep the nutrients in," Sims said.

Today's West Precinct dinner also marks another chapter in the ongoing "turkey battle" between former Birmingham Mayor Bernard Kincaid and Councilman Steven Hoyt, who compete to see who can cook the best bird. It has been a good-natured rivalry for several years.

Mayor William Bell hasn't entered that fray, but dinner organizers had hoped that when he stops by the precinct today, he would bring another poultry dish -- chicken and dressing, Henderson said. Bell scored a hit when he brought it last year but this year plans to bring a cake baked by his wife.

The Christmas Eve meal at the precinct grew out of the Belview Heights neighborhood's Thanksgiving tradition of preparing and serving a turkey dinner to the community's firefighters. That grew into a community-wide event, and expanded to include a meal for the West Precinct at Christmas.

"The police officers really enjoy this," Sims said. "We look at it as our gift to them."
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Birmingham area forecast calls for cold, clear night, mostly sunny Christmas Eve

Published: Thursday, December 23, 2010, 9:38 PM ??? Updated: Thursday, December 23, 2010, 9:40 PM

Tonight's forecast for the Birmingham area calls for mostly clear skies, with an overnight low of about 29.

Friday will be mostly sunny, with a high of about 53.

There's a 30 percent chance of rain after midnight Friday, with the low expected to be about 34.

Christmas Day, there's a chance of rain and snow, with the high expected to be about 43.

?Keep up with the weather at's Weather Center.


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Santa Claus plans to make rounds on Hoover fire trucks on Christmas Eve

Published: Thursday, December 23, 2010, 5:31 PM ??? Updated: Thursday, December 23, 2010, 5:38 PM

The Hoover Fire Department plans to escort Santa Claus on city fire trucks on Christmas Eve from 4 to 9:30 p.m.

A list of approximate times and locations is posted on the city of Hoover's website at under "city information" and the city's "news" link.

Residents also may call their neighborhood fire stations. Times may change if firefighters respond to emergency calls. In case of bad weather, Santa will visit at the stations from 5 to 7 p.m. or up until an hour after the time the run is canceled.

For more information, call: Station No. 1 (Green Valley, North Hoover): 739-6901; Station No. 2 (Patton Chapel Road area): 739-6902; Station No. 3 (Riverchase area): 739-6903; Station No. 4 (Central Hoover, Rocky Ridge Road ): 739-6904; Station No. 5 (Bluff Park): 739-6905; Station No. 6 (Alabama 150, South Shades Crest Road area): 739-6906; Station No. 7 (Inverness area): 739-6907; Station No. 8 (Greystone): 739-6908; Station No. 9 (Greystone Legacy): 739-6909.

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How to Choose Traditional Wedding Processional

Traditional weddings take place in churches and a variety of other venues, and a traditional wedding ceremony needs a traditional wedding processional. Here, I will walk you through some choices as you choose the music to accompany you on your walk down the aisle.

A wedding is a thing steeped in tradition.? While today's modern bride has choices that brides did not have even ten years ago, many brides still choose to follow a more conservative and traditional route when it comes to their wedding ceremony.? Whether your wedding is going to be in a church or in the garden behind your house, a traditional wedding processional can add a touch of class and tradition as you make your way down the aisle.

First, look to the masters of traditional music.? Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Handel, Haydn, Vivaldi.? Any name you recognize from classical style music is a gold mine of traditional wedding music potential.? Almost all of the music from Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" works well as a wedding processional… and the same is true for Handel's "Water Music".? Search online for these popular composers and spend some time just listening to their music.? Maybe something unique will pop out at you.

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If you are looking for something traditional in the sense that it has been used for weddings many times, talk to brides in your community or online on bridal forums to see what music they used.? "Bridal Chorus" by Wagner is the most used wedding processional of all time, better known as "Here comes the Bride", but brides have been using other traditional and conservative pieces for their walk down the aisle for years.

Bach's "Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring" is a beautiful wedding processional that is soft and slow.? It works perfectly with a live string quartet, but there are also hundreds of great recordings if you prefer to use a CD recording.? Pachelbel's "Canon in D" is another traditional piece you have probably heard at weddings in the past.? It never goes out of style and is an elegant and beautiful song for your walk down the aisle.

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Purcell's "Trumpet Voluntary" or Handel's "Water Music" are two examples of more jubilant songs with slightly faster beats.? I would definitely recommend either of these choices for a daytime wedding, especially one in the spring or summer.

Traditional wedding processionals are all about matching the mood of the music to the style of the wedding.? Even though you are thinking of tradition, that deoes not mean you have to choose slow and boring music.? Lighter and slightly faster music is perfect for a joyous outdoor summer wedding, while a slower, regal tune works well for a formal evening wedding in a large cathedral.? Listen to the music you are considering and picture the atmosphere, time of day, and the decor of your wedding to see if the music matches the ceremony you are trying to create. brand promotion india

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Stink Bug Control Is Needed Across America

The stink bug is reproducing very rapidly and spreading to each and every state at an unbelievable speed. Unfortunately pest control experts have still not been able to find a surefire way of eradicating this menace or even found any effective way of controlling their breeding. Although it has been discovered that most agricultural pesticides can be used to kill the baby bugs but how to get rid of stink bugs in the adult stage has been more difficult because it is resistance to these chemicals and being very strong fliers, they are able to fly from state to state spreading their genre far and wide. Even the pesticides that are used on the adult stink bugs are found to be not effective on a second generation due to there being no residual properties left, and any area treated once has to be treated over and over again to stop fresh invasions.

It has also been found that on the whole the bug is very resistant to any kind of chemical which makes it even more difficult to enforce stink bug control to the masses that are being reproduced rapidly.

They also seem to have the potential to develop further resistance to pesticides when kept on being used over and over again. 2010, it is believed has been a very good for the obnoxious stink bug because even though they usually have the capacity to produce only a single generation a year, this year has found them increasing their production rate up to three generations in some areas which has led to a mass explosion of stink bugs in one year and the year not even at an end as such.

This no doubt is one of the reasons why homeowners in the northeast are complaining of wholesale invasion of stink bugs climbing the outer walls of their homes in thousands and somehow or other finding their way into the homes as well.

As bad as it sounds for those homeowners, it is said to be even worse for farmers who have found to their dismay whole hoards of stink bugs feeding on their crops of blackberry, raspberry, apple, pear, tomatoes, soya bean and cotton and become such a nuisance as well as a serious threat to agriculture and farmlands. Apparently they leave no tree or plant unharmed and most farmers have had to face immense losses due to the damage caused to fruits and crops by stink bugs by causing them to be discolored and unhealthy looking resulting in farmers finding it impossible to sell them to retail outlets.

There is now even more cause for alarm after it was recently found that the stink bug had made its way into California which could create a frightening impact on the state's agriculture industry. One dare not think what the warm climate of California could mean to the stink bug which is always looking for heat and light. If they are allowed to spread their wings and prosper in the sunshine state, which has only very mild winters, these nasty creatures could cause damage running up to millions of dollars, not to mention the shortage of food supplies that could result in such a situation. This makes it a serious enough situations for the government to intervene immediately as otherwise the country could be facing very serious consequences due to the population explosion of stink bugs before long.

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Popular Long Island Web And Advertising Agency

Eface started heading David. e. Feldman as co-owner of eface in 1989, Welcome to the amazing world of In 2006, eFace began producing corporate, industrial and education-related video and TV commercials. eFace media has been a family-owned business serving Long Island and the New York is a leading metropolitan area since 1989. eFace is a leading Long Island web design , long island ad agency, long island development company, New York videographer, video production company , search engine optimization company. In 2006, eFace began producing corporate, industrial and education-related video and TV commercials. eface began as a print media and display advertising company, in the mid-90's a web development division was added to it. Bring a motivated, creative force like us to bear on your challenges.Search engine optimization has grown into a bigger industry than web development. eface media uses organic, non-spam SEO to help your website to get higher rankings in important search engines such as Google, MSN and Yahoo and so on , as well in directories such as Dmoz. Most recently David .e. Feldman has incorporated business research into his skill profile through a Masters Program at Queens College. He is an author and has produced as well directed three films, also TV commercials and organization based videos.

We can also help you to focus your own business and search engine trafficfor your best done work, which will help you connect with consumers and businesses that are searching for exactly what you can do. As a business video provider for Long Island, we have had the opportunity to strategize with clients of all kinds such as industrial, medical, education- or organization-related, and corporate all smart business people seeking growth, better visibility and market penetration for their goods or services.

eface media has been designing logos, corporate identity, brochures, packaging, websites and video for decades. Our clients range from Fortune 100 Companies to local businesses, retailers, wholesalers, distributors, manufacturers and not-for-profits. Good and on time service has been our highest commitment since we were founded in 1989. Our respected client list includes Tyzall, Inc. Corporate Air Solutions, Hubco, Inc., The LI Water Company, 925 Sterling, Narissi FurniturePromo Plus, Ira Furman, Esq., Lu Moreno, Glenn Foods, St. Cloud Monastery, Tagaste Monastery, G&F Systems, Inc., Enjoy-A-Book Club,, Retiring in Comfort, Zeitler Asset Management. Long Island, New York eFace media prides itself on its social consciousness. Projects for not-for-profits and non-profit organizations are offered at affordable prices, often scaled to fit the needs and abilities of the organization or project. Here at eFace we guarantee of good quality work and customer satisfaction.

If you need creative advertising and media buying, your product brochure designed and gets printed and package designed by us or business and not-for-profit video production which more of social work on our part as well as web site developed by us can be seen by the right buying public, then eface Long Island web design is the best solution for you. Let us give the privilege to serve you and satisfy your business and others need.

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Small Personal Loans: Small Finances to Meet Large Needs

Do you want to live a luxurious life? Do you want to but a house or a car for yourself? Do you want to provide all kind of necessities to your kids and your family? There may be many reasons why you might borrow small personal loans. Making an appeal for small personal loans can help you to overcome all your expenses or can help you to live luxurious life as per your wish and many more things. Small personal loans help you to meet many of the expenses occurring in your life. These credits are offered with and without collateral. The borrower should not worry about his fiscal status but only should be capable of returning the amount back on time.

Small personal loans avail you with the sum of £500-£100000 in secured form.

The amount here is quite huge because of the collateral offered by the borrower in the form of security. The repayment period here is from 1-25 years and the borrower needs to pledge some or the other belongings of himself as a security against funds. The amount in unsecured form is from £1000-£25000 and the repayment period ranges from 1-10 years. Here the borrower need not pledge any asset as a security and can avail cash free of assets.

The borrower can easily make appeal for this loan via net. He just needs to do are filling in the online application form with his essential details and submit it to the lender. Once the lender receives the loan application he verifies it and after the verification sanctions the loan amount. The loan amount directly gets deposited in the borrower's bank account and is not available in hand.

These credits are tagged with high interest rates.

These credits help the person to meet many of his financial troubles and satisfy your desires. These credits help you to fulfill your demands.

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Algebra 1 Made Easy

Millions of successful employees around the world agree that number science is important for getting a job in higher rank .And numerous students belief that arithmetic and algebra 1 are the toughest in this branch of science. In schools Algebra 1 is considered as an important part and students failing to do that become targeted for taunts of their teachers. Also it hampers the grade system and the overall ranking in class. Addressing this problem, different companies have introduced Algebra 1 help, on the internet so that these students get good knowledge on the subject and excel in the field.

The process to gather these online tuitions for Algebra 1 is very easy to be done. You just need to put search on the internet for the subject and select your preferred master. The tutors on the internet are all master and PHD degree holders so they can teach you quick strategies, as well as, share their knowledge and experience on cracking the problems.

This may be time taking but once you start practicing and follow their guidelines, it will be easy for you and it will also remove the fear for Algebra 1. Since they are experts, they can guide you even in the toughest problems with absolute ease.

Algebra 1 is composed of huge number of topics and various formulas. It is necessary for every student to learn the formulas by heart and have the brains to understand seeing the problems, which formula to apply. These experts on the internet have experience which helps them to solve these equations. They guarantee assistance on every point for their students.

They also guide the budding learners with tips to learn these numerous formulas and memorize them. They provide tricks to understand the nature of equation and which formula to use on it. The charges of these sites are also very nominal so the students can easily enroll in these tuitions.

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Former Hoover day care worker faces federal child porn charges in Montana

Published: Tuesday, December 21, 2010, 11:30 PM ??? Updated: Wednesday, December 22, 2010, 1:23 AM

A former worker at a Hoover day care has been charged with enticing a Montana boy to send sexually explicit images of himself over the Internet, according to federal court records.

An attorney for the parents of at least one child?at Bright Horizons day care on Riverchase Parkway said parents were "livid" and concerned about any contact the man may have had with their children.

Robert Shane Wilkins, 33, of Homewood, was arrested Thursday and charged in federal court in Montana with conspiracy to sexually exploit children, sexual exploitation of children, distribution of child pornography.

U.S. Magistrate Judge John E. Ott today ordered Wilkins, described as a day care worker who taught third-graders, to continue to be held in jail and ordered U.S. Marshals to transport him to Montana to face the charges.

Wilkins' attorney, Michael V. Rasmussen, responded to the charges.

"He (Wilkins) will be taken to Montana and answer the charges there," Rasmussen said "At this point the allegations concern pornography and not the actual sexual touching of a child. I don't expect there to be any charges concerning that," he said.

Wilkins and another man, Anthony Steven Rodriguez, of Georgia, are accused of both using a YouTube account with the user name "funandfreaky7," according to an FBI affidavit in the case. The men under that user name pretended to be a pre-teen girl.

A 10-year-old Helena, Montana, boy told law enforcement that he had received a friend request from "funandfreaky7" asking to be friends and sending him a video of a preteen girl exposing herself. The child made several sexually explicit videos of himself at "funandfreaky7's" request and sent them to "funandfreaky7," according to the FBI affidavit.

The mother of the boy had called law enforcement in Helena, Montana, on Dec. 6 to report the activity on her son's computer, according to an FBI agent's affidavit in the case.

Rodriguez, who is a convicted sex offender, also has been arrested and charged in the case.

A search of Wilkins' residence -- he lives with his parents -- resulted in the recovery of a computer "that the defendant admitted would contain child pornography," according to Ott's detention order.

Wilkins admitted to communicating with the child in Montana and also to working with Rodriquez to entice children to "self-produce" sexually explicit videos, according to Ott's order.

Ott noted at the bottom of one page of his order Tuesday that prosecutors referenced in the hearing that Wilkins "may have commented to Rodriguez about possibly having engaged in sexual contact with a neighborhood child." No evidence, however, was offered at the hearing about that allegation, according to Ott's order.

Eric Guster, an attorney representing at least one family who has a child at Bright Horizons day care on Riverchase Parkway, said that parents were notified by the day care about the arrest of Wilkins.

Wilkins was fired last week from that day care, Guster said.

Bright Horizons is a day care operated under contract with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, Guster said. Employees of that insurance company use the day care for their children, he said.

Efforts to get comments from?Bright Horizons were not successful?Tuesday.

Bright Horizons officials met with parents Tuesday, Guster said. Parents are concerned about why Wilkins was working there and whether he may have videotaped or taken photographs of their children, or had any inappropriate contact with their children, he said.

"They (parents) are livid to think that their children were exposed to someone who has been accused of this type of activity," Guster said.

Peggy Sanford, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorneys Office in Birmingham, said federal authorities in Birmingham assisted Montana authorities in Wilkins' arrest. "We are looking into whether there were any violations of federal law here," she said.?



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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

James A. Head, businessman, advocate for racial equality, dies at 106

Published: Wednesday, December 22, 2010, 5:30 AM
James A. Head, a prominent businessman and a key leader in pushing for racial progress in Birmingham, died Tuesday after a brief hospitalization. He was 106 years old.

From a hardscrabble childhood, Mr. Head, who never graduated from high school, launched an office and library supply business, James A. Head and Company, in 1926 at the age of 22. The business grew and went on to supply the vast majority of furniture to libraries in Birmingham and throughout Alabama.

In the meantime, Mr. Head acted on a basic aspect of his character: a respect for all people regardless of their race, creed or color. In 1932, he was among the founders of the Alabama Chapter of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, an organization that fought bias against Jews and Catholics.

As the crisis over civil rights brewed in the city, Mr. Head took on a central role in pushing for desegregation, mediating between black leaders and the white establishment.

"There was no other high-profile person in Birmingham who was as consistently outspoken as he was," said Ed LaMonte, recently retired history professor for Birmingham-Southern College. "I don't think there was anyone in the city that spoke as early, as consistently and as passionately as Jim did. He was really an extraordinary figure for any community, and for Birmingham he was super-extraordinary."

Lamarse Washington, executive director of the NCCJ, said the mission of the group was and is to "fight bias, bigotry and racism and promote understanding and respect among all people," and Mr. Head worked for those ideals throughout his life.

Mr. Head served as chairman emeritus of the group, now renamed the National Conference for Community and Justice, until his death, Washington said, and the group gives the James A. Head Lifetime Achievement Award in his honor each year.

Washington said Mr. Head was in the forefront of the push for inclusiveness at a time when few people supported his cause. "The community will really miss him," Washington said.

Mr. Head also served as president of the Birmingham Rotary Club, president of the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, general chairman of the United Appeal and Red Cross, and a member of the Alabama Advisory Committee to the Civil Rights Commission. He was a longtime member of the Samford University board of trustees.

He led fund drives to build Holy Family Hospital in Ensley and Baptist Hospital-Montclair, and to support Samford University's move to Lakeshore Drive.

He was inducted into the Alabama Academy of Honor and the Alabama Business Hall of Fame.

"He was quite a guy," said Mr. Head's son, Gene. "He spent his life serving this town of Birmingham. Dad was a servant."

Mr. Head was born in Tiffin, Ohio, in 1904. But after his father died in 1913, the family moved to Alabama, his mother's native state.

Growing up in the Norwood section of Birmingham, Mr. Head dropped out of high school to help support the family, mowing lawns, delivering newspapers and performing other odd jobs.

At 18, he was hired as a salesman for a manufacturer of library system products and furniture, and four years later he founded his own business. His first big sale was furnishings for the Birmingham Public Library.

Mr. Head married Eugenia Evans in 1927, and the couple had four children: James Jr., Alan, Gene and Virginia. Mrs. Head died in 1981. They have 21 grandchildren.

"He was a good businessman but he was an even better father," Gene Head said. Former Jefferson County Commissioner Chriss Doss described Mr. Head as "a pleasant, positive, jolly fellow with a head full of good sense. He had the kind of respect for people that was exemplary."

Gene Head said his father attributed his longevity to that appreciation for all people and his consistently positive and enthusiastic attitude toward life.

"He treated the waiter at the restaurant the same as he would have treated the bank president," Gene Head said.

"We'll miss his smile and jovial humor," he said.

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Make Your Shifting Comfortable With Experienced Moving Companies

Nowadays the growth of modern equipments and modern technology, shifting with bulk of goods to new location has become much easier. Whether it is moving of household stuff or relocation of office, moving companies have made it much easier.

It is well known to everyone that moving to new location is not a simple task. It paves way for a lot of unwanted tasks and more of all the entire tasks of shifting are full of risks. It also gives pressure and tension to the people which ultimately make the mentally and physically tired. So instead of handling such a risky task it is always advantageous to hire the services of reputed moving company.

People often face many problems to find out consistent and authentic relocation service provider. But people can easily solve this problem by doing some investigation work to find out the best relocation service provider.

Some of the primary things that one needs to find out before hiring the services of moving company are:

Forever, hire a government registered and licensed company. Don't hire agent moving company or unregistered packers and Movers Company.

Find out the historical background of the company and particularly about the quality of the services that it provides.
Ask about the company reputation from the neighbors or friends who know about the company or have hired they services from that company.

Make sure that the company's executive manager comes and checks all the goods that are to be shift. Ask the company executive to fix the price of shifting. Also get a cost on paper so that you don't have to pay any extra cost before or after shifting.
Always move your goods to new home or new location with full certification.

Get all the essential papers in your hand and keep it safely.

If you are buying insurance of your goods, make sure out all the terms and conditions and then only sign the paper of Insurance.
These are a few of the tips that one should follow before hiring the relocation services provides. People will definitely get benefited and will be able to hire the reliable packers movers company at an affordable rate.

There are several packers and movers companies in the market that provides packing and moving services. They provide arrays of services such as packing and moving of residential and marketable shifting, household relocation, office moving, freight forwarding, air mail services, air cargo services, sea freight services, pet moving services, visa clearance, storage & warehousing facilities etc. They also offer other packing and moving services as per the choice and preference of customers. These entire tasks are done with proficiency and with much care and dedication.

Well there are many packing and moving services providers in the market. You can find out the suitable moving company of different states and cities on the internet after doing a research work. Declare if you want to move to Delhi you can find with the keywords like Delhi packers movers, moving companies of Delhi, Relocation Company of Delhi. For Pune look for with keywords like packers movers Pune, movers & packers Pune, moving companies of Pune. For Bangalore packers movers companies locate with keywords like Relocation Company in Bangalore, packers & movers Bangalore, etc.

In this method you can find out the packers and movers companies of other state with keywords in this way. Hire the moving companies according to your choice and make you move to new location in a hassle free way.

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Evacuations ordered in Los Angeles as California braces for more rain

Published: Tuesday, December 21, 2010, 10:39 PM ??? Updated: Tuesday, December 21, 2010, 10:46 PM

LOS ANGELES -- If six days of pounding rain wasn't enough to dampen holiday spirits, a seventh could prove to be downright dangerous.

Forecasters expected heavy rains across California going into Wednesday, and authorities began evacuations late Tuesday as concern grew about potential mudslides in the wildfire-scarred foothills across the southern part of the state.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency Tuesday for Kern, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo and Tulare counties because of the extreme weather conditions.

Officials ordered evacuation of 232 homes in La Canada Flintridge and La Crescenta, foothill suburbs of Los Angeles, because of forecasts of more heavy rains on already saturated mountainsides.

San Diego police evacuated dozens of homes and businesses but no structural damage was reported in the city, said Lt. Andra Brown. A commuter rail station was closed in the city's Sorrento Valley area due to heavy rains. About a dozen homes were evacuated in a cul-de-sac south of downtown.

A mudslide closed one street in the La Jolla area of San Diego.

Farther inland in Riverside, a surge of water swept through a homeless camp near the banks of the Santa Ana River.

Rebecca Truver, 45, was holed up in her tent when her dog and her cat started acting strangely.

"They knew something was happening," Truver said of her dog and cat. "Then all of a sudden the water came through up to my knees."

Three people suffered minor injuries and about 50 lost all their belongings in the flood, Ruth Record, with Come as You Are Homeless Ministries, told the Riverside Press Enterprise.

Other inconveniences have so far been relatively minor: Rescuers had to pluck some stranded motorists from rain-swollen creeks. Shoppers dodged puddles while buying last-minute Christmas gifts. Disney resorts canceled a plan to shower visitors with artificial snow.

"We'll keep our fingers crossed, but the more rain that comes, the possibility of mudslides is definitely real," said Jim Amormino, spokesman for the Orange County sheriff's office, which has rescued nine people from the flooding in the past 24 hours.

"We've been lucky so far, but I'm not sure how much longer the luck will hold out," he said.

For all the perils of the torrential rains, there was a silver lining: The water is expected to help ease the effects of years of drought. Thursday is expected to be dry, with sunshine. There will be light rain on Christmas Day in parts of California.

The immediate concern, however, was the impact of the expected downpours, particularly in areas where wildfires stripped hillsides of the vegetation that keeps soil in place and burns up dead leaves and other debris that act like a sponge.

Downtown Los Angeles received one-third of its annual average rainfall in less than a week. As of midmorning Tuesday, the rain gauge at the University of Southern California campus recorded 5.77 inches. Forecasters said another 2 inches was expected there through Wednesday.

Up to two inches of rain per hour was expected in areas primed for a major mudslide by last year's wildfire in suburbs just north of the city.

The storm was expected to drop a total of 10? to 15? feet of snow at Mammoth Mountain, about five hours northeast of Los Angeles in the Eastern Sierras, capping off what's already made record books as the December ever at the ski resort.

Mudslides are a significant risk for three years after a fire and are especially likely anytime the rainfall rate reaches or exceeds one inch per hour, said Susan Cannon, a research geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey.

That's a likely scenario Tuesday night into Wednesday in the area burned by last year's Station Fire, which charred 250 square miles above the suburbs tucked below the San Gabriel Mountains.

A debris flow of rocks and mud about three feet deep was detected in the area early Tuesday and forecasters warned of possible rainfall rates of .75 inch to 1 inch an hour and thunderstorm rates of 2 inches an hour in the region.

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Shore Excursion To Alexandria Sightseeing Tour From Port Said

Tour Itinerary:

Our Alexandria sightseeing tour will start with pick up service from your ship terminal in Port Said, where our REP will meet you with aboard reflecting your name, then form Port Said by air-conditioned vehicle you will be driven to Alexandria, which was a center of Hellenism and also home to the largest Jewish community in the world. In Alexandria you will be accompanied by your Egyptologist private guide and start your tour by visiting the Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa found in 1900, dated from the second century A.D. and unique for their plan and for their decoration which is a mixture of Egyptian and Greco-Roman elements. The catacombs are three floors in depth and have numerous chambers cut out along passage ways. Proceed Alexandria sightseeing tour to visit the well-preserved Roman Theatre brought to light after 30 years of excavation work underneath a Muslim cemetery.

It encompasses galleries, patches of mosaic flooring and marble seats for up to 800 spectators, only amphitheatre in Egypt that was built by the Romans; and 25-meter-high granite Pompey's Pillar was constructed in honor of the Emperor Diocletian in AD 297 and rising from the ruins of the ancient and famous Serapeion. Continue tour in Alexandria to Fort Qait Bey built in the fifteenth century on the site, and used some of the stones from the ruins, of the famous Pharos of Alexandria, which was built in 279 BC to a height of 125 meters and topped with a statue of Poseidon and destroyed by an earthquake some hundred years previously. Lunch will be served during Alexandria tour in local restaurant in Alexandria, with followed visiting the Library of Alexandria - one of the great cultural centers of the late ancient world and contained thousands of scrolls of Greek, Hebrew and Mesopotamian literature and art and artifacts of ancient Egypt.Continue Alexandria sightseeing tour to visit El Montazah palace finished in a fantastic Turkish-Florentine style by Muhammad Ali in the 19th century and park area covered with palm trees and gazelles. Free time in Alexandria, and then transfer back to your ship terminal in Port Said.

Tour Includes:
-Pick up services from your ship in Port Said
-All transfer by air-conditioned vehicle in Port Said and Alexandria
-Enterance fees to the sightseeing in Alexandria as per tour itinerary
-Lunch during Alexandria tour at a high quality restaurant in Alexandria
-Egyptologist English speaking tour Guide in Alexandria
-Drop off services from your ship terminal in Port Said

Tour Excludes
- Optional tours and personal expenses

Pick up details from Port Said:
- Our REP will be waiting for you at your ship terminal at Port Said with a board reflecting your name
- Pick up time depends upon your ship arrival time at Port Said
- Port Said - Alexandria 3 hours and a half driving
Discount for groups:
We offer a private tours for groups starting from 10 persons and more with discounted rates
Payment plan:
- 25% down payment required to secure the booking and can be done online by Credit card, Visa and Master or bank transfer
- 75% balance will required in pick up from your ship in Port Said and can be paid by credit cards or cash
Booking and Confirmation:
Booking of your trip will be complete and confirmed by your tour designer as soon as we receive the 25% down payment. Booking Confirmation will be sent to you by email in a maximum 1 hour after payment.
Major Cruise Lines docking at Port Said for shore excursions

Costa Cruise Lines - Crystal Cruises - Disney Cruise Line - First European Cruises - Mediterranean Shipping - Norwegian Cruise Line - Orient Cruise Lines - Princess Cruises - Radisson Seven Seas Cruises - Royal Caribbean International - Royal Olympic Cruises - Seabourn Cruise Line - Silversea Cruises - Windstar Cruises - Celebrity Equinox Cruise

Contact Us

Company Name: Albaraa Travel
Email :
Website :
Contact person: Mr. Youssef Eldawy
Cell phone : 002 0145001175

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Virtual Dating Advantages

Internet has changed our life and habits. A big number of clever, serious and interesting but lonely people prefer to meet new people and communicate in the internet.
What are the advantages of online dating? What is the reason of their ever rising popularity? In this article we will tell you about the most important virtual dating advantages.
One of the most important pluses of virtual dating is its anonymity. dating service sites usually offer a great number of candidates and the choice with whom to communicate depends only on you. There is also no necessity to give all your personal information immediately. You can communicate using the dating website, until you are sure you know each other well enough. Only than you can decide to meet or give your phone number.
Without doubts, it is much easier to write a letter to an unknown person than come up at the street and start a talk.For girl and women the method of getting acquainted on the streets is generally not acceptable, but even men often feel shy and cant come up to the girl they liked and ask her phone number. And online dating allows both men and women make a first step without being afraid or shy.
If it turned out that a person you are talking to on the internet is far from your ideal and you dont want to continue your communication, you can always stop dating without any consequences. Thats why, safety is one of the main characters of online dating.
Another important advantage of internet dating is a possibility to know each other better.In the internet you can easily share some thought and wishes you would have never told somebody in real life. The safety of such virtual communication is the most important here, because you understand that the person you are talking to doesnt know who you are, where you live or work. But if you really will find a closed person with the same interests and hobbies, there is a big chance, that your real relationships will be successful.
Online dating gives you a possibility to communicate without any hurry and also gives you important of communicative skills. Be sure, that it will help you in future dating and building relationships.
The real date is the most important part of virtual dating and of course not many people who met on the internet will meet in real life. But the couples, that got acquainted online, usually build especially successful relationships, because they really have many things in common.
In real life you firstly judge people by their appearance and only then start communicating. But in virtual dating, the interesting talk is on the first place. Thats why its easier to find people with common interests online. And if you want to see a person you are talking to before meeting in real life, you can always use a webcam and video chat. Remember, many couples that met online have already created happy families, dont loose your chance!

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

How To Create A Great Trade Show Booth No Matter The Dimensions

You've signed up for a standard 10-foot area at the next industry convention in town, and now you're looking at what type of trade show booth you want to purchase. Narrowing down the style is intimidating enough, but have you thought about size? The size of portable trade show displays is absolutely crucial, because it has such a big impact on how your company is perceived. The actual size is important, but the perception of its dimension is crucial. If the unit feels overbearing and overwhelming, it might scare away visitors. Think ahead, plan your space out ahead of time, and you'll have success no matter what sized tradeshow exhibits you pick.

Small Tradeshow Exhibits

It is very hard to make a table top unit overwhelming. If you're looking at pop up portable trade show displays or panel units that are made specifically to go on top of a table, you probably won't find that you've made it too big.

The only limitation on size here is logistical: you can't use a stand larger than the table can hold. If you will be exhibiting at a space on a table provided by the convention, you'll need to determine how much room you have on that table down to the inch. Ensure that you have enough room for your main stand, and leave extra space that might be necessary for supports. There is nothing worse than having a unit you can't use because of bad measuring.

Medium Portable Trade Show Displays

This size bracket is the most susceptible to improper sizing. The reason for it is simple: companies will often misjudge the impact of tradeshow exhibits this size simply because they don't fit neatly into any other category.

They're not quite large enough to fit in with the very large portable trade show displays, but they're not small enough to fit in with the table top units. Instead, their size must be determined by their style and by the company's needs.

Any style which features a projection outward from the back wall will tend to be more intimidating at a larger size. Many companies choose a trade show booth comprised of one single back wall, either formed from multiple consecutive banner stands or perhaps by panels. Whatever the method, the look is very much the same. The benefit is that you can use the full amount of space that you're given. With just a back wall, it's virtually impossible for portable trade show displays to become overwhelming.

If you are using any other design, you should be careful. Tradeshow exhibits can be hard to judge before you see them in person. If possible, lay out the entire trade show booth on a scale model. Try moving a number of scale people around, and see how it compares. When in doubt, make the unit smaller.

The Large Custom Trade Show Booth

When choosing this type of unit, you're unlikely to be deciding alone. The company should steer you toward an open design, one that allows a lot of walking room. The most successful large units have an airy, open feel that encourages visitors to move through them. Walls should be high-impact when they appear, and may include transparent elements.

Before you finalize the set up of your tradeshow exhibits, do a final walkthrough. You want to see everything for yourself, ensuring that all sizing is appropriate. No matter what size you've ultimately chosen, you should get the same feeling from a well-constructed stand: it should feel right for your company. If you've accomplished that, you've accomplished your goal. ?

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Group that collects people's stories coming to Birmingham in January

Published: Sunday, December 19, 2010, 8:22 PM ??? Updated: Sunday, December 19, 2010, 8:44 PM

A group that collects stories from people of all walks of life to preserve for future generations will be visiting Birmingham in January to capture true tales from local residents.

StoryCorps will have one of its MobileBooths -- a recording studio inside an Airstream trailer -- parked outside the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute from Jan. 6-29 to record the stories of more than 120 people from the Birmingham area. Reservations are required and can be made on two days -- beginning at 10 a.m. on Dec. 23 and again on Jan. 7 -- by calling 1-800-850-4406 or going to the group's website at

Dave Isay, a documentary producer and MacArthur "Genius" grant recipient, founded StoryCorps in 2003. The goal of the group is to give Americans of differing backgrounds and beliefs a way to record their stories. Participants are given a CD of the 40-minute interview and, with the participants permission, a copy is also put into the archives of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

"StoryCorps tells the true American story -- that we are a people defined by small acts of courage, kindness and heroism," Isay says in a prepared statement. "Each interview reminds people that their lives matter and will not be forgotten."

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Freezing overnight low tonight; Monday to be warmer

Published: Sunday, December 19, 2010, 8:00 PM

Expect clear skies and very cold temperatures tonight, with the low expected around 28, according to the National Weather Service.

Monday will be sunny, with a high near 54. On Monday night, look for partly cloudy skies and a low around 42.

Tuesday calls for a 20 percent chance of rain, with mostly cloudy skies and a high near 57. Overnight Tuesday, there is a small chance of rain, with an expected low around 46.

Wednesday should be sunny, with a high near 61. Overnight, expected mostly clear skies and a low around 37.

Stay up to date with Birmingham area weather on's Weather Center.

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Veterans, other commenters speak out on repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell'

Published: Sunday, December 19, 2010, 4:00 PM
In a landmark vote for gay rights, the U.S. Senate voted 65-31 Saturday to pass legislation overturning the military ban on openly gay troops, and President Barack Obama said it was "time to close this chapter in our history."

Repeal means that, for the first time in American history, gays would be openly accepted by the military and could acknowledge their sexual orientation without fear of being kicked out. More than 13,500 service members have been dismissed under the 1993 law known as "don't ask, don't tell." commenters have strong opinions on the repeal of DADT.

Some of the comments come from people who say they are veterans of the U.S. armed forces. Some comments are from people who see the move as a huge stride forward in equality in America.

Others think the measure will put gay soldiers in harm's way. Finally, others apparently don't believe gay people should have the same rights as straight people.

Read the comments below and join the conversation --- but in a civil manner, please.

What do you think?

From God Warrior:
13NC, as a person who has served, i can tell you it didn't make even one iota of difference that there were gays in my unit. I know you like to spout off like your some kind of family values patriot, but you've never done anything for your country but run your mouth.
How about shutting your trap and supporting the troops for a change. or are you a terrorist?

From str8shot:
At some point there is going to have to be a show down between those who believe the Lord our God and those who don't. We cannot have a society that preaches a doctrine against such dispicable behavior (homosexuality) and then passes laws that force acceptance. This cannot survive in harmony. The fate of our society, maybe even our species, may depend on the outcome.

From MobileMarine:
Having served 3 tours in Vietnam, I can tell you if there were gays in my outfit, they did not let anyone know about it.

From mark590:
It's a good day in the US as this policy of discrimination/hate is repealed. TOO many brave men and women have left the military because of the one they love.

From jarheadwife9670:
This has nothing to do with gay rights! This has to do with their SAFETY! Yes, our country is getting more open minded every day and I, personally think that gays and lesbians should have all the same rights as heterosexuals BUT there are still too many backwards thinking folks that will use physical aggression to attack this that they are either fear, don't understand or have simply just closed their minds to. So now gay and lesbian soldiers who are open about their sexuality will be not only in harms way of being attacked by comrades but also at risk of not getting the same back up in combat.

From bamajim14:
Another sad note for the USA ! What in the world is wrong with us??

From plainsman89:
"Liberty and justice for all"....I'm a little less skeptical today.

From redeag1e:
Definitely a sad day for the US military. There was a total lack of critical thinking applied to this vote. Things that had been largely non-issues under DADT will start to be front page news and recruiting among the majority will take a big hit. Gays will self-segregate out of combat jobs and into other specialties that will become so gay dominated that straights will not enlist in those MOSs. The all volunteer aspect will falter so get ready for either a greatly reduced military force or the draft. Conservative Christian denominations may very well withdraw sponsorship of their chaplains causing those to have to leave the service. Think I'm wrong? Cut and paste this an reply back in 5 years.

From baldwinbeach:
Once again the civilian leadership in our government uses the military for social experimentation, since the military has no choice in the matter. Has anyone considered that some "straights" may choose NOT to join the military because of this new policy. Probably Not!

From AuburnWinsAgain:
Its like this back when i was in vietnam and a gay person started coming on to someone he died in his sleep.we knew who were they were and 99% were good troops. that 1% came home in a bag.

From redbaron61:
Another sad day for America.

From Hagar the horrible:
What everyone seems to be over looking, is the fact that it's passed, it's over, move on, and get a life.?I'm for gay's having all the rights the rest of us have, except marriage. And there are way's around that legal obstacle in most cases. Where there isn't a way around it, maybe a way needs to be created, short of regular marriage.

From pilgrim:
I agree that the time has come. As a former Marine, I served with other Marines who clearly weren't into the opposite sex, and everyone pretty much knew it. I never heard a negative thing about it; it certainly didn't damage the cohesiveness of our unit. Those who have an issue with it can choose not to re-enlist, but the majority of today's youth who choose to serve in the military come from a place of greater tolerance that those that precede them. I believe everyone should have the option to serve their country if they are physically and emotionally capable of doing so, and it should be as simple as that.

From vulkanman:
And now the frivolous lawsuits begin in earnest....
?If you thought it was a mess with sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuits when women began serving in combatant roles, this is going to be a nightmare.
?Only the lawyers will win.

From fairhope1:
The next round of Wiki Leaks should release a list of gay Alabama closeted political leaders and outspoken bigots. Just because you hide the truth does not make you a better person.

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Making use of B2B networks for international trade

Business to business, alternatively known as B2B is the exchange of information, products or services between businesses, instead of between a business and a customer. B2B websites can be classified as company websites, products supply and procurement exchanges, specialized or vertical industry portals, brokering sites and information sites. B2B usually implies e-commerce transactions between businesses. B2B can also be viewed as transactions that take place within an industrial value chain prior to it that the finished goods are sold to the consumer or end user. The term B2B not only describes the final transactions between businesses that take place as a result of marketing, but also the marketing activities between businesses. ?Examples of B2B are tyre manufacturing suppliers which provide tyres to an automobile company.


B2B networks can be very useful for international trade.

As an example, let us consider a textile factory located in China which wants to export its products to a garment factory based in India. For this purpose, a B2B network acts as an interface between them. A b2B network helps both the factories locate each other according to each others' specifications. A B2B network helps the importers to locate the wholesalers or manufacturers. At the same time, a B2B network also helps the wholesale exporters to search and contact the importers for a particular product.


A B2B portal carries all the relevant information about a product or a service provided by a business which can be of use of other businesses.

The business type and the service rendered by a B2B network are used to categorize it. A B2B network serves as a platform for businesses where they can list their products or services and hence attract potential customers. In other words, B2B networks serve as meeting places for buyers and sellers all over the world.


A very important aspect of B2B portals is cost effectiveness. It is not always possible for companies based in different countries to catch their business deals through advertising. Companies can not afford to spend huge sums of money on advertising and wait for the results. B2B networks prove to be really helpful for such companies. Such companies can get themselves registered with B2B networks and hence conduct their business. ?Most of the B2B networks provide two different kinds of memberships for companies, wholesalers and suppliers, first of which is basic membership which is free of cost, while the second is premium membership which charges a fixed amount for registration and provides enhanced access to trade leads.

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Instant Approval Bad Credit Loans – Immediate Solution To Urgent Needs

There comes a time in everyone's life when we require cash to meet out some financial emergencies. We are in such a need of money that we can not even wait for few days to get the loan approved. We want an immediate solution to all our needs. This is possible only with our instant approval bad credit loans.

Instant approval bad credit loans are small cash advances which are offered to help needy persons in their hour of need. The best part of such loans is that these are approved without any credit verification. It means that whether you have some defaults in your name or not, you may still apply for such loans. Lenders today are least interested in your credit history. If you fulfill all conditions of loan, then you may very easily get the loan approved.

The amount of such loans is mainly around 1000 pounds.

This amount is mainly offered for a very short span of time. The time period may go from few days to few weeks. It is the time till you receive your next salary. The loans are offered at following conditions:

- A borrower should be a permanent citizen of UK;
- A borrower should have attained an age of 18 years;
- A borrower should be working somewhere earning not less than 1000 pounds each month;
- A borrower should have a valid bank account in his or her name in any bank of UK. It is this bank account which will be credited by the loan amount once it is approved.
If you are interested in such loans, you may also compare the rates of all the lenders available by going through online market research. It would help you in selecting the most suitable loan.

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Stand-off in Rainbow City ends with no injuries

Published: Saturday, December 18, 2010, 9:31 PM ??? Updated: Saturday, December 18, 2010, 9:35 PM

An Attalla man is in custody after a stand-off in Rainbow City tonight that resulted in gunshots but no injuries, Rainbow City police say.

Donald Thrasher, 58, was taken into custody at about 8 p.m. after he allegedly stood in the middle of Rainbow Drive firing random shots, police said.

Thrasher, who was in possession of a high-powered rifle and a handgun during the stand-off, was taken to a hospital for evaluation, according to police.

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Forecast: Chilly overnight, but high of 49 Sunday

Published: Saturday, December 18, 2010, 8:33 PM ??? Updated: Saturday, December 18, 2010, 8:35 PM
The National Weather Service said tonight that people in the Birmingham metro area should expect clear conditions and sub-freezing low temperatures through Sunday night.

? Tonight, the forecast is for calm conditions with a low around 24 degrees. Sunday, forecasters said, is likely to be sunny, with a high near 49 degrees.

? Sunday, it will be mostly clear, forecasters said, with a mild north wind of about five miles per hour. The low is expected to be around 27 degrees Sunday night.

? Temperatures are expected to rise Monday, with a high near 55 degrees and sunny skies. Winds are forecast to be between five miles per hour and 10 miles per hour. Monday night, there is a 20 percent chain or rain, with a low around 45 degrees.

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Social Work: Examining A Distinctive Discipline & A Career

There's no discipline more related to changes in the modern society than social work. Despite being considered as a practical discipline, social work is based on certain theoretical models, a factor common in academic disciplines. It can be suspected that the attention toward social work as a discipline and also as a career can be on the rise, considering that the main concentration of the discipline and the area are problems which are not likely to disappear in the future. Thus, it can be said that besides being an interesting field of study, social work is seen as a perspective career. In that way, the article aims at offering a brief overview of social work and also the advantages of taking such career path.


Providing an overview of social work, it can be stated that the discipline is mainly based on research, the findings of which are based on evidences received from observations.

As a result, students major concentration over study is gaining such evidence-based knowledge. Social work is made up of several subjects and branches such as social sciences, economics, sociology, and psychology. Thus, it can be noticed that social work overlaps with some other disciplines that have a social context.

Social Work as a Profession

Social work as a profession is mostly related to applying the theoretical models mastered to solve problems, making changes, as well as promoting well-being. Having a degree is one of the major requirements for a profession in social work. The settings in which social workers might perform might vary from governmental and non-profit associations, health associations, justice systems, and some others.

The variety of those settings gives a chance not to restrict oneself to a certain field, and simultaneously, pursue social work having different backgrounds.

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Ethics reform in Alabama may bring change

Published: Sunday, December 19, 2010, 6:30 AM

Also contributing: Report David White -- The Birmingham News

MONTGOMERY -- Groundbreaking. Sweeping. Historic.

Incremental. Politically-motivated. Filled with holes you can drive five Mack Trucks through.

These are some of the descriptions of the package of ethics bills approved by the Alabama Legislature in the special session that ended last week. Gov. Bob Riley is expected to sign the bills Monday.

Many legislators and observers say the ethics measures will change Montgomery for the better. But there's disagreement on whether those changes are giant leaps or small steps.

"Alabama's political system underwent more historic change and more reform during the seven-day special session that just concluded than we've ever seen before. Because of these landmark reforms, state and local governments in Alabama will operate more honestly, more openly and with more accountability," Riley said.

"I think there are some good changes ... I don't think it as sweeping as it's been reported to be or was intended to be," said state Rep. Marcel Black, D-Tuscumbia.

In the session, legislators crossed off many items that had long been on reformers' to-do list, including a ban on transfers between political action committees and restrictions on lobbying.

A centerpiece of the session was new limits on what lobbyists, and the people and companies that employ lobbyists, can spend on public officials.

"I think it turns the culture of Montgomery upside down," Alabama Ethics Commission Director Jim Sumner said.

Meal ticket clipped

Lobbyists have been able to spend anything they wanted entertaining a public official and have not had to report it until they spent $250 in a day.

Lawmakers approved limits that ban gifts and would allow a lobbyist to spend no more than $25 on a meal for a public official, with a limit of $150 a year per official. The companies and people that employ lobbyists would be able to buy an official a meal costing up to $50, with a total limit of $250 per year.

Gone are the days of free Iron Bowl tickets for lawmakers, nightly dinners and trips to sporting events, Sumner said.

"We have changed expenditures from $250 a day to $250 a year. It's been pretty commonplace that we've had lavish dinners, entertainment of all types, athletic tickets, trips, golfing, fishing, et cetera. None of that was ever reported because it didn't bridge the $250-a-day threshold. Now, most of that is off the table," Sumner said.

Sen. Bryan Taylor, R-Prattville, sponsor of the bill rewriting the spending limits, said that, compared to Alabama's old system, the new law will be "amazing."

"We zeroed in on, 'Let's limit the lavish wining and dining, the junkets, the unlimited social occasions, the sporting events,'" Taylor said.

Sen. Hank Sanders, D-Selma, said the bill definitely will mean a change for lawmakers.

"I certainly think that it will change a lot of eating habits in Montgomery," Sanders said. He laughed and said he doubts the lack of swanky dinners will have much effect on legislation passed by lawmakers.

"I have not seen the evidence that a ... dinner has caused people to vote differently," Sanders said.

The bill does include several exceptions -- more exceptions than Riley initially proposed -- and some say those are ripe for abuse.

'Education' loophole?

There would be no limit on what a lobbyist or principal could spend on transportation, hospitality, meals and lodging expenses for lawmakers and their spouses to attend "an educational function" sponsored by a lobbyist or principal.

An educational function, according to the bill, must be organized around a formal program and "could not reasonable be perceived as a subterfuge for a purely social, recreational or entertainment function."

There also would be no limit on what a lobbyist or principal could spend on a "widely attended event," such as a dinner or reception at which more than 12 people "with a diversity of views or interests" were expected. Also exempted are "work sessions," but the bill does not define what qualifies as a work session.

Legislators at a minimum still will be able to attend events such as the receptions trade groups throw for them during the session. They also could attend events such as the Business Council of Alabama's annual conference at Point Clear.

Spending on such events still does not have to be reported until it hits the $250-a-day threshold.

Several legislators said the exemptions were needed so lawmakers could go to events like chamber of commerce luncheons without running afoul of the law. But others said the exemptions create large loopholes.

"You could drive five Mack Trucks through the holes in that bill," said Rep. John Rogers, D-Birmingham.

"It's not going to change one thing," Rogers said.

Black, who voted against the bill, said the exceptions are too vague.

"I'm not sure if it's an improvement or not, to be honest with you," Black said.

Black said he was unsure what the "diversity of opinion" requirement for a widely attended event would mean.

"What's that? I'm for Alabama? Who are you for?" Black said.

Taylor disputed that there are holes in the bill. He said events must meet specific criteria to be exempted. He said the bill is a vast improvement over current law, which permits lobbyists to pick up the tab for trips and purely social outings. "It's a giant leap forward for the state," Taylor said.

Kimble Forrister, executive director of Arise Citizens' Policy Project, an advocacy group for poor Alabamians, often has to compete at the State House with deep-pocket lobbyists.

Forrister said he is hopeful the gift restrictions will "level the playing the field," but he's concerned powerful lobbyists will find a way around the law.

"Whenever we do these reforms, I think you hold your breath to see. .¤.¤. I'm concerned they will come up with a whole lot of educational events at golf courses," Forrister said.

Another key bill legislators approved will ban transfers between political action committees, which make it hard to track the source of campaign contributions.

"That will be a big change," said former state Rep. Jeff McLaughlin of Guntersville. "We need to stop the shell game."

Legislators named the bill after McLaughlin, who tried for the past eight years to get a ban passed.

The bill also would ban transfers of money among private foundations or tax-exempt 527 groups, which can spend money for political activities, including ads that attack or praise a candidate's positions but do not explicitly ask people to vote for or against the candidate.

The political fund of a candidate for state or local office also could not receive more than $1,000 from the principal campaign fund of a member or candidate for Congress.

"It stops the laundering of campaign contributions," said bill sponsor Rep. Mac McCutcheon, R-Monrovia.

There still will be ways to obscure the source of campaign funds. It could be hard to trace money that is mingled in a PAC or political party or that comes from out of state. But McCutcheon said the bill will stop the most flagrant hiding of money.

Black and Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, said the ban on transfers of contributions will have the biggest long-term impact of anything approved in the session.

But McLaughlin said he had concerns with the bill as passed, and he would have liked it to be more explicit that PACs couldn't give to political parties.

"I think I'm glad my name is associated with it, but honestly after reading it today, I'm not sure," McLaughlin said.

Perhaps the most controversial bill approved during the session was one to prohibit the Alabama Education Association and other groups from collecting dues by payroll deduction. Senators who opposed the bill say they expect it will end up in litigation.

The legislation would prohibit deductions from government workers' paychecks to fund political action committees or to pay dues to organizations that use the funds to influence elections.

Republicans said it is improper to use state resources to collect funds for political groups.

"We're getting the taxpayers of Alabama involved in collecting political dues, and we should not be doing that," Rep. Lynn Greer, R-Rogersville, argued at the House microphone

But Democrats contended Riley, a Republican, was trying to undercut a traditional power base for Democratic candidates.

"It was personal. It was all about Bob Riley versus Paul Hubbert," said House Minority Leader Craig Ford, D-Gadsden. Hubbert is executive secretary of the AEA.

AEA often has funded Democratic candidates and this year bankrolled attack ads that contributed to Republican Bradley Byrne's defeat at the hands of Gov.-elect Robert Bentley.

Not having payroll deductions could make it more difficult for educators to join AEA and hurt membership, but many Democrats predicted it won't.

"What it will do is, I think Paul Hubbert will not retire now. He will stay very active in keeping teachers organized," Sen. Roger Bedford, D-Russellville, said.

Other changes approved during the session include a ban on "pass-through pork," the practice of a state lawmakers stashing pots of money at agencies or schools that they can distribute later.

Also approved was a bill banning legislators, beginning in late 2014, from holding another state government job. Lawmakers also voted to require people who lobby the governor's office for grants and contracts to register with the state.

The Alabama Ethics Commission for the first time will have the power to issue subpoenas, under another bill approved by legislators.

For years, Ethics Commission has been hamstrung while investigating complaints because it had no power to get documents or make people testify.

The commission could ask local district attorneys to subpoena documents for them, but that was a cumbersome process, Sumner said.

He said the change will, "allow us to get to the truth much quicker and much more efficiently."

Legislators did put checks on the commission's power. They provided an avenue for people to try to quash subpoenas, and they made the directorship of the commission subject to Senate confirmation.

"We are satisfied with the checks they put on subpoena power," Sumner said.

Reform in progress

Riley, who plans to sign the bills into law Monday morning, acknowledged some of the measures didn't go as far as he wanted. But he said Alabama has moved "light years" ahead.

"Does this mean there is no need for more reforms? Absolutely not. .¤.¤. But there is no denying this package of seven bills is a giant leap forward for Alabama," he said.

Overall, said Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, legislators passed historic reforms.

"We delivered ethics reform to the state of Alabama, to the Legislature. I'm not going to sit here and tell you it's perfect. But I think (it) deserves to be said that we moved in an extremely positive direction for the state of Alabama," Marsh said.

Others said only time will tell how much Montgomery is changed.

"I really think we just have to wait and see what impact all of this has. There are too many pieces changing to be able to adequately predict how all of these will come together," Sanders said. "I hope they will make Alabama better. We just have to see."

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