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Monday, March 31, 2008

Monday We Are In The News: MLB Opening Day 2008


So much of this New York baseball season will revolve around the past and the future, with the Yankees watching their state-of-the-art home for 2009 rising across the street from the one that has housed baseball's most storied franchise since 1923.

Yes, change is afoot in the Bronx.

Joe Girardi has replaced iconic manager Joe Torre. The brothers Steinbrenner have taken over the blustery owner's box from their Boss father. And the Yankees - the Yankees! - have taken on the novel approach of relying as much on some homegrown young arms as they are their veteran staples to vault them back to the top of their sport and their first World Series title since 2000.

"Clearly with the change in the managerial side of this thing, and closing out Yankee Stadium, there's a lot of new story lines, but we're feeling good about how we got out of spring training," general manager Brian Cashman said yesterday as the Yanks worked out at the Stadium before .today's season opener against Toronto. "We're hoping to try to rock the house here for one more season before we get over there (to the new Stadium).

"Or someone's going to rock my house."

Cashman drew laughs with that last crack, although general partner Hank Steinbrenner clearly will be watching closely as the GM enters his once unfathomable 11th season at the helm - and also the final year of his contract.

The Yankees' championship drought reached seven years when they were bounced by Cleveland in the AL division series last October. The laid-back Torre then was replaced by the no-nonsense Girardi, while Cashman and/or general partner Hal Steinbrenner basically talked Hank into sticking with the young guns and backing off a potential trade for Johan Santana, now a Met.

"I'm excited about this club. I like the character of this club and I like the heart of this club," said .Girardi, whose first camp ran smoothly other than some bad blood with the Tampa Bay Rays. "They showed me that in spring training and I was very proud of them . . . their work ethic.

"Whenever you have a change, there are going to be things that are done a little bit different. They embraced it and did it with open arms, and for that I'm thankful."

Girardi, who previously has served the Yankees as catcher, coach and broadcaster, was forced out after one season as manager of the Florida Marlins over clashes with owner Jeffrey Loria despite earning NL Manager of the Year in 2006.

He also is savvy enough to emit a keen sense of history and reverence for Torre, calling the new Dodgers skipper "a mentor to me" while discussing the "amazing run" of four championships in six seasons that began when both men arrived amid some controversy before the 1996 season.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

TOP DRIVERS TO GET TOP HONORS

NEW YORK CITY - The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission will
host its Sixth Annual Driver Recognition Ceremony to honor New York
City's best Taxi Drivers and For-Hire Vehicle drivers.

The TLC will join with it's partners NYC & Company, the city's travel,
tourism and marketing agency; and Tishman-Speyer, co-owners of
Rockefeller Center and operator of New York 's most outstanding event
venue "Top of the Rock."

Top honorees will include:
* "Driver of the Year" Charles Kabbani, whose quick thinking helped
save the life of a passenger suffering a seizure;
* "Matchmaker Cabbie" Ahmed Ibrahim, who is now famous for his "livery
love matches";
* Douglas Guldeniz, whose historic fare to Sedona Arizona earns him
the "Going the Extra Mile!" award
* And many more!

WHO: NYC TLC Commissioner/Chairman Matthew W. Daus and Tom Madden,
Managing Director, Tishman-Speyer.

Special Guest Speakers: Ben Bailey, Celebrity Host of TV's "Cash Cab"
and Tom Wopat, star of Broadway's "A Catered Affair."

WHERE: Top of the Rock
30 Rockefeller Plaza,
New York, N.Y. 10112
Tel: (212) 698-2000

Enter through the revolving doors on 50th Street , between 5th and 6th
Avenues, under the NBC/Observation Deck/Rainbow Room Marquee. Cross
the corridor to the up escalator for the mezzanine level. Private
elevators will take guests to the 67th Floor for check-in.

WHEN: Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 1100 a.m.

For more information, please contact:
Allan J. Fromberg
NYC TLC Deputy Commissioner of Public Affairs
Tel: (212) 676-1013
Fax: (212) 676-1101

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tech Tuesday: Kindle: Amazon's New Wireless Reading Device


Product Overview

-Revolutionary electronic-paper display provides a sharp, high-resolution screen that looks and reads like real paper.
-Simple to use: no computer, no cables, no syncing.
-Wireless connectivity enables you to shop the Kindle Store directly from your Kindle—whether you’re in the back of a taxi, at the airport, or in bed.
-Buy a book and it is auto-delivered wirelessly in less than one minute.
-More than 110,000 books available, including more than 90 of 112 current New York Times® Best Sellers.
-New York Times® Best Sellers and New Releases $9.99, unless marked otherwise.
-Free book samples. Download and read first chapters for free before you decide to buy.
-Top U.S. newspapers including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post; top magazines including TIME, Atlantic Monthly, and Forbes—all auto-delivered wirelessly.
-Top international newspapers from France, Germany, and Ireland; Le Monde, Frankfurter Allgemeine, and The Irish Times—all auto-delivered wirelessly.
-More than 250 top blogs from the worlds of business, technology, sports, entertainment, and politics, including BoingBoing, Slashdot, TechCrunch, ESPN's Bill Simmons, The Onion, Michelle Malkin, and The Huffington Post—all updated wirelessly throughout the day.
-Lighter and thinner than a typical paperback; weighs only 10.3 ounces.
Holds over 200 titles.
-Long battery life. Leave wireless on and recharge approximately every other day. -Turn wireless off and read for a week or more before recharging. Fully recharges in 2 hours.
-Unlike WiFi, Kindle utilizes the same high-speed data network (EVDO) as advanced cell phones—so you never have to locate a hotspot.
No monthly wireless bills, service plans, or commitments—we take care of the wireless delivery so you can simply click, buy, and read.
-Includes free wireless access to the planet's most exhaustive and up-to-date encyclopedia—Wikipedia.org.
-Email your Word documents and pictures (.JPG, .GIF, .BMP, .PNG) to Kindle for easy on-the-go viewing.
-Included in the box: Kindle wireless reader, Book cover, Power adapter, USB 2.0 cable

Monday, March 24, 2008

Monday We Are In The News

MUSCLE CARS RULE AT THE AUTO SHOW

NEW YORK CITY -- Here at the New York International Auto Show, nothing
is slowing down the parade of muscle cars taking the stage. Chrysler
is showing off its reborn Dodge Challenger, with a screaming V-8 hemi
engine. GM rolled out three hot-rod Pontiacs, including a pickup truck
inspired by the El Camino from the 1970s. Nissan rolled out a new
version of its smoking hot Maxima sport sedan, with a 290-horsepower
engine.

Every other auto show this year has been overrun with futuristic
plug-in electric Chevys and switchgrass burning Biofuel Ferraris. But
here, it's green be damned. Like an infamous Yankees pitcher, the New
York Auto Show is all about the juice. The only difference:
performance enhancement isn't denied, it's celebrated and glorified.

What are these guys thinking? Well, let's give them the benefit of the
doubt and say they planned these new model intros long before they
knew about bank failures, $100 a barrel oil and federal bailouts. But
shouldn't the car business, of all industries, be able to switch gears?

"We have both" green and mean, says GM vice chairman Bob Lutz,
standing near a Corvette and a hybrid Chevy Tahoe SUV. "Just because
vegetarianism is on the rise doesn't mean you shut down the meat counter."

The meat counter, though, is not getting a lot of business these days.
Sales for GM's ultimate muscle car, the Corvette, are down 18.6
percent to-date. And Detroit's meatiest models, pickup trucks and big
SUVs are tanking. Fold in the consumers' crisis of confidence and
you've got a guy sitting at an office desk that gets 100 Mpg.

J.D. Power and Associates this week forecast U.S. auto sales will
reach their lowest level since 1994, falling below 15 million vehicles
for the first time this decade. Just three years ago, Americans
purchased 17 million cars and trucks. "Autos have been a leading
indicator of what is happening in the rest of the economy now," says
Nissan executive Dominique Thormann. "Our industry has been in
recession for the last three years."

What models are those brave few buyers laying down deposits on? Small,
fuel-efficient cars. Just ask Honda. It introduced a new version of
its Honda Fit subcompact at the New York show Wednesday. Sales of that
little runabout, which gets 34 miles per gallon on the highway are up
87 percent so far this year. And the new version coming this fall
manages to be just a little bigger and yet improve its mileage by a
mile or two per gallon, says Honda senior vice president Dick
Colliver. Asked why Honda didn't flex a little muscle in New York like
the Detroit automakers, Colliver said, "We wanted to show a car that
people actually want to buy."

Don't try telling that to the folks at Pontiac, who provided the most
steroidal and surreal moment of the show when 50 Cent joined
76-year-old Bob Lutz on stage to introduce three new hot rods. "Hi 50,
how are you doing?" the white-haired senior statesman of the industry
said as he shook hands with Fiddy, dapper in red Harvard hat and track
jacket. The rapper is an automotive tastemaker who made a star out of
the Chrysler 300C by casting it in one of his videos. But he's working
for Pontiac now and by the looks of things on stage, he's earning his
money. "This Solstice if faster than a Boxster," 50 said, patting the
fender of Pontiac's little duce coupe.

Like two rock stars from alternative universes, Lutz and 50 stood back
to back on stage fielding questions from the media horde that
descended upon them after their press conference. And 50 sounded less
like his expletive-laced songs and more like an M.B.A. from that
school on his hat. "Where I come from, people equate quality with how
much you pay," said 50, a huge diamond-and-gold-encrusted cross
swinging from his neck.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Picture Of The Week

Boeing 727 Limo

That’s correct, someone has taken a Boeing 727 and mounted it on a Mercedes bus frame. This 24,000-pound beast seats 50 and supposedly is street legal. Of course This Boeing 727 Jet Limo has all the luxury features you would expect in a super-sized limo including a sunken living room with a dance floor, big screen TV, fireplace, full bar, fog machine, tons of lighting, ceiling mirrors, and aerodynamic seats. Right now you canít rent it for a night out on the town with friends, but you can buy it over on ebay. (Current high bid $269,900)



Thursday, March 20, 2008

New York International Auto Show


Location: Jacob Javits Convention Center 11th ave
between 34 & 39 Streets

Public Show Dates : Friday March 21st through Sunday March 30th
11am - 10:30pm (Sundays: 10am - 7pm)

Special Public Sneak Preview: Friday March 21st
11am - 10:30pm

Official Opening Day: Saturday March 22nd
Festivities begin at 9am
SHOW FLOOR OPENS AT 11am

Press Preview: Wednesday March 19th & Thursday March 20th
Credentials required

Dealer Preview: Thursday, March 20th from 4-10 pm
Credentials required By invitation only


Note: all information is subject to change

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

BostonCoach C.O.O. Mark Munoz Elected to National Limousine Association Board of Directors Munoz to Share Extensive Experience in Advancing Chauffeure


BostonCoach, a leading ground transportation and transportation management company, today announced that Mark Munoz, the company's chief operating officer, was elected to an at-large seat on the National Limousine Association (NLA) board of directors for the 2008-2011 term. Munoz brings to this new role more than 25 years of management, operations and client-service experience.

"Our industry faces many challenges and opportunities, and I'm looking forward to playing a more direct role as an NLA board member," says Munoz. "Together with the rest of the board, I'll work hard to ensure that the NLA is addressing all the pressing needs and concerns of its members." The National Limousine Association was established in 1985, the same year in which BostonCoach was founded, to represent the worldwide, national, state and local interests of the luxury chauffeured ground transportation industry.

Members include limousine owners and operators, suppliers, manufacturers, and regional and state limousine associations.

"The NLA is committed to improving the chauffeured transportation industry and serving the interests of our members," says NLA president Jeff Greene. "Mark brings invaluable perspective and ideas to the organization, and we welcome his leadership." As chief operating officer at BostonCoach, Munoz is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the company, which span 32 countries on four continents.

About BostonCoach BostonCoach provides ground transportation and transportation management worldwide. Operating a network of more than 21,000 vehicles ranging from sedans and SUVs to business-class vans and limousines, BostonCoach specializes in tightly choreographed, multi-stop road shows, major sporting events, trade shows and other complex events.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Tech Tuesday: Pioneer DEH-P6000UB


The Pioneer DEH-P6000UB is a stylish car stereo with several sophisticated options for its as-standard iPod support, and a wealth of audio tweaking and processing options including its Advanced Sound Retrieval for compressed audio files.

If you want to purchase the Pioneer DEH-P6000UB click here .

Monday, March 17, 2008

Monday We Are In The News: NYC TAXI GPS LAWSUIT WITHDRAWN

NEW YORK CITY -- The New York City Law Department announced today that
the plaintiffs seeking to stop the Taxi and Limousine Commission's
(TLC) program of taxi technology service improvements, including GPS
equipment, have withdrawn their lawsuit. The suit, brought last
September, sought to prevent the program from going forward as
scheduled. But the court, the U.S. District Court for the Southern
District of New York, rejected the plaintiffs' request last September
to grant a preliminary injunction, finding that plaintiffs had failed
to demonstrate that they were likely to succeed on any of their
claims. Today, the Court signed off on a legal stipulation ending the
lawsuit.

The lawsuit had challenged the innovative program initiated by the TLC
to provide improved technology in taxicabs that enabled passengers to
pay by credit card, to monitor travel on video screens, and to provide
automated trip records through GPS equipment. The service enhancement
program has been in effect since October 2007, and is viewed by both
the TLC and the public as a success.

The plaintiffs, including the New York Taxi Workers Alliance,
continued to press their claims after their initial loss in court on
the preliminary injunction issue. However, after several months of
successful operation of the program, they agreed to withdraw their
complaint "with prejudice," meaning they cannot bring the suit again.
As noted, the Court today approved the agreement of discontinuance of
this litigation, in which it is agreed that the TLC will continue its
enforcement of its rules and regulations, including the requirements
for the GPS technology and customer service improvements.

"Just as taxi riders have embraced the conveniences of the new
technology, taxi drivers are now likewise seeing the benefits of the
systems in their own lives. Drivers are earning more money in tips on
credit card rides, and this payment option is growing more popular
every day," said TLC Commissioner/Chairman Matthew W. Daus. "It is
particularly gratifying that this comes within days of our having
achieved the milestone of seeing the 10 thousandth taxicab equipped
with the new systems and this victory will speed us on to see this
already successful project continue toward the goal of equipping every
taxicab in the city."

Paula Van Meter of the Law Department's Administrative Law Division
led the legal team, with input from Division Chief Gabriel Taussig.
"This is a complete victory for the City, and it will allow all taxi
passengers to enjoy the benefits of these service improvements,"
Taussig noted.

The New York City Law Department is one of the oldest, largest and
most dynamic law offices in the world, ranking among the top three
largest law offices in New York City and the top three largest public
law offices in the country. Tracing its roots back to the 1600's, the
Department has an active caseload of 90 thousand matters and
transactions in 17 legal divisions. The Corporation Counsel heads the
Law Department and acts as legal counsel for the Mayor, elected
officials, the City and all its agencies. The Department's 650-plus
attorneys represent the City on a vast array of civil litigation,
legislative and legal issues and in the criminal prosecution of
juveniles.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Picture Of The Week


This after Gov. Spitzer resign from office because of the prostitution scandal.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

How To Cut Car Insurance Costs By More Than 10%

Fact: To drive legally in the UK, you are required to have car insurance to protect yourself and other drivers. It's one of the unavoidable expenses of owning and driving a vehicle on the road.

Whilst car insurance is a fact of life, high premiums are not. There are many ways to control the cost of your motor insurance premiums and even reverse recent increases in some cases. Here are just a few tips that can save you well over 10% on your car insurance this year.

1. Search online for the best quotes.

Often, car dealers work with a specific insurer "for your convenience". Before snatching the first motor insurance policy you find, do some research and shop around. Use a price comparison site to compare multiple policies side by side. Car insurance quotes can vary by hundreds of pounds for the exact same cover.

2. Buy online at the insurer's site.

Many, if not most, insurance companies offer hefty discounts when you buy your cover online. Why? They save money on time and agent commissions that way. It's standard to offer a 10% discount when you buy your car insurance online. While not everyone can buy online, there can be significant savings if you can and do.

3. Review when you renew.

Don't simply renew you policy when the time rolls around. Go over it to make sure that it still meets your needs and circumstances - and then request a new quote. Insurers will nearly always offer a lower quote when you're shopping around for policy than when they think they have you hooked.

4. Secure your car.

Since your premium is based on the risk of damage or loss of your car, every step you take to make your car more secure and safe will reduce your premium. Park it off street or in a garage, add a steering lock or an alarm and see your premiums go down.

5. Drive less.

The less you drive, the less your chance of being involved in an accident. If your mileage is lower than the norm, inform your insurer and find out if they offer a low mileage discount.

6. Be honest on your application.

While this technically will not lower your insurance premium, it can make a huge difference when you make a claim. It may be tempting to claim your auntie's suburban address as your garaging site and knock a few pounds off your premium - but if you need to make a claim, the insurance company could find out. If they prove you misrepresented the facts on your application, your claim will be declined and may end up liable for any damages from the accident to boot.

7. Pay in full at the start of the policy.

Check with your insurer to find out if you're charged more for paying in installments. In essence, when you pay in installments, you're taking a loan from the insurance company for your premium, and paying them back - with interest.

8. Pay by direct debit.

If you do choose to pay in installments, find out if your insurer discounts your premium when you pay by direct debit. Since direct debit greatly decreases the likelihood of late and missed payments, most insurers are happy to knock a few quid off the premium when you pay that way.

9. Add an extra driver to your policy.

In some cases, adding an additional driver to your policy will lower your premium, especially if that driver is older, female and has a good driving record.

10. Take a defensive driving course.

Many insurance companies will discount your premium if you complete a course in safe or defensive driving. In general, anything that reduces your accident or loss risk may lower your car insurance premiums.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Bad Credit Used Car Loans - adverse credentials no hurdle in owning car by Gary grobowski

To buy a new car is often not that easy for every aspiring person because of financial constraints. He therefore settles for a used car but here also he faces one big hurdle as he is labeled bad credit in the loan market, making lenders suspicious in offering loan. Bad credit used car loans can take care of all the worries of such borrowers. The loan can be utilized in buying any type of used car.
Borrowers of bad credit used car loans need not to worry about their bad credit at all. Lenders do not take pains in doing extensive credit checks while such people intend to buy used cars. This is mainly owing to the fact that any car loan including used car loan is essentially a secured loan. Lender either asks the borrower for giving any property to secure the loan or he can ask for deal papers of used car. The deal papers are returned to the car owner when the loan is finally paid off. Meanwhile the owner can have and enjoy the car.

However despite the security, there are risks present in the loan offer for a lender. If the borrower fails to repay the loan, lender may not get back the entire loaned amount by selling used car, the price of which may have gone down sharply. To cover the risks, lenders charge higher interest rate on bad credit used car loans. But a loan seeker can take the loan at comparatively lower interest rate if he comparers different loan packages as each lender has own rate of interest on the loan.

When the lender approves you the loan, this allows you to buy used car. Take some precautions while buying the car. Used car may have mechanical defects. Repair those defects your self or in case you are not in a position to pay for repairs, better buy a used car with a warranty. There are many buy-here-pay-here car lots. Skip them as they generally have low quality used cars and they will not report the car deal to credit rating agency. Therefore this car deal will not be recorded in your credit report, depriving you an opportunity for improving credit score.

Numbers of lenders have displayed bad credit used car loans on their websites. Search these sites so to get an insight of the loan market and the prevailing interest rate or terms-conditions. Compare interest rates before settling for a lender. Apply to the lender on a online simple format giving required details. Lender will soon convey the loan worthiness and approval in no time after verifying the information about you.

Make sure to pay off the loan installments in time as this will improve credit score and help in avoiding debts. The loan gives you easy access to used car so get the best of opportunity.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Monday: We Are In The News

Taxi van for disabled riders aces test - in a New York minute

A disabled-riders group showed off a specially equipped taxi van yesterday that takes seconds to load a passenger and wheelchair.

"It's a rear-entry vehicle ramp that can load and secure a passenger in under a minute," said Michael Harris, head of the Disabled Riders Coalition. "And that's from when you hail the cab to when your chair is secure and the driver is ready togo."

Harris contrasted that with the arduous process of getting a disabled passenger into a sedan and his or her chair into the trunk, which he said can take as long as 20 minutes.

Dozens of onlookers lined up at the demonstration site at 23rd St. and Seventh Ave. to try the system.

There are just two of the modified Toyota vans plying the city at the moment, part of a pilot program Harris hopes to see expanded as soon as possible.

"It's our hope that the Taxi and Limousine Commission will approve this for use as a taxicab soon," Harris said.

Once the design has the TLC's stamp of approval, "We could see as many as 50 or 60 on the streets in a matter of weeks, and over 100 in a few months," said Harris.

Harris said more wheelchair-accessible taxis would not only make life easier for the disabled, but would ease pressure on the city's overstressed Access-A-Ride system.


________________________________________________________
Upcoming Events

2008 International LCT Show
Mar 17, 2008 - Mar 19, 2008

Location: Las Vegas, NV
Contact:
Sponsored By: LCT Magazine

Description:
The 2008 International LCT Show will be held in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on March 17-19, 2008.

NLA members receive a 10% discount on Show registration fees.

For more information, please see the LCT Show's website.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Making The Most Of Taxi Limousine Shuttle Services

Using the Internet to make reservations for Taxi Limousine Shuttle Services sent me on a fact-finding mission to find out about these services. Taxi Limousine Shuttle Services are located in all major urban centers of North America.

A Taxi Limousine Shuttle Service may save you up to 50 percent on eleventh hour limo rentals. You may likewise save upwards of 50 percent by hiring a limo Sunday through Thursday.

There are plenty of reasons to use limousine rentals. It is important to provide business travellers with a reliable chauffeur driven service. Each of the chauffeurs at My Chicago Limousine Rentals is professional, knowledgeable and very familiar with the needs of business travellers. They try their very best to get people to and from their meetings in the most efficient, timely and comfortable way possible.

Airport transports and Taxi Limousine Shuttle Services go together securer than you might surmise. Most top notch services allow you with experienced chauffeurs to transfer people safely from the airport to their intended destination. All a Taxi Limousine Shuttle Service needs is someone’s flight details. If you use a quality service, a fully uniformed chauffeur will meet you in the arrivals lounge at the correct time and will assist you to a waiting limo or executive car for your journey.

A limo for your wedding party is altogether different and merits unique attention. The more effective Taxi Limousine Shuttle Services provide a worry-free Limousine wedding party service for everyone. They treat weddings in the special way they should and some even provide a fresh red rose, complimentary drinks or a chilled bottle of bubbly for the bride and groom.

After a wedding party, Taxi Limousine Shuttle Services will take the lucky couple off to their next destination, whether it be the airport for their honeymoon or a hotel. The wedding bundle proposed by many Taxi Limousine Shuttle Services is usually popular and high quality so it’s well-advised that you make reservations for their services as soon as the wedding date is determined.

A special party evening in the city can be enhanced greatly with a quality Taxi Limousine Shuttle Service. Whether it’s a night on the town, a stag or stagette party, a sports event, an night at the theater or simply breaking it down at one of the cabarets in your city, A good Taxi Limousine Shuttle Service is the one service to call first. They provide the best of the night with quality, luxurious limousines and sedans with not a worry about drinking and driving. Taxi Limousine Shuttle Services offer a worry-free night out of drinking, partying, driving and parking.

My Chicago Limousine Rentals knows that there are some very special events for teenagers. They offer graduation and prom packages that include the lowest rate anywhere in Chicago with complimentary sodas and apples. They are the ones to call if you want to make the night special.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

GAS PRICES SOAR

problems became clearer Tuesday
with the release of figures showing that prices at the producer level
rose 1 percent in January from December, driven in large measure by
energy costs. Compared with a year ago, prices were up 7.4 percent,
the worst producer price inflation in the United States since 1981.

Other new figures showed that home prices around the country are
falling at an accelerating pace, suggesting no end is in sight for the
housing slump.

As of Tuesday, regular gasoline was selling at a nationwide average of
$3.14 a gallon, according to AAA, the automobile club, up from $2.35 a
year ago. The price has jumped 19 cents a gallon in two weeks.

Energy specialists predict that, as demand picks up further this
spring and summer, retail prices will surpass the high of $3.23 a
gallon set last Memorial Day weekend. That high fell short of the
inflation-adjusted record of $3.40 in today's money that was set in 1981.

On Tuesday, diesel prices rose to a record $3.60 a gallon, compared
with $2.62 a gallon last year.

For a decade, rising oil prices failed to dent global economic growth.
In the United States, consumers absorbed the higher costs because of
easy credit and rising prosperity, while in developing countries,
government subsidies helped ease the pain. The rise in energy prices
was a result of growing demand around the world.

The price of oil has quadrupled in six years, and the close Tuesday
was not far below the inflation-adjusted high set in April 1980, after
the Iranian revolution. That record, $39.50 a barrel, equals $103.76
in today's money.

As oil prices spiked last fall, low wintertime gasoline demand helped
keep prices in check. But now, experts say, the price of oil is
finally showing up at the pump.

Still, things are not quite as bad as during the 1970s and 1980s oil
shocks. In the early 1980s, at the height of the last energy crisis,
energy accounted for about 8 percent of household spending. As prices
fell and the economy became less energy-intensive, energy costs fell
under 4 percent of household spending in the early 1990s.

With the run-up in prices in recent years, economists say energy's
share of disposable income is slowly creeping up again. In December,
that figure reached 6.1 percent, the highest level since 1985. The
increase of two percentage points, amounting to $200 billion, is a
huge sum, a little less than half what Americans spend each year on
new cars and automobile parts.

"You're adding an oil shock on top of a crunch on credit and a housing
collapse," said Nigel Gault, an economist at Global Insight. "Even the
U.S. economy cannot withstand all of that at the same time."

American consumers have responded belatedly by cutting back on their
energy use. Oil demand in the United States grew by just 0.4 percent
in 2007 and is expected to be flat in 2008.

But global oil demand, the relentless driver behind higher prices, is
still expected to increase by 1.4 million barrels a day this year,
analysts estimate. That growth, from China and the Middle East, may
help keep prices up, whatever happens to the American economy.

According to the latest forecast by the Energy Department, gasoline
prices should peak near $3.40 a gallon this spring.

But many analysts consider the government's forecast conservative,
foreseeing a sharper spike as refiners come out of the seasonal
maintenance period and start producing summer-grade gasoline in March
and April.

"We've gone this high without the normal summer dynamics," said Tom
Kloza, publisher and chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information
Service. "That's when I think we will have the big jump, of 50 cents
to 75 cents a gallon."

Mr. Kloza said he expected gasoline to peak around $3.50 to $3.75 a
gallon nationwide. Geoff Sundstrom, AAA's spokesman, echoed that view
and added that gas at $4 a gallon is possible this summer. "We've gone
from a worrying situation for gasoline to one that is quite alarming,"
Mr. Sundstrom said.

Oil prices are unlikely to drop anytime soon, analysts said. Barclays
Capital recently increased its long-term prediction, saying prices
could reach $137 a barrel in 2015, up from a previous target of $93 a
barrel.

"The remorseless move up in long-run prices has not yet fully played
out," Barclays analysts said in a note to investors.

While demand keeps growing, producers are struggling to catch up. They
are not replacing the oil they are pumping out of the ground fast
enough because of restrictions on access to fields, as well as rising
costs. Meanwhile, demand in China, India and the Middle East is
expected to push oil consumption up by more than one million barrels a
day, each year, for the next decade.

"An oil crisis is coming in the next 10 years," John B. Hess, the
chairman of the Hess Corporation, said at a recent conference held by
Cambridge Energy Research Associates. "It's not a matter of demand.
It's not a matter of supplies. It's both."

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Fuel Cell Technology In NYC

NORWALK, CT -- Virgin Atlantic, one of the world's leading long-haul
airlines, and General Motors, the world's largest automaker, today
announced that the airline will offer passengers a zero-emissions
Chevrolet Equinox Hydrogen Fuel Cell car as part of its Upper Class
limo service.

Initially passengers in Los Angeles will take part in the trial which
will not only enable them to experience the next generation of cars
but also reduce their carbon footprint. The hydrogen fuel cell limo
service is expected to be extended to New York City later this year.

Richard Branson, President of Virgin Atlantic, commented: "Our mission
to be the sustainable airline is clear, both on the ground and in the
air. Partnerships such as this with General Motors show that we are
pioneering in the aviation industry when it comes to reducing
emissions at every stage of our passengers' journey."

"We are calling upon governments worldwide, not just the UK and US, to
assist businesses by building hydrogen filling stations in key cities
so that drivers can fill up their cars more easily. As a first step,
existing filling stations could add renewable energy pumps alongside
other fuel pumps.

This new technology will only become commonplace if businesses and
drivers are motivated to adopt it quickly, and that's where
governments need to play a major role." As part of the Upper Class
flight experience, Virgin Atlantic travelers receive complimentary
transportation to and from the airport in Chevrolet Equinox fuel cell
vehicles.

Initially three Equinox vehicles will become part of the fleet of cars
used to transport Upper Class passengers to and from Los Angeles
International Airport.

The partnership is the latest in the airline's sustainability efforts.
Utilizing the Equinox Fuel Cell vehicle as part of the Upper Class
automotive fleet will not only reduce the airline's overall carbon
output, but more importantly, will serve as an important real world
market test. It will enable GM to get practical customer feedback from
drivers and passengers.

Dr. Larry Burns, Vice-President for Planning and R&D at General
Motors, commented: "This is a great partnership. Sir Richard Branson
and the Virgin brand are globally-recognized, and Virgin Atlantic
customers are educated and influential people concerned about the
environment.

This business partnership is an important piece of the Project
Driveway program. The Virgin Atlantic team will help us learn a great
deal about how fuel cell vehicles perform in an every-day commercial
environment."

Powered by GM's fourth-generation fuel cell propulsion system, the
Equinox Fuel Cell electric vehicle is a fully-functional crossover
vehicle. Fuel cell technology and hydrogen fuel represents a step
change for the automotive industry and will substantially reduce the
industry's impact on the environment.

This initiative is part of GM's Project Driveway, the largest market
test of its kind, which is currently launching 100 Hydrogen Fuel Cell
vehicles to streets and driveways in California, New York and
Washington DC. Additional market tests are planned for Europe and
Asia, beginning later this year.

Monday, March 3, 2008

In The News Monday


Queens cabbie claims he did 'right thing' for abandoned baby
The cabbie who fooled New York with the heart-tugging tall tale of a baby deserted in his backseat remained unrepentant Sunday night, insisting, "I did the right thing."

Klever Sailema, who went from hero to fraud in less than 48 hours, insisted his big lie was only meant to mask a benevolent attempt to save the adorable 6-month-old girl from being ditched in the cold.

"I feel bad, but ultimately I feel like I did the right thing. My intentions were not to lie to the police," the 45-year-old livery cab driver, an Ecuadoran immigrant, told the Daily News.

The baby, now identified as Daniella Perez, was first abandoned by her 14-year-old mother, who bolted more than a week ago, leaving the brown-eyed little girl with pierced ears in the care of her father, Carlos Rodas, 27, Sailema said.

Sailema said he was dragged into the desperate situation by Rodas' sister - a waitress he's been dating for only two weeks.

The girlfriend, Maria Siavachay, 21, who also spoke to The News Sunday night, helped Rodas dress the infant in a pink outfit and begged Sailema to take her to a Queens fire station Thursday morning.

Sailema was asked to drop Daniella off because he was the only one in the country legally. He said Siavachay pleaded with him after Rodas, a construction worker, walked off, supposedly to go to his job.

"Finally, I said, 'Okay, I'm going to do it. I'm going to do it to help you, but above all to help the baby.' "

Sailema, who is divorced, said his heart went out to the child as he thought of his own three daughters, ages 26, 23 and 8.

"I was afraid the baby might end up abandoned in the bitter cold," he said "I felt so badly for the baby. She was left with no dad and no mom."

The night before Sailema took Daniella to Engine 289 firehouse in Corona, Rodas told his sister of his decision to abandoned the child.

"He said, 'I already thought about this. This is what we are going to do,'" Siavachay told The News.

Siavachay said her brother had revealed his employer of his predicament to his boss, who consulted two lawyers and concluded Rodas couldn't keep the baby because the mother was only 14.

"I felt like disappearing with the baby and not letting her go. But what would I do with the girl," said Siavachay, who left he own 4-year-old daughter with her mother in Ecuador last year to come to America.

Rodas even tried to give the baby to the 14-year-old's parents - but they refused, he told his sister.

Sailema was hailed as a "hero cabbie" when police and firefighters first went public with his concocted story of how he rescued the cute and cuddly child abandoned in the rear of his cab by a mystery man.

The Voice of Empathy

Empathy What iѕ empathy?  It is a соmрlеx social bеhаviоr that invоlvеѕ thе ability to undеrѕtаnd аnd ѕhаrе thе feelings and em...