Coffee News Franchise Review

Coffee news started, by Jean Daum, in Winnipeg, Canada is a weekly news publication that is delivered to restaurants, coffee shops, gift shops, motels and other small eateries and shops.  Coffee news was created to offer small bite size amounts of news and advertising to the customers of individual stores and was built upon the belief that when consuming information and advertising in small amounts you have a better return.

Coffee news has benefits to local advertisers that larger print publications cannot offer.  The ads are less expensive, they advertiser has exclusivity in their area the week there ad is running, ads are being read three times per day as people are eating different meals, all ad sizes are the same allowing fair exposure and the reader typically reads the entire print due to it’s small size. 

One unique component to this business is the home based nature.  This franchise was designed to allow a person to start a desktop publishing company from home.  As with any franchise you have access to the system that has proven to work.  From ad copy, to print layout, vendor contacts, marketing cooperatives, ad slicks and support the Coffee News Franchise allows you to start with no experience. 

This franchise system is a good part time business for someone looking to make some extra income.  However, looking at the model it is limited to the growth you can achieve.  As a local publication you will be limited to your ability to grow locally and will not have the ability to expand beyond 20 licenses.

The cost for the franchise fee is $8000 and is good for four years.  In addition to the up front fee you will pay an ongoing fee of $80 per week for each license you are awarded. 

It is important to fully evaluate all businesses prior to making a decision.  Understanding the strengths and the weaknesses of the model will allow for you to position yourself for business success rather than business failure.

The Challenges Faced by International Business

This article examines how the environment affects and creates conditions for either the success or failure of business organizations and how it operates to demand effective strategic thinking on the part of decision-makers if businesses are to survive and thrive.

Take the classic example of Mark & Spencer PLC, which began in 1894 as a single high street store owned by two men, selling all items said to be costing no more than a penny to the customer. Over the years it conquered the retail sector with branches in prime locations all over the UK, and in overseas territories, totalling more than 885 stores. Not only did Marks & Spencer evolve into the giant corporation which it is today by reading the changes in the environment well, and meeting the growing needs of more and more affluent consumers, it also influenced the shopping habits of its clients. The business firm is not a faceless entity; at best, it can be an icon of social and economic progress, and at worst become vanquished by its inability to read the environment, Woolworths and MFI being two recent examples of such failure.

How the environment impacts on the fortunes of the business firm is nowhere more evident than in the collapse of many business enterprises including financial institutions (e.g.banks) in the current worldwide economic downturn. Even starker is the effect of continuing bad weather either in the form of floods or snow on the viability of a whole range of firms in the UK. Had the environment represented by the UK government not provided a lifeline to some of the major banks in the form of taxpayer subsidies, or buy-outs, they would not have survived. Different political ideologies at different times affect the business enterprise in different ways. The collapse of communism and the breaking down of the Berlin wall in 1989, coupled with the Internet phenomenon resulted in the abolition of legislation preventing global communication and industrialisation. Since then there has been a plethora of international mergers, acquisitions and alliances which saw transnational corporations (TNCs) grow in size and economic power as never seen before. Denning (1993) has identified the interaction between ownership advantage (OA) brought by the TNC and the location advantage (LA) of the countries where TNCs seek to invest. Researchera identified synergies sought by TNCs in foreign direct investment (FDI) as being motivated by strategies for market seeking (MA), efficiency seeking (ES), and knowledge seeking (KS) respectively, depending on their reading of the business environment.

Before going any deeper, it is necessary to take stock of what is meant by the business firm, and what its objectives are, and proceed to analyse the process and effects of this rapid globalisation. A business firm is a legal entity. Unlike a sole trader, or partnership, it is required to be incorporated with rules and objectives that are documented. It may be capitalised with borrowings or by shareholder contributions. While the shareholders own the enterprise and have claims to sharing the profits, it may be managed day-to-day by paid employees. The objective of the firm is ‘to maximise its value to its shareholders’ (Van Horne, 1974). Historically, ‘maximisation of profits is regarded as the proper objective of the firm, but it is not as inclusive a goal as that of maximising shareholder wealth’ (op. cit.). There are difficulties even in this conceptualization where ‘maximising market price per share’ is preferred by some to ‘maximisation of earnings per share’ (op. cit.).

A business firm currently in the news is Blacks Leisure, which was on the verge of bankruptcy, when the current adverse weather conditions improved its fortunes by providing a market for its thermal wear products. Now it is planning to expand further. Meanwhile the adverse economic environment has encouraged Poundland offering cheap goods to fill the gap left by Woolworth’s demise. The British salt manufacturing firm Ineos Enterprises chose to cancel a 12, 000 ton shipment of industrial salt promised to Germany, diverting the stock to local authorities in the UK in dire need of supplies to grit roads covered by snow. It is a good example of the environment influencing decision makers of private firms to act in a socially responsible manner. This upholds Van Horne’s (1974) assertion that even at the risk of not maximising shareholder wealth in the short term, management of business firms ought not to ignore the need for ‘social responsibility’ which brings long term benefits although perhaps not immediately apparent.

As related to business firms, social responsibility concerns such things as protecting the consumer, paying fair wages to employees, maintaining fair hiring practices, supporting education, and becoming actively involved in environmental issues like clean air and water… However, the criteria for social responsibility are not clearly defined, making formulation of a consistent objective function difficult’ (op. cit.).

It is now generally understood that a business does not, and cannot function in a vacuum. It has to react to events occurring outside its factory and office walls. The very first concern should be a close awareness of competitors’ strengths and weaknesses vis-a-vis its products and services. Additionally, most analysts require awareness of the environment in terms of political, social, economic and technological factors which impinge on the business firm.

Other analysts have expanded these to: Political – how changes in government policy could affect decision making in the firm. For example, the UK government’s concern over clean energy has resulted in a decision to invite foreign firms to bid for the supply of offshore windmills over the next several years. Not only do the windmill suppliers but also a host of firms required to supply ancillary products and services could take advantage of this decision. Social – how consumers beliefs and interests change over time. An example is the changing demography of many more senior citizens being present in the population and concerns over their health. Economic – how taxation, (e.g. tax holidays), interest rates, exchange rates, and the ‘credit crunch’ affect individual firms. Technological – how product innovations, and new technology like the proliferation of mobile phones, (iPads), change consumer preferences. Legal – how changes in law, enforcing of minimum wages, and regulating working hours, affect business. Last, but not least are the Ethical concerns that underpin social responsibility issues. An example is the refusal to trade with regimes known to contravene human rights legislation. All these factors influence to change markets which businesses need to take into account and respond to, if they are not to lose market share and jeopardise their long term viability.

A business firm, although incorporated by law as an entity is by no means monolithic. More than its shareholders, it has other stakeholders with different, if not competing objectives and interests within its ambit. Starting with the managers, there are other employees who may, or may not be trades union members, along with the community where it is situated, and which it serves, having to take into account local authority strictures on waste disposal and other similar regulations.

Discussing foreign direct investment (FDI) of transnational corporations, Robert Pearce defines the global business environment as ‘the environment in different sovereign countries, with factors exogenous to the home environment of the organization, influencing decision making in resource use and capabilities. This includes social, political, economic, regulatory, tax, cultural, legal and technological environments’. Pearce accepts that business firms do not have any direct control over this environment, but that their success depends on how well they adapt to this environment. As seen earlier in the case of Blacks Leisure and Poundland, a firm’s ‘ability to design and adjust its internal variables to take advantage of opportunities offered by the external environment, and its ability to control threats posed by the same environment determine its success’ (op. cit.).

Firms also take advantage of savings offered by outsourcing. Careful consideration of the variables of communication networks, cultural compatibility and reliability, needs to be addressed. There are offshore development centres which offer call centre provision and other web related customised professional services with appropriate infrastructure support.

How an American firm adapted to cultural diversity in France is discussed by Daniel Workman (2008). He says that the Euro Disneyland, a ‘transplanted American theme park’ near Paris had lost $34 million over the first six months since it opened in April 1992. Even before it opened there was strong local opposition that it threatened French cultural sensitivities. A strict employee dress code and the outlawing of wine in the park, among other things, angered the Parisians. Eisner, the CEO of the parent company in Florida commented: “What we have created in France is the biggest private investment in a foreign country by an American company ever. And it’s going to pay off”. Workman avers that ‘Eisner has since learned to recognize French cultural traditions and quality of life, rather than focus exclusively on American business interests, revenues and earnings at the expense of the underlying French culture'(op. cit.).

Disney found that the first American CEO of Euro Disneyland even with the capacity to speak fluent French, with a French wife, and a recipient of awards from the French government was still unable to make it a going concern. It was only after Disney replaced him and 23 American-born senior managers with local staff, that Euro Disneyland began to make profits.

Banning wine in a country which believes that ‘a meal without wine is like a day without sunshine’, made Euro Disneyland an unwelcome proposition even before it started. American-style hot dog carts were not attractive to a populace famed for its culinary and gastronomic sophistication. Later deciding to use French language rather than English, was also a more than reasonable accommodation made by Disney. It was one of the essential components of its later success.

Cultural encoding also requires that the Americans respect the more feminine French culture’s dominant need for a friendly atmosphere, cooperation, low stress levels and group decision-making instead of focusing exclusively on money and materialistic success (Workman, 2008).

Another aspect of business life is the support (or its absence) from the state as an unavoidable component of the business environment. Like most developed countries, Canada provides government funding to business firms seeking to expand into international markets. The government body responsible is the Small Business Finance Centre (SBFC). The funding is in the form of grants and loans which could be between $1500 and $10 million. Success stories abound. A $34,500 grant enabled a Winnipeg firm, K9 Storm Limited to export body armour for police dogs to 12 countries, in North America and Europe. Another Winnipeg company, Airport Technologies received $12, 500 to develop a snow plough called ‘Snow Mauler’ now being exported to the USA. The most successful has been the Garrison Guitar Works of St. John’s, Newfoundland, which received a grant of $250,000 to develop five guitar prototypes, and now, as a multi-million dollar company exports 20,000 guitars a year to 29 countries. They also own 350 retail stores in North America.

An interest free loan of $8700 enabled Keith Longmire (Nova Scotia) to develop his hand-painted birdhouses enterprise to establish itself in the US marketplace, while Domaine Pinnacle (Quebec) received a $300,000 loan to fund equipment to ferment high-quality apple cider and achieve sales of over $1 million a year. Meanwhile, Agribiotics of Cambridge, Ontario, was awarded a $44,570 loan to develop a vaccine to protect corn from pests and win a contract from the University of Wisconsin. The Canadian government also helps individual firms with their business plans as a precursor to obtaining a grant or loan (Workman, 2008).

In an earlier paragraph this essay introduced the idea of foreign direct investment (FDI). This stood at $14 billion in 1970 ‘but increased over 140 times to almost $2,000 billion by 2007. A large part of the upsurge in global FDI has been due to mergers and acquisitions (M&As). It is these cross-border mergers and acquisitions which have deepened the economic integration of developing Asia with the global economy. Researchers investigating the increasing M&A activity in this region decided that financial variables in terms of liquidity in the source country and the perception of risk (environment) influenced the level of cross-border transactions. They also conclude that the ongoing global financial crisis is likely to sharply curtail the extent of cross-border M&A transactions although this is not entirely proven.

Analysts hypothesised five ‘waves’ of M&A activity in the past. These waves occurred during periods of economic downturn. Currently, a ‘sixth wave’ is recognised with China, India and Brazil emerging as global players in trade and industry. One of the main reasons for M&A activity to be at its height in a recession could be the rapid drop in the stock value of target companies. A major factor in the increase in global outward foreign direct investment (FDI) stock increasing from $150 million in the early 1990s to $1200 million in 2000 may have been due to the above factor. However, it is not possible to generalise when one saw the attempts at a hostile takeover of the UK firm Cadburys by the US firm Krafts and its final, more amicable outcome. Cadburys was far from being a struggling firm. Its share price was holding up and its asset value had not in any way decreased before the takeover attempt.

A recent United Nations Conference on Trade and Industry (UNCTAD) report stated that 29 of the world’s largest economic giants are transnational corporations (TNCs). The annual value-added business performance of the 100 biggest TNCs exceeded that of some nation states. How the rise of TNCs transformed world trade over the last 30 years can be seen from the following statistics. In 1970 there were about 7000 non-financial TNCs investing directly in other developed or developing countries. By 1992 there were 37,000 with 170,000 foreign affiliates. The latter accounted for $11 trillion worth of output. Against this, the total world trade amounted to only $7 trillion.

An important variable in the success of transnational corporations, mergers and acquisitions is the facility with which managers, employees and customers with differing linguistic backgrounds communicate with each other. The total number of languages spoken around the world has been estimated at 6913. This is the reality of the language environment. However, there are two ways by which the language problem has been addressed. One can establish a common language for business, the most widely spoken international language being English. Although numerically more people in the world speak Chinese (Mandarin), it is confined to the People’s Republic of China whereas English is used in countries as far apart as New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, USA, Canada, UK and almost all Commonwealth countries.

Increasingly however, there are language intermediaries who could be engaged to conduct business in the local language. The volume of the global language service industry is estimated to be somewhere around $12 billion and handling around 500 million pages of translation and localization every year. An example of a language services provider of this type is Lionbridge with ’50 offices, $375 million revenue and about 4000 people on its payroll’. Specialised software products such as ‘recycling the translators’ knowledge-base (called translation memory)’ are among many new developments in the language translation industry (op. cit.).

Another reason for keeping up to date with changes in the environment is that a business firm’s operational effectiveness can be jeopardised by not paying heed to such changes. ‘Due to the rapid diffusion of best practice, a productivity barrier is soon reached… Japanese car firms… dominated in the 1970s and 1980s… Lack of a strategic perspective has since held them back while other Japanese businesses like Sony and Cannon flourish (because they) did not sit back with a ready formulated strategy that worked in the past, but revised their strategic thinking taking into account the changing realities of world trade. Obviously, their resource base and mix would have had to alter, and continue to change in the light of changing circumstances.

Writing about mergers and acquisitions Robert Heller contends that buying another business is the easiest task for management in most businesses. However, more things can go wrong in hasty acquisitions as has been proved in the literature. Here too, it is strategy and continuous scanning of the environment and competition which can ensure success. Heller talks of the need to achieve ‘superior organic growth’ once the merger has been accomplished. His answer to how this is to be achieved is to have a ‘visionary’ at the helm. Neither the conservative who wants to retain the status quo, nor the pragmatist who wants change but relies only on those tried and tested somewhere else, can succeed. Only the visionary, often battling against the odds, (could) drive the company into the future.

Heller explains why the Silicon Valley companies have enjoyed acquisition success far beyond the norm.The buys, have been slotted into a receptive culture, in which new ideas are the currency and visionaries dominate -led by a visionary chief executive who has delegated all operating duties to others.

The permeability of the firm to the increasingly global business environment has been demonstrated with examples, throughout this essay. Vision and strategic choice determine the ever changing nature of viable and successful enterprises. A final example below should convince even the most sceptical of the truth of the above conclusion.

United Technologies Corporation is America’s 20th largest manufacturer and the 43rd largest US Corporation according to Fortune 500 list (2006) with 215,000 employees. UTC makes Otis lifts, Carrier heating and air conditioning, Hamilton Sunstrand aerospace and industrial systems, Sikorsky helicopters, Pratt and Whitney jet engines, and Chubb security systems. UTC has thousands of branch offices throughout the world. Internet and IT is the key to UTC’s success. It is obvious that the UTC chief executive’s command over the organization’s resources around the world accounts for its superior productivity and competitive advantage. But it is equally clear that his control over resources is the result of well-thought out strategic decision-making of someone in close touch with the realities of business in the 21st century.

References
Denning, J. (1993) Multinational Enterprises and the Global Economy. Wokingham, Addison-Wesley.
Van Horne J.C. (1974) Financial Management and Policy. Prentice-Hall.
Workman, D. (2008) Disneyland Resort Paris Lessons; American Management Adapts to Cultural Diversity in France.quoted in ‘Boss is the King of Cool’ (The Sunday Times, 18th March 2009).

Warning the Gullible About Global Warming

Isn’t it strange that, with all the talk about Global Warming (GW), we
just had one of the coldest winters we’ve had in a long time? The 2007
Farmers’ Almanac, whose predictions are up to 85% accurate, predicts
frigid temperatures, as much as 20 degrees below seasonal norms (and
nearly 40 degrees colder than last winter), for Montana, the Dakotas and parts of Wyoming. For the Gulf Coast up through New England,
unseasonably cold, or “shivery,” conditions are expected. Snow, and
lots of it, is also forecast for the nation’s midsection, parts of New
England, and the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. “The Great Lakes
and Ohio River Valley may be the only area spared the extreme cold,”
reveals Sandi Duncan, Managing Editor, “but this is not to say this area
won’t be without its cold spells and significant snowfalls.”

Wonder why THAT hasn’t made the news!

We recently ministered to an 11-year old who was literally in tears
with fear over the GW scare they’d been discussing in school. The
child reasoned that, “If the world is ending; why bother with anything
but huddling together with my family?”

Every natural disaster that takes place these days is being blamed on GW.
Many world leaders are accepting GW as Gospel truth. A recent survey
revealed that 33% of Americans see GW as a very real threat to our
existence. TV shows such as Discovery’s “Planet Earth” are showy,
elaborate propaganda pieces for the GW agenda.

A MATTER OF FAITH

A news headline recently read: “Global Warming is not due to human
contribution of Carbon Dioxide.” Dr. Tim Ball is the Chairman of the
Natural Resources Stewardship Project, is a Victoria-based
environmental consultant and former climatology professor at the
University of Winnipeg. In a February 5, 2007 article entitled, “Global
Warming: The Cold, Hard Facts?” Ball writes: “Global Warming, as
we think we know it, doesn’t exist. And I am not the only one trying to
make people open up their eyes and see the truth…few listen, despite
the fact that I was one of the first Canadian Ph.Ds. in Climatology and
I have an extensive background in climatology, especially the
reconstruction of past climates and the impact of climate change on
human history and the human condition. Few listen, even though I have
a Ph.D, (Doctor of Science) from the University of London, England
and was a climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg. For
some reason (actually for many), the World is not listening. Here is
why.

“What would happen if tomorrow we were told that…the Earth is flat?

It would probably be the most important piece of news in the media
and would generate a lot of debate. So why is it that when scientists
who have studied the Global Warming phenomenon for years say that
humans are not the cause nobody listens?

“Believe it or not, Global Warming is not due to human contribution
of Carbon Dioxide (CO2). This, in fact, is the greatest deception in the
history of science. We are wasting time, energy and trillions of dollars
while creating unnecessary fear and consternation over an issue with
no scientific justification. For example, Environment Canada brags
about spending $3.7 billion in the last five years dealing with climate
change almost all on propaganda trying to defend an indefensible
scientific position while at the same time closing weather stations
and failing to meet legislated pollution targets.

“…if we don’t pursue the truth, we are lost as individuals and as a
society… there is no evidence that we are, or could ever cause, global
climate change…So how has the world come to believe that something
is wrong?

“Maybe for the same reason we believed, 30 years ago, that global
cooling was the biggest threat: a matter of faith. “It is a cold fact: the
Global Cooling presents humankind with the most important social,
political, and adaptive challenge we have had to deal with for ten
thousand years. Your stake in the decisions we make concerning it
is of ultimate importance; the survival of ourselves, our children, our
species,” wrote Lowell Ponte in 1976.

“I was as opposed to the threats of impending doom global cooling
engendered as I am to the threats made about Global Warming…I am
not denying the phenomenon has occurred. The world has warmed
since 1680, the nadir of a cool period called the Little Ice Age that
has generally continued to the present. These climate changes are well
within natural variability and explained quite easily by changes in the
sun. But there is nothing unusual going on.”

TRUTH OR…SOMETHING ELSE?

Is GW a fact? Yes, actually. As Dr. Klaus Toepfer, executive director
of the United Nations Environment Programme, remarked, “More and
more, people around the world are aware that there is climate change.
Nobody is questioning that any longer.”

But don’t buy every opinion being pitched by Hollywood “scientists”
like Alec Baldwin, Leonardo, Tom Hanks, Will Farrell and movies like
“The Day After Tomorrow.” They’ve taken the bate being offered by
everybody’s favorite ex-Veep-now-Movie-Maker Al Gore and his
global warming crusade. More on him coming up (you’ve been warned).

Is GW OUR fault? No, it’s not. Though the European Parliament has
called for trade sanctions against the United States unless it agrees to
curb its CO2 emissions, more and more scientists are speaking out
AGAINST those who say mankind is to blame. Climatologist Pat
Michaels of the CATO Institute stated, “Climate changes, yes…but
climate has changed in the past without human beings having anything
to do with it…”

If we were to embrace what environmentalists say, we’d all believe
the polar ice caps are melting and America’s coasts will be submerged
soon. Don’t start building an ark just yet. If we consider that the North
Pole is a giant ice cube floating in the ocean, if that melts at Summer’s
end, that means nothing to sea level. The South Pole, is the largest ice
mass on the planet. Experts say it is gaining ice, not losing it.

The temperature of our planet has been fluctuating, at least, since the
invention of the thermometer. They say it was warmer 1,000 years ago
than it is today, but that it started cooling. Colonial America was gripped
by the last days of The Little Ice Age, with some of the deepest snows
and coldest temperatures in recorded North American history. Remember
Valley Forge? Jefferson wrote about life during the tail end of this climate
change. In his book, “Notes on the State of Virginia”, he wrote, “The snow
used to lie on the ground for months at a time; now it only does so for
weeks or days…”

It lasted into the 1800s. 1816 was known as the “year without summer.”
Today, some climatologists are more worried about another ice age than
global warming. CBN News reports that, ” these experts have been
drowned out by a worldwide movement that has branded global-warming
skeptics as evil, even comparing them to people who deny the existence
of the Holocaust.”

CBN goes on to say, “At least part of the European Left’s hatred of
George Bush is his refusal to sign onto the Kyoto Protocol (KP), an
agreement among industrialized nations to lower their carbon dioxide
emissions as a way to fight against global warming. But it is not all
President Bush’s fault – under President Clinton, the Senate killed the
treaty 95 to nothing. But at the 2005 G-8 summit in Scotland, British
Prime Minister Tony Blair pushed President Bush to finally join the
global warming fight.

Though he symbolically signed it, Bush declared, “America’s
unwillingness to embrace a flawed treaty should not be read by our
friends and allies as any abdication of responsibility. To the contrary,
my administration is committed to a leadership role on the issue of
climate change … Our approach must be consistent with the long-term
goal of stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.”

It’s been stated that the reason the U.S. won’t ratify the agreement is that,
unlike Europe, we recognize that the Kyoto Protocol will do nothing
measurable about global warming. In other words, “G. Dubya” hasn’t
fallen for the whole GW-thing. By one estimate, it would make a
difference of only seven one-hundredths of one degree Celsius after
50 years – an amount too small too measure. The European response
seems to be, “At least we’re doing something!”

Yes, they are doing something. From the Bush administration’s
perspective, they’re wasting money that they could use to invest in the
technologies of the future, throwing it at solar energy and windmills. It’s
been pointed out that the biggest supporters of KP in the industrialized
world have the worst economies, most with double-digit unemployment
(the US is at a mere 4.4%, incidentally). Critics of Kyoto say signing on
would take from our gross domestic product billions annually. New
technologies could eventually replace fossil fuels, if these nations don’t
first cripple their own economies with concepts like KP.

CBN reports, “Stephen Milloy, who runs JunkScience.com, says
corporations have been caving in to pressure from environmentalists.
He said, “Global warming pushers are going company by company,
getting corporate management to be supportive of either the KP or other
GW provisions. And eventually, they’re going to develop enough political
support among corporations that corporations will begin forcefully
lobbying for GW restrictions in the U.S.”

AN INCONGRUOUS TRICK

“Scientists have an independent obligation to respect and present the
truth as they see it,” Al Gore insists in his film “An Inconvenient Truth.”
Very true, Al. Let’s ask ’em: “What do world climate experts actually
think about the science of Al’s movie?”

Professor Bob Carter of the Marine Geophysical Laboratory at James
Cook University, says: “Gore’s circumstantial arguments are so weak
that they are pathetic. It is simply incredible that they, and his film, are
commanding public attention.”

Carter must certainly be part of what Gore sites as a tiny cadre of
“climate change skeptics” who disagree with the “vast majority of
scientists.” Y’think?Actually, according to Tom Harris, Executive
Director of Natural Resources Stewardship Project, Carter is one of
hundreds of highly qualified non-governmental, non-industry, non-lobby
group climate experts who contest the hypothesis that human emissions
of CO2 are causing significant global climate change. According to
Harris, “Climate experts” is the operative term here. Why? “Because
what Gore’s “majority of scientists” think is immaterial when only a
very small fraction of them actually work in the climate field.”

Though many scientists focus their global change studies on everything
from polar bears to poison ivy, they are not all to be considered climate
change experts.

Carter writes, “We should listen most to scientists who use real data to
try to understand what nature is actually telling us about the causes and
extent of global climate change. In this relatively small community,
there is no consensus, despite what Gore and others would suggest.”
He gives a sampling of the side of the GW debate we almost never
hear:

Carleton University paleoclimatologist Professor Tim Patterson – “There
is no meaningful correlation between CO2 levels and Earth’s temperature
over this [geologic] time frame. In fact, when CO2 levels were over ten
times higher than they are now, about 450 million years ago, the planet
was in the depths of the absolute coldest period in the last half billion
years…how could anyone still believe that the recent relatively small
increase in CO2 levels would be the major cause of the past century’s
modest warming?”

“Patterson concluded his testimony by explaining what his research and
“hundreds of other studies” reveal: on all time scales, there is very good
correlation between Earth’s temperature and natural celestial phenomena
such as changes in the brightness of the Sun…Antarctica has survived
warm and cold events over millions of years. A meltdown is simply not
a realistic scenario in the foreseeable future,” said Carter.

Gore tells us in the film, “Starting in 1970, there was a precipitous
drop-off in the amount and extent and thickness of the Arctic ice cap.”
This is misleading, according to Ball: “The survey that Gore cites was
a single transect across one part of the Arctic basin in the month of
October during the 1960s when we were in the middle of the cooling
period. The 1990 runs were done in the warmer month of September,
using a wholly different technology.”

A paper published in 2003 by University of Alaska professor Igor
Polyakov shows that, the region of the Arctic where rising temperature is
supposedly endangering polar bears showed fluctuations since 1940 but
no overall temperature rise.

Dr. Wibjorn Karlen, emeritus professor, Dept. of Physical Geography
and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm University, Sweden – “For several
published records it is a decrease for the last 50 years,”

Carter goes on to say, “Concerning Gore’s beliefs about worldwide
warming…in addition to the cooling in the NW Atlantic, massive areas
of cooling are found in the North and South Pacific Ocean; the whole of
the Amazon Valley; the north coast of South America and the Caribbean;
the eastern Mediterranean, Black Sea, Caucasus and Red Sea; New
Zealand and even the Ganges Valley in India. …”

“Gore’s point that 200 cities and towns in the American West set all time
high temperature records is also misleading,” Carter asserts.
Dr. Roy Spencer, Principal Research Scientist at The University of
Alabama in Huntsville – “It is not unusual for some locations, out of the
thousands of cities and towns in the U.S., to set all-time records,” he
says. “The actual data shows that overall, recent temperatures in the
U.S. were not unusual.”

Carter adds,”The man [Gore] is an embarrassment to US science and its
many fine practitioners, a lot of whom know (but feel unable to state
publicly) that his propaganda crusade is mostly based on junk science.”
How’s that for a critique? Hollywood gave this film an Academy award
for Best Documentary – which speaks volumes to me – and Gore has been
nominated to receive the Nobel Prize in October for his wide-reaching
efforts to draw the world’s attention to the dangers of Global Warming.

Deception is everywhere, all the time.

As others have already stated, just follow the money and those who
worship it to find out what’s really happening here. Whether its Gore’s
‘carbon offset’ concept that would make him the richest man in town
(by the way, he owns a company* you’d buy credits from that would
help us each to reduce our carbon “footprint” – a concept intended to
get us accustomed to paying a usage fee for fossil fuels), or a proposed
CO2 Tax intended to reduce emissions do solve a problem that’s not
even proven to exist, somebody’s cranking up their money machine over
this supposed catastrophe.

*The offset provider invests your money in tree planting projects and
other similar projects that take the place of the environmental impact of
your emissions – car, business, air travel. An offset purchased through a
nonprofit company might help preserve a forest in the Northwest, or it
might help with rainforest restoration in Ecuador. That does NOT mean
there will literally be a tree in the Ecuadorean rainforest with your name
on it. Unfortunately, customers will not get to choose how their donations
are distributed. One possible place where your money may go, for
example, is to project intended to reduce CO2 emissions at truck stops
would allow drivers to plug in their trucks at night rather than leave them
idling.

BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD

Environmentalists say we cannot continue to spew CO2 into the air. I agree
that we should be the best stewards of the planet that God has given us.
But I’ve also read that more air pollution is coming from the open cooking
fires of Chinese villages and gas omitted by the world’s farm animals than
by our cars and factories. Not kidding!

The skeptics answer that the world is doomed. Such talk instills fear in
people and fear is faith in the devil. As Christians, our faith is SUPPOSED
to be in God.

Be anxious for NOTHING!

Fear not, the Lord is with you!

The extreme views on both sides of the aisle are all any of us ever hear
about in regard to this issue. It seems to me that there is always something
we can ALL always do better. But I can live the healthiest lifestyle ever
known to man, eating right, exercising, avoiding cigarettes and alcohol, but
I could be run over by a beer truck at any moment. Likewise, we can take
wonderful care of this Earth, but when we’ve had our run, our run is over.
Heaven and Earth will pass away, but God’s Word will never pass away,
Jesus said. Prophecy WILL be fulfilled. Things WILL get worse before they
get better.

In the meanwhile, we, The Church, have a Great Commission with which to
keep ourselves occupied. We won’t change this world by lobbying, debating,
making propaganda films, taking shorter showers or car-pooling. That’s not,
after all, what Jesus directed us to do.

I love this planet. I really do, but let’s make sure to worship the Creator and
NOT merely His creation.

Every blessing…

Bad Boy Birmingham Bulls of the 1977-78 WHA

The 1977-78 seasons was the second last for the World Hockey Association. The Birmingham Bulls were maybe trying to take a page out of the Philadelphia Flyers book from a few years before. However, Birmingham’s intimidation and gooning did not win them a championship.

The Bulls were led by Ken ‘The Rat’ Linseman who scoring 38 and assisted on 38 more for 76 points in 71 games. Birmingham had leadership of veteran players Paul Henderson and Frank Mahovlich but the team finished sixth out of eight teams with 75 points over the 80 game schedule. The Bulls then lost in the first round of the Avco Cup playoffs to the Winnipeg Jets, the eventual champion. The team was coached by Glen Sonmor. Sonmor would lead the Minnesota North Stars to the Stanley Cup finals just two years later.

The top four players with the most penalty minutes in the WHA in 1977-78 were all members of the Birmingham Bulls.

Steve Durbano – 284 PIM in 45 games

Steve ‘Demolition Durby’ Durbano played his only 45 WHA games with the Bulls in 1977-78. He also contributed offensively with six goals and four assists for ten points. Durbano played junior hockey in the OHA with the Toronto Marlboros from 1968-69 to 1970-71.

Steve was a first round pick of the New York Rangers in 1971, going 13th overall in the NHL Amateur Draft. He played 220 games in the NHL between 1972-73 and 1978-79 with the St. Louis Blues, Pittsburgh Penguins, Kansas City Scouts and Colorado Rockies.

Frank Beaton – 279 PIM in 56 games

Frank ‘Seldom’ Beaton was an undrafted player that appeared in 153 WHA games with the Cincinnati Stingers, Edmonton Oilers and Birmingham Bulls. Along with his 279 PIM, he also scored six and totalled 15 points. Beaton appeared in 25 National Hockey League games, all with the New York Rangers.

Gilles Bilodeau – 258 PIM in 59 games

‘Bad News’ Bilodeau provided very little offense for the Bulls with just two goals and two assists in 1977-78. He was drafted into the WHA by the Toronto Toros in 1975, selected 121st overall in the ninth round.

Gilles Bilodeau played in 143 WHA games with the Bulls and Quebec Nordiques. He played in nine NHL games with the Nordiques when they joined the league for the 1979-80 season. In 1975-76, with the Beauce Jaros of the North American Hockey League, Bilodeau sat a league record 451 PIM in just 58 games.

Dave Hanson – 241 PIM in 42 games

The only ‘Hanson Brother’ from the movie ‘Slap Shot’ who was actually a Hanson. Dave played Jack Hanson in the 1977 cult movie. Despite his high penalty minute total in so few games, Hanson contributed the most among the four offensively with seven goals and 16 assists for 23 points.

WestJet Becomes International

Good news for WestJet fliers. As of October 20, 2010 travelers booking flights from Asia into Canada will be able to connect with WestJet flights on a single ticket. WestJet has partnered with a Hong Kong based airway, Cathay Pacific. WestJet will not be selling direct tickets to Hong Kong.

What Does This Mean For The Airlines?

This is WestJet’s first major ticket-sharing partnership. Cathay Pacific will allow travelers to connect directly to WestJet flights once landing in Toronto or Vancouver (where they already have a hub), under one ticket. It is also expanding to six new Canadian cities: Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Winnipeg, Ottawa and Montreal. This is a significant milestone for them since it is the first successful international ticket arrangement.

This will also bring more travelers to Vancouver, simply because more people will be coming through their airport. Many will be passing through to other destinations but some will stay in Vancouver, which will be great for the tourism in the city.

Where Else Will WestJet Be Going?

Since WestJet is a Calgary based carrier, it will be most beneficial to the company if they can get a successful partnership with a company based out of the US. Most of the fliers that WestJet attracts are North American. They still plan on expanding through partnerships with more global carriers.

The vision at WestJet is: “…to become one of the five most successful international airlines in the world.” There has been talk of partnering with other airlines (Southwest Airlines) which have been called off. They are still determined to reach their goal and partner up with more international airlines. WestJet is planning for a similar partnership with Air France and has been discussing also with British Airways and Delta Air Lines.

Why Has It Taken So Long?

One of the delays they have encountered is with their reservation system. They needed to implement a new system which could handle the complex coding of the new arrangements. This has caused two years of headaches for the airways, but now that they have it in place hopefully new partnerships will be made quickly and effortlessly.

What Does This Mean For Travelers?

This partnership will most strongly affect North American travelers. Having the option to use a local airline will make international travel (Asia for now) will simplify the process of traveling. WestJet pioneered discount airfares in North America, and hopefully they can do the same internationally. As WestJet branches out and creates new partnerships with other international airlines it will also increase tourism to international destinations. North Americans will be more likely to travel to foreign destinations if they know and trust the airline they are traveling with.

Your Local Company For ‘SEO’ With A Personal Touch

Buying a lemon is not only possible in the car business it can happen with your ‘SEO’ service too. The problem with Search Engine advertising is that most clients in Winnipeg who walk into an agency know very little about what they are buying. You live in a great city that has some great services right here in your back yard too.

Premium services are available in Winnipeg without paying top agency prices. There are several ‘no brainer’ warning signs you need to avoid like the plague when searching for the right ‘SEO’ company despite which local company you decide to you.

Proper ranking for your web site requires a natural link building campaign or at least an ongoing link building campaign. Paying for an ‘seo’ company to get your site onto page one of Google and then stopping the link building will not look natural to Google, it will look like a news story. News stories get many links very fast, then no more links after a week or a month and they fall off the map.

Be warned about experts in Winnipeg who call them self search optimization experts but all they do is follow each other. What you want is a local company for search that is plugged into a mastermind system like ‘limboland’.

No set up fee can save you a lot of money when setting up a campaign with especially with Winnipeg being a coupon city but you need to ask yourself what is being sacrificed by the company for seo services by eliminating a set up fee.

Especially if you are looking for premium search engine domination services that build links in a natural fashion, there is only about one company in Winnipeg that offers this level of service to the locals and the set up is just too extensive and effective to bypass a set up fee.

Ranking your company locally for only 20 phrases should have a much smaller set up fee and monthly fee compared to an international site optimized for 100 phrases in a competitive market. ‘SEO’ truly is one service you want to deal eye ball to eye ball if you are new to online marketing professionals. You get the personal touch and real person to person service right in your back yard.

Take My Advice – Please!

It’s getting to be almost an almost daily occurrence. Some poor, misguided public figure or celebrity wannabe does something that gives them a severe case of celebritis foolitis, which, loosely translated means, “How do I look good even though I royally screwed up?”

In my first-ever advice column, “Ask a Loon,” I offer some sound public relations advice to these troubled souls…

Dear Loon,

I’m a recently-impeached governor who’s trying to come out looking like a hero. How can I do this?

R. Blagojevich, Springfield, IL

Dear R.,

I’ve seen you on TV-what’s with that hair? Here’s a news flash: the Beatles broke up 40 years ago. How about taking a little off the top, like, maybe, a couple of feet? And do something about that last name. You need to buy a vowel or something.

Dear Loon,

I used to be a single mother of six with no income. I say “used to be” because the stork just brought me a little present-octuplets! But a lot of people aren’t happy with me. Do you think they’re jealous of my puffy lips?

Angelina…I mean, Nadya S., Los Angeles, CA

Dear Nadya,

Eight is enough, but 14 is for Brangelina. What are you trying to do-get Sally Struthers to come to your house and weep uncontrollably? Try getting a job. You’ll need a six-figure salary just to afford lip gloss.

Dear Loon,

Dude, I’m an Olympic champion swimmer with sponsorship deals out the ying-yang. But I’ve pretty much jeopardized it all be getting caught on video taking a bong hit. How can I restore my good name and keep from losing my lucrative endorsement deals?…Gotta run- the pizza guy’s at the door and he’s bringing three loaded pies. I’m soooo freakin’ hungry!

Michael P., Baltimore, MD

Dear Michael,

Losing all that over a lousy bong hit? I don’t condone drug use except for taking antidepressants by the fistful, but that sounds kind of petty. Maybe the best thing to do is to go before the International Olympic Committee and make a formal apology. I hear they serve appetizers.

Dear Loon,

You might recall that a few weeks ago some birds flew into the engines of an airliner in New York City, causing the plane to crash into the Hudson River. No people were seriously hurt, but many of my flock mates went to that Big Golden Egg in the Sky. Now it’s come out that the birds were Canadian geese. My country already gets a bad rap, having produced national health care, round bacon, and Celine Dion. Now your country will hate us even more. We need to do a little damage control.

M. Goose,
Winnipeg, Quebec

Dear M.

One question: What the hell were those birds doing in New York in the middle of January? I thought you guys flew south for the winter? The only thing I can tell you is to go someplace warm for a while until this blows over. And take Celine Dion with you.

Dear Loon,

I’m a famous baseball player who’s had a rough year. First, I got dumped by Madonna. Then, my ex-manager wrote a book where he called me “A-Fraud.” Now, it’s come out that I used steroids. What should I do?

A-Rod, New York City

Dear A-Fra…I mean, A-Rod,

Wow! Talk about taking a sharp grounder right in the groin! But here’s the good news-you might not have the Material Girl anymore, but you’re still living in a Material World, and you’re still making $25 million a year. You should be able to buy a new image, if not a new girlfriend.

Money-Saving Tips On Auto Insurance Discounts

A majority of the major auto insurance companies are making policy discounts available to customers who match specific criteria . For those who are are first- time buyers of an auto insurance policy or who’ve never had one before, it might be in your best interest to examine the different discounts that are available. You should start by finding out what discounts you can get from different insurance providers and then find the ones that will save you money on your auto insurance policy.

If you do not have a clue on what policy discounts are available, read the following points that help explain the different discounts currently being offered to qualified customers. Remember that the decisive factor for choosing the right discount is whether or not the discount will save you a reasonable amount of money. The discounts will vary according to the type of insurance coverage and the provider who carries it.

One discount is called a safe car discount and it is offered by insurance companies as a means of rewarding customers for having vehicles that include certain safety features like anti-lock breaks, anti-theft devices, and passive restraint systems.

There is another discount known as the multiple policy discount, in which the auto insurance company sells you more than one kind of insurance coverage at discount prices, if you have more than one active policy with them.

If you do hold more than one active policy with an insurance provider, the best thing you can do would be to check with the company to see if the savings would be worth the trouble of transferring another type of insurance over to the same company.

If you are a student, you might want to take advantage of the good student discount, which can be accessed if you are a student with excellent academic standing. The GPA of the student determines the discount that is given.

If you have never heard of low mileage discounts, these discounts are provided to drivers who meet specified mileage limits every year. By meeting that requirement, drivers will get discounts on their policies and there is no wonder why you would carpool to acrue those savings faster.

Senior citizens or senior adult discounts are beneficial for elderly drivers. Many insurance companies offer great discounts on the costs of their insurance policies for seniors.

The next discount is the defensive driver discount and it is offered to customers who have completed courses in defensive driving. If you would like to take advantage of this discount, you will need to contact the insurer about enrollment in defensive driving classes, and then when you’re done with the class the discount is applied to your policy rates.

The previously stated discounts were just a few of the policy discounts that may be available at some auto insurance companies. If you want to take advantage of any of these discounts, you should contact your insurance provider to discover which ones they offer that you are eligible for. You should also shop around and see what auto insurance discounts other companies can offer you.

You Should Use An Internet Filtering Software

Internet threats to kids come in different forms and sizes; and they are everywhere on the web too. So keeping your kids protected may be impossible if your computer itself isn’t armed with the right tools to block these threats. Your question then is, “How am I going to protect my kids from these internet threats?”

The most logical and probably the best answer is by using internet filtering software. (Names such as web filtering tools, content-control software, filtering software, web filtering software, web blocking software, and blocking software are also used to describe the same thing.) Internet filtering software lets you protect your kids from accessing undesirable web sites. It is designed to let you take control on what contents are permitted and not permitted to enter to your computer.

Aside from the site, the internet filtering software allows you to filter unwanted emails and annoying popups.

Since kids may develop curiosity on topics such as sex and violence, installing an internet filtering software to your pc will make sure that they are incapable of accessing pornographic sites and sites unsuitable for their age.

Furthermore, an open access to the web may prove to be very dangerous for your kids as they may open sites that will lead them to disclose personal identification that can be used by online predators against them, and maybe against your family. An open access to the web will also put your computer at risk since many sites that are probably visited by your kids may contain spyware, adware, and viruses.

The internet filtering software is fully customizable nonetheless. You can add or remove websites whenever you want. Or, you can set passwords to some websites you don’t want your kids to access.

Popular internet filtering softwares are ContentProtect, CYBERsitter, NetNanny, Cyber Patrol, FilterPak, Cyber Sentinel, Child Safe, Cyber Snoop, Norton Parental Controls, and McAfee Parental Controls. Prices range between $17 and $70.

One type of internet filtering software is provided by an ISP which parents can subscribe to eliminate up to the highest possible risk level. There is also a type of internet filtering software that is provided by the same server that gives the connection.

Pornography, sex, violent and graphic images, nudity, and gore; you surely don’t want your kids to access sites containing these things. So better get an internet filtering software and all these will remain off your computer. Most of all it’s inexpensive and effective.

Fire Prevention Tips For the Holidays

During the holidays, all too often in our rush to get everything done to make the season special we overlook some of the basic safety precautions necessary to make everything magical. Home fires is one of the leading causes of holiday disasters and these fires are more often than not, completely preventable. Rapid Refile, LLC, a document restoration and disaster recovery service, has put together a very helpful fire prevention guide for home owners to follow this holiday season to ensure a safe and disaster-free celebration.

The following is some of the recommendations they have compiled (see full article for references):

Christmas Tree Safety and Fire Prevention:

• Keep trees securely upright in a stand to ensure that it will not accidentally tip over or be knocked over by children or pets.

• Keep your tree away from any and all heat sources.

• Make sure natural trees are well watered.

• If you have purchased an artificial tree, please make sure it is labeled “fire retardant”.

• Unplug the tree lights before leaving your home or before going to bed.

• Avoid using real candles on a tree. Real Christmas trees contain natural oils that are very flammable, especially if the tree is dry.

• Use a maximum of three strands of tree lights on a single extension cord.

Holiday Lighting Safety:

• Unplug any lighting, indoor and out, before going to bed.

• Never leave any candles unattended.

• Avoid using live candles with a flame on windowsills and mantles.

• Do not let pets or children chew on strands of lights.

• Make sure the cords used for lights and other decorations are not frayed.

• Do not run electrical wires under rugs.

• Make sure all candles are in sturdy holders that will not tip over and are placed away from furniture and other home accessories.

• Trim candle wicks to a ¼-inch in height.

Fireplace & Woodstove Fire Prevention:

• Have a professional inspect your fireplace annually.

• Inspect your stove or fireplace for any cracks regularly.

• Always use a screen in front of your fireplace while it is burning.

• Do not burn your Christmas tree, wreaths, or leftover wrapping paper in a fireplace or stove.

Additional Fire Prevention and Fire Safety Tips:

• Exercise caution if using a space heater in a bedroom. Never place a heater next to a bed, as blankets could ignite. Place the heater in a place where a sleepy person getting up in the middle of the night will not trip over it.

• Keep fire extinguishers handy on every level of your home in a place where they can be easily accessed. Keep an extinguisher in your kitchen and by any fireplaces or stoves.

It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of the season and forget some of these basic and not so basic rules for keeping a home and your family safe from a potential fire hazard. Take the time to look over your family room, bedrooms and any other place where you may have a fireplace, heater or Christmas tree to ensure you have a fire disaster-free holiday season.