World Environment Day

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Here’s a striking photo of an environmental activist dressed as a whale killed by a harpoon performs during a rally to commemorate World Environment Day in Vina del Mar city near Santiago.

Pelicans covered in oil

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Some of the other photos out there are much worse, but it’s heartbreaking to see these pelicans covered in oil.

Meanwhile, oil spill protests are heating up against BP.

We’ve added more depressing photos after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

President Obama arrives in New Orleans as BP tries to contain the spill

Photo from fOTOGLIF

President Barack Obama is greeted by Florida Governor Charlie Crist, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and Admiral Thad Allen, Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, upon Obama’s arrival in New Orleans this afternoon. Obama traveled to the Louisiana gulf coast to further assess damage from the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Meanwhile, BP is still working on an effort to capture the oil spewing from the sea floor.

A Prepaid Allowance

Nearly everyone has tugged the hem of a parent’s garment or cautiously tapped them on the shoulder and, with hand extended, asked for their allowance. Long has been the tradition for parents to mete out a little cash as reward or payment for good behavior and completion of chores. But we are moving into a world where cash is no longer the standard operating currency. So, more and more, prepaid credit cards are becoming a viable, and desirable, option.

A prepaid credit card mimics a debit account card, allowing the user, for this example a well-behaved child, to draw only on the money existing in the account. A parent can simply open an account, deposit money, and after paying a small fee, usually five to ten dollars, hand the card off to the youngster confident in the knowledge that the child’s spending is limited. As children under eighteen don’t qualify for stand-alone credit cards, these cards are perfect for the teen set.
An added value of prepaid cards is that they teach children the responsibilities of using a credit card without the dangers inherent in handing them one of yours. Children can track how much they have in the account and determine which purchases seem relevant to their lives. Lessons on budget management, thrift, and saving abound.

Holidays and birthdays also make splendid occasions to bestow a prepaid card upon a child. As most adult know, shopping for kids is a precarious and often unrewarding experience. A prepaid card allows the child the freedom to get just what they’ve always wanted.

Prepaid cards are issued by most major credit card companies, making it easy to check either online or with your bank to set up an account. The happiness and security of your child’s finances will be your reward.

Killing Multiple Birds With One Stone

Try to guess the significance of the following number: 2.5 trillion. If you guessed “consumer debt in the United States,” you were correct. The above stat comes courtesy of the Federal Reserve. If we divide that debt across all American households, you get the often-quoted figure of $8,100 in consumer debt per household. Keep in mind that this is consumer debt, defined as debt that does not include home mortgages. These numbers should not come as a surprise with the fairly easy credit approval process and the average American holding at least two credit cards.

So how does one dig out of debt?
Eliminating debt is straightforward when there is only one creditor owed. The situation becomes increasingly difficult for those who have multiple credit cards. Debt consolidation has been a popular approach to help individuals and families start the process of eliminating debt. Consolidating debt is not new but it certainly is spoken of a lot more as economic conditions deteriorate. The concept is simple. Instead of making individual payments to every source of debt, each with a different interest rate, debt consolidation would bundle everything together into one. The debt consolidator would, in essence, become the creditor and would manage the individual payments to the original debts.

There are many companies that offer debt consolidation. Most companies provide a counselor to evaluate each candidate and their financial situation. The consolidator will usually offer multiple plans, but only after you qualify. Plans will vary depending on how much can be paid monthly and other market forces such as current interest rates.

Consumers should do their homework and evaluate their options as they move forward in the process. Debt consolidation is not the “magic bullet,” but it can certainly help.

Drought Resistant Buffalo Grass

If you are searching for the perfect lawn that will look good all year round, won’t need much watering and will withstand summer heat and foot traffic, try planting Buffalo grass. Buffalo grass is a true North American grass and was one of the grasses fed on by the huge herds of buffalo that once roamed the continent from Mexico to Montana. Buffalo grass also provided the sod of choice used by the first settlers when they built their sod houses.

Buffalo grass is being widely planted once again due to environmental concerns about diminishing water supplies. Some areas are banning the watering of lawns during the hot summer months when water demands are the highest, and for many the ideal lush green lawn is now a thing of the past. Because Buffalo grass is very drought resistant, looks good and has no disease or insect problems, the ideal lawn is again possible. This grass will turn a golden brown color during long periods of drought and high heat, but it will not die from these extremes. Instead it will turn green and start growing again as soon as the conditions moderate, without irrigation or fertilization. Just about the only thing Buffalo grass cannot do is grow in shade.

Buffalo grass once covered thousands upon thousands of acres of the prairie states and held up to yearly grazing of large herds of buffalo, as well as long periods of drought and heat. Because it thrived so well under those harsh conditions, new varieties are being developed to take advantage of and strengthen some of the original Buffalo grass traits. Once established, lawns of these new varieties of Buffalo grass are hardy and hold up well to foot traffic, making them ideal for parks and school yards where many traditional sod grasses fail.

Want to be a Writer? Start Now!

If writing is something you have always wanted to pursue, then you were born into the right century. In decades past, if you desired to have your work published, you had to complete your work, submit it, and wait for months to hear whether your work was accepted or rejected. If you had spent years writing your book during stolen moments, waited months to hear back from a handful of publishers, you may have waited all of that time only to discover that it needed much more work or might even need to be scrapped altogether. The Internet has changed publishing in its entirety and what was only a profession for a select few is now an option for millions.

Traditional writing formats like literary novels and non fictional works still have their place. In fact, the accessibility of books makes them bigger mediums than ever before. With the phenomenal publishing success of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series and Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight Saga, more people are falling in love with books than ever before. Attaining success as a published author is also easier than in times past as literary agents and publishing houses are accessible via the Web.

If one doesn’t want to wait to finish their work or is looking for a slightly different medium, blogs are a way that anyone can begin to publish their own work and even make money. Many find blogs a way to express themselves and connect to readers who share their passions but with techniques like affiliate marketing, many successful bloggers are finding that they can supplement their income or even make it entirely by blogging. Some bloggers even find book publishing deals that way, and have the time to work on their projects with the income from their blog or work a regular job. Success and fulfillment have never been more attainable than they are now.

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