Category Archives for Blogging

Nigeria: From Modeling to Blogging, the Story of Linda Ikeji –

Nigeria: From Modeling to Blogging, the Story of Linda Ikeji
I make a lot of money writing positive stories so why should I concentrate on negative stories? I stick to the one that works for me. I have a cordial relationship with a lot of entertainers. I have run into issues with few of them, but in recent times

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Reflections on 10 years of blogging – OC Housing News

Reflections on 10 years of blogging
OC Housing News
Blogging is not about the money, and anyone who blogs because they believe they will make money is engaging in wishful thinking. Unless they find a deeper purpose for their writing, they will not persist because they simply won't make enough money to …

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Private Prison Companies Ready to Cash In on Throwing Out Immigrants

It doesn’t matter that children caught pneumonia in one detention center, the business that runs it sees boom times with Donald Trump’s plan to lock up millions.”>

DALLASWhen the children were released from the privately run immigration detention facility in Karnes City, Texas, they were immediately taken to the emergency room with pneumonia.

Over the past few months, several children who fled from violence in South and Central America with their mothers have been hospitalized after leaving the facility run by GEO Group, a private prison company that saw its stocks jump following Election Day. The childrens health problems were the result of poor medical care inside what is essentially a prison for mothers and their children, according to Amy Fischer of the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services.

A GEO Group spokesperson denied the claim, saying all children are given chest X-rays upon admission to the facility. The spokesman also said that not everyone is given X-rays when leaving Karnes City unless they seem to be ailing.

With Donald Trump now president-elect, the Karnes City facility and a dozen more like it across the country are preparing to fill even more beds with immigrants and refugees. GEO Group and another private prison company, Corrections Corporation of America, are also preparing for more large, lucrative contracts with the federal government to run the detention centers.

Both companies saw their stock prices soar following Trumps historic and shocking win.

If we see how the stocks skyrocketed, I think they see this as a huge opportunity for profit, Fischer said of the two companies.

Of the 1,000 largest companies in the country, Forbes reported the day after Trumps victory, the biggest winner of the election was Corrections Corporation of America.

CCAs stock shot up 49 percent that day thanks to Trumps promise to enact mass deportations as president. GEOs stock rose 21 percent the same day.

But it isnt just the two companies who have an interest in detaining more immigrants. A report released Thursday shows that some of the countrys largest banks profit off fees and interest payments from the two companiesboth of which rely on such debt financing for their daily operations.

The report (PDF), compiled by In the Public Interest, which describes itself as a comprehensive research and policy center, shows the two companies have nearly $2 billion in debt each from lenders including JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America. Without them, GEO Group and CCA would have difficulty operating, according to the report.

In the Public Interest calls for the banks to immediately halt debt financing to GEO Group and CCA. If the banks did so, the companies will be forced to find other sources of funds, which would significantly reduce their operations and growth.

Some of those operations include significant donations to Republican lawmakers in Congress, many of whom have harsh stances on crime and immigration, according to Fischer.

You can trace their campaign contributions to some of the most aggressive anti-immigrant politicians both at the state and federal level, Fischer said.

Those contributions are in addition to the millions both companies spent on lobbying politicians between 2004 and 2014, according to a 2015 report from the liberal Center for American Progress. For its part, CCA says it makes a point not to lobby for specific criminal justice laws.

It is CoreCivic [CCA]s longstanding policy not to draft, lobby for, promote or in any way take a position on proposals, policies or legislation that determine the basis or duration of an individuals incarceration or detention, spokesman Jonathan Burns told International Business Times this week.

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On top of helping to fund its daily operations, large loans from banks have helped GEO Group and CCA to purchase smaller corrections companies, the report notes, allowing them to become the two largest private prison companies in the country.

Under Trump, they may have the opportunity to grow even larger. In June the president-elect told MSNBCs Chris Matthews that privatization of prisons seems to work a lot better. The comment came two months before the Department of Justice, citing security problems and poor conditions at private prisons nationwide, said it would phase out the use of private companies to run federal penal institutions.

Whether Trump still believes private prisons are superior to those run by the government is unknown, but GEO Group and CCA have the president-elects comments on immigration to lift their spiritsand, possibly, their bottom line.

In a 60 Minutes interview on Sunday, Trump pledged to deport between 2 and 3 million immigrants, making it a priority to remove those with criminal records. Whether there even are that many who fall into that category is a matter of debate, to put it charitably. If there are that many criminal illegal aliens, Trump would have to make good on his campaign promise of creating a deportation force to remove thema promise House Speaker Paul Ryan assured the American public last week was only lip service.

Illegal immigrants with criminal records are an easy target for deportation, but the immigration plan on Trumps website makes no distinction for men, women, and children fleeing violent countries like El Salvador, where some 4,000 people had been murdered by October, according to The Washington Post.

Anyone who crosses the border illegally will be detained until they are removed out of our country, Trumps official immigration policy statement reads. Whether Trump intends to kick out the tens of thousands of refugees fleeing South and Central American violence remains to be seen, but what is clear is that GEO Group and CCA see Trumps win as a boon for business.

As you know, the need for new infrastructure has been frequently discussed during this election season, CCA CEO Damion Hininger said in a November call with investors just before the election. And (CCA) is positioned to assist government organizations in making investments to modernize their mission-critical criminal justice infrastructure, while allowing them to maintain their borrowing capacity to address other capital needs.

In laymans terms, were about to get paid.

The call came after U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement renewed a contract with CCA in October to operate the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas, a $1 billion dollar deal that runs through 2020.

Prior to the contract renewal, the companys future was grimstock prices dove following the August Justice Department decree that called for the end of private companies running federal prisons. Partly in response, CCA changed its name to CoreCivic and, in the November call with investors, Hininger said the rebranding was part of an effort to change the company into a diversified government solutions provider.

The name change had nothing to do with problems at CCA-run facilities, like the deadly 2015 gang fight at an Oklahoma prison that left four men dead, Hininger said.

Despite poorly sourced claims from industry critics and activists to the contrary, our continued focus on operational excellence, flexibility, and our compelling value proposition have continued to create opportunities for the company to grow where our partners need and want solutions that we can deliver, Hininger said during the call.

Except Trumps pledge may be difficult to meet, a brief look at federal data shows.

It has taken President Obama six years to deport 2.5 million people, according to a 2015 Department of Homeland Security report. Last year, DHS, ICE, and Customs and Border Patrol deported less than 1 million people combined.

More than 30,000 of those men, women, and children were from South and Central America, according to the report, and at least 40,000 more such refugees are currently being held in private detention centers like the ones in Karnes City and Dilley, Fischer said. That number is expected to increase, as the renewed contract for the Dilley facility indicates.

Along with an expected increase in detentions will come a greater burden on an already overworked system in which credible fear interviews are held. There, DHS hears arguments from refugees who say a return to their home country would put them at risk of injury or death.

Unfortunately, theres no right to counsel in these proceedings, so what we do is prep the mothers as much as we can ahead of these interviews, Fischer said.

In Karnes City, a family facility that holds mostly mothers and their children, Fischer and other advocates have a high success rateroughly 90 percent of refugees there are granted the right to stay in the United States and eventually seek citizenship.

In official terms, their fear is credible. Now, they have a new fear: President Trump.

I think the immigrant community is right to be very scared, Fischer said. At the same time, its an expansive system and I dont think Trump has really thought through the intricacies of what it would take to deport the amount of people he has mentioned.

If Trumps words are to be trusted, no one currently in a detention facility or caught crossing the border illegally after Jan. 20 will have the opportunity to prove they have a credible fear of returning to their home country.

As we look forward to a Trump presidency we expect this to only be more aggressive, Fischer said.

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Restaurants, Alcohol Producers Could Cash In On Self-Driving Cars

“Don’t drink and drive” has always been a hard-and-fast rule, and for good reason.

But with cars beginning to drive themselves, drinking and driving could become less of a problem than it is now, assuming technology evolves to the point where humans can imbibe without endangering anyone else on the road.

And according to an analyst report published Monday by Morgan Stanley, that could translate into substantial gains for businesses that make money selling alcohol.

The financial services firm has a rosy outlook on U.S. restaurants with robust alcohol sales, like Chili’s and Buffalo Wild Wings, and on global beverage producers like Constellation Brands, which owns a wide portfolio of premium alcohol companies (among them Corona, Robert Mondavi and dozens of others).

“In particular,” the authors write, “shared and autonomous vehicle options could drive more on premise consumption (more last call drinks), off premise consumption (drinks to go Buffalo Wild Wings is already studying this opportunity) and over time even the opportunity for the potential for alcohol sales from drive thrus.”

Morgan Stanley estimates that if, as a result of self-driving cars, each member of the global drinking population consumes just one more drink per month, the global market could expand by an estimated $31 billion. If we assume that each person in that group has two additional drinks per week, then  health care costs aside the total market could grow by an estimated $250 billion:

Morgan Stanley Research
Companies that make a large percentage of their profits onalcohol sales stand to gain fromself-driving car technology.

Morgan Stanley’s report estimates that the world’s 2.1 billion drinkers currently spend about $1.5 trillion on alcoholic beverages per year.

“We acknowledge the numerous and serious health risks that are associated with the consumption of alcohol,” the report notes. “This study is not intended to encourage increased alcohol consumption.”

Morgan Stanley Research

Of course, the prediction that more self-driving cars will equal higher sales of alcohol is at least loosely based on the assumption that the type of person who drinks and drives is also the type of person who goes for the safer alternative when it’s available.

Sadly, a report published late last month in the American Journal of Epidemiology indicates that may not necessarily be the case.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Southern California and Oxford University, found that ride-hailing services like Uber have had little to no effect on decreasing drunk-driving deaths, a conclusion that contradicts Uber’s own research on the matter.

Note: The Huffington Post’s Editor-in-Chief Arianna Huffington is a member of Uber’s board of directors, and has recused herself from any involvement in the site’s coverage of the company.

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YouTube launches “Super Chat,” a way for creators to make money from their live streams

YouTube announced a new feature today aimed at helping creators make money whileconnecting with their fans during a live stream: Super Chat. The addition is reminiscent of streaming site Twitchs Cheering feature, which allow viewers to pay real money in order to have their messages stand out in the chat stream through the use of emotes (animated icons.) In YouTubes case, fans instead are able to highlight their message in a bright color, and have their comment pinned on the stream.

Though the implementation is different from Twitchs, the goal is the same: its a means of allowing fans to pay real money in exchange for attention. (Its also not all that different from technologies porn cam sites have used in their own chat systems for years, which typically involve the purchaseof tokens.)

As YouTube explains in its blog post announcing the new feature, Super Chats will remain pinned to the top of the chat for up to five hours, which gives the message a lot of airtime.

Creators, of course, benefit from the feature not only by being able to better connect with their bigger fans, but also because itsanother means of generating revenue from their videos.

Along with the launch of Super Chat, YouTube is debuting an API that will allow developers to access real-time purchase data from the system. This API will replace the Fan Funding API, which will be shut down.

The launch follows a number of changes for YouTube aimed at bettering the experience for creators and viewers alike. Earlier this week, YouTube announced it would begin showcasing new talent on a weekly basis on its Trending section, while last year it rolled out a new Creator Hub, benefits program, improved support, and others tools, and launched a social network of sorts with YouTube Community.

Super Chat is launching today into beta with top YouTubers, includingiHasCupquake,Great Library (buzzbean11)and Alex Wassabi. It will roll out more broadly at month end forcreators in 20 countries and viewers in more than 40 countries, the company says.

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25 Money-Making Ideas You Can Leverage Online – Forbes


25 MoneyMaking Ideas You Can Leverage Online
While unscrupulous Internet marketers parade their offers that are more designed to extract money from you rather than help you to make it, many people are faced with the dilemma of who to trust when it comes to making money online. Clearly, there are

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THISDAY Newspapers

THISDAY Newspapers
When she entered the public space as a model blogging didn't exist and she most definitely didn't expect that the voyage which began in November 2006 would change her life so significantly. Back then, blogging provided a place to tinker her creative muse.

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Five things you need to know about Apple’s quarterly results | Alex Hern

The iPhone and Mac are booming, the iPad not so much, and the Apple Watch could still be a contender

Apples quarterly results, released on Tuesday, showed the company back on its game. It recorded its highest revenue ever, raking in $78.4bn (62bn), and also achieved record iPhone sales.

But, as ever, the most interesting points lie below the top line. Apple doesnt break out much, but what it does can be telling.

1) iPhone is up, up, up

Financially, Apple is a company that makes a phone with few other small businesses on the side. The iPhone represents the lions share of the companys income, which is why its good for Tim Cook that sales of the hardware are higher than ever before, with 78.3m units shipped for the three months ending December.

The question for the next year is whether that success will last. This time last year, the unprecedented year-on-year decline in quarterly revenue could be explained by the enormous success of the iPhone 6, and the comparative wet blanket of the iPhone 6s. Now, there is the chance that the 7 looks comparatively good only because the 6s underperformed, so it will take until the first quarter of the next iPhone to really know whether iPhone sales have returned to growth.

2) iPad is not

But theres bad news for Apple too. The iPad is in its 13th straight annual decline in unit sales (measured by a four-quarter moving average), from an all-time high of 18.6m in the first quarter of 2014 to the 10.6m units this quarter. (Owing to seasonality, actual units shipped were naturally higher: 13m, down year on year but up on last quarter.) Revenue has been falling too, with $4.8bn pulled in last quarter, compared to an all time high of $8.8bn in the second quarter of 2013 (again, annualised averages).

The release of 9.7in iPad Pro, back in March 2016, provided one piece of good news for the product line, boosting average selling price (it cost $100 more than the iPad Air 2, which it effectively replaced), but that bump has also gone: the average selling price of iPads in the last quarter was the same as it was a year ago.

The iPad probably not the future of computing. Photograph: Clemens Bilan/EPA

Almost $5bn of revenue is nothing to be sniffed at, of course, but the decline will prove concerning for Apple, which continues to insist that the iPad is the future of computing. The launch of the first iPad Pro, in 2015, was supposed to be Apples vision of how wed all get work done in a post-PC age. Thats looking less and less likely to be true.

Instead, the iPad is taking on a set of characteristics placing it squarely between the iPhone and Mac as might be expected. Users seen to replace it as rarely as they buy new computers, not as often as they do phones; but they are also finding the devices squeezed from both sides, as computers become more portable and phones become more capable.

3) The Mac, however, is back

For more evidence of that theory, look to the Mac. Unit sales were barely affected by the rise of the iPad, suggesting they werent being replaced but were instead being complemented. As the iPad began its decline, Mac sales rose.

But then Apples strategy kicked in. The Mac entered a period of neglect, with little new hardware, and some outrageously overlooked product lines, like the Mac Pro (now over three years since it was last updated). Sales declined too, dropping by 500,000 in the period of a year to mid 2016. That would have been fine if users had switched to the iPad – but, of course, they didnt.

The last quarter, though, saw Apple possibly reversing course. The new MacBook Pro was received with mixed responses (we called it the best computer you shouldnt buy, praising its design and build but criticising its battery life, power, and price), but two things are unquestionably true: its an innovative new design, of the sort that is rare in the Mac line; and it costs a bucketload. That latter can be seen in the average selling price of the Mac lineup, which shot back up to levels not seen since early 2013.

4) And then theres the Apple Watch

Could still be a contender the Apple Watch Photograph: Issei Kato/Reuters

Apple doesnt break out Watch sales. That should be fairly telling in its own right: the product line which the company hoped would be a new plank of the company, alongside the iPhone, iPad and Mac is not doing well enough to take its position in the throne room just yet.

But there are positive signs coming out, despite it all. For one thing, revenue and unit sales just keep rising though from what, and to what, we dont know. Average selling price is standing still, though, so its not simply that Apple is discounting old stock: and the one baseline we do have, that the Apple Watch outsold every other watch brand save Rolex in 2015, is good news for the future.

Most importantly, everyone save Apple is having a much worse time selling smartwatches. To the extent that there is a smartwatch market, it should really be called the Apple Watch market. It remains to be seen if thats a market for the long term, but it seems to be one that Apple dominates.

5) And one more thing services

Then theres the red-headed stepchild of the Apple revenue streams. Services contains hugely disparate businesses, from Apples 30% cut on sales on the App Store, to the millions it pulls in through Apple Music, and the combined totals of the 2.49 monthly fees paid for iCloud storage.

Conventional wisdom says that Apple only really runs its service sector to provide reasons to buy the companys hardware: its in the business of selling shiny physical goods, not cloud storage, and so it doesnt really need to make money on that.

Conventional wisdom may be wrong, though. Apples services revenue pulled in $7.2bn in the quarter, an all-time high. Thats more than the total revenue of Facebook, a company with no revenue stream to speak of other than services.

All of which is to say: dont bet against Apple just yet.

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Irish bloggers reveal why you should be wary of your favourite influencers – and their 'honest' posts – Irish Independent

Irish Independent

Irish bloggers reveal why you should be wary of your favourite influencers – and their 'honest' posts
Irish Independent
Laura Young started her blog late 2013 when she was off sick from work at home – the 29-year-old from Carlow, now living in Dublin, started to make YouTube videos out of boredom. Her honest opinions and tips for saving money and getting a bargain have …

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Friday Cat Blogging – 24 February 2017 – Mother Jones

Mother Jones

Friday Cat Blogging – 24 February 2017
Mother Jones
The weather has been lovely this week, and Hilbert is spending lots of quality time up on the patio cover. He's gotten pretty adept at scooting up and down the access tree, but he still whines a lot when he wants to come down, hoping that someone will

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