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Monthly Archives: December 2013

Majority of Americans still in the dark about incandescent light bulb phase-out

 

Yannick LeJacqNBC News
IMAGE: Incandescent, compact fluorescent and LED light bulbs. (John Brecher / NBCNews)

John Brecher / NBCNews.com
From left: Incandescent tungsten, compact fluorescent and LED light bulbs.

The Jan. 1 deadline to end production of 60- and 40-watt incandescent light bulbs is fast approaching, but most Americans aren’t even aware that their traditional light sources will soon become a rare commodity, according to one consumer survey.

Lighting manufacturer Osram Sylvania recently released its sixth annual “Sylvania Socket Survey,” which found that only 4 in 10 consumers were aware that 60- and 40-watt light bulbs are being phased out in 2014 as production ends.

Sixty-four percent of participants were aware that a general elimination of incandescent light bulbs was taking place, however, which represents a sharp increase from recent years. In Osram Sylvania’s 2012 survey, only 52 percent of participants were aware of any phase-out. In 2008 — just a year after then-President George W. Bush signed the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) into law, mandating that low-efficiency light bulbs be gradually removed from production — only 21 percent of people surveyed knew of the oncoming shift in how you light up your house. 

The government began phasing out 100- and 75-watt light bulbs in 2012 and 2013 respectively. The elimination of 60- and 40-watt bulbs will have a much greater impact on U.S. consumers because they are the two most popular bulbs on the market, according to the electronics industry research firm IMS Research.

Lights out?
With a major shift on the horizon, some Americans are doing their best to take stock of the situation. It’s still perfectly legal to buy incandescent light bulbs as long as supplies last — companies just can’t import or manufacture any new ones. Osram Sylvania’s survey found that 30 percent of those who are aware of the phase-out are planning to stockpile the leftover light bulbs.

Others have already begun to seek out alternatives, however. Noah Horowitz, director of the Center for Energy Efficiency for the Natural Resource Defense Council, identified “three major types of bulbs to choose from” in a recent blog post: more-efficient incandescent bulbs (also referred to as halogen incandescents), light-emitting diodes (otherwise known as LEDs) and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs).

Osram Sylvania’s survey found that 46 percent of respondents are planning to switch to CFLs, while 24 percent prefer LEDs. Thirteen percent hope to use new and improved incandescents.

The 60- and 40-watt light bulbs are being discontinued because they fail to meet standards set forth in EISA. That legislation set a timetable that requires all screw-in light bulbs to use 25 percent less power by 2014 and 65 percent less by 2020. 

While the phase-out may take some getting used to, energy experts expect that the transition to alternatives like LEDs and CFLs will wind up saving many of us a significant amount of time and money. Incandescent models like the ones that are about to be phased out may seem cheap, but they waste about 90 percent of their energy producing heat rather than light. More efficient alternatives like LED lights can turn as much as 60 percent of their energy into light. Horowitz thus predicts that a successful transition away from incandescent light bulbs could save Americans as much as $13 billion annually on electricity bills.

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2013 in African American News

 

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JAMAICA NEWSWEEKLY For the week ending December 27th, 2013

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THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
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JAMAICA LIBRARY SERVICES RECEIVES US$2 MILLION GRANT—12/21/13
The Jamaica Library Service (JLS) has received a grant totaling US$2 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help the library service enhance information and communication technology (ICT) resources in the island’s public libraries. The grant will be combined with US$1.1 million from Jamaica’s government and allow for more training for users and staff members, as well as provide support for programs and advocacy.

POLICE KILL THREE SUSPECTED GANG MEMBERS IN WESTMORELAND—12/22/13
According to Jamaican authorities, three suspected gang members were shot and killed by police during security operations in Westmoreland. The Jamaica Constabulary Force said shots were exchanged when officers were searching for local gang members and were confronted by men with high-powered firearms, including an M-16 assault rifle.

COLOMBIA CONCERNED THAT JAMAICANS ARE NOT APPLYING FOR SCHOLARSHIPS—12/23/13
The government of Colombia has tried for some years to convince Jamaicans to study in that country, but a senior diplomat reports that no one has applied for any of the scholarships available to do so. According to William Bush, Deputy Head of Mission at the Colombian Embassy in Kingston, Colombia has 15 scholarships available each year, but no one applies for them.

MONEY LAUNDERING INVESTIGATION LINKED TO FORMER JAMAICAN POLICEMAN—12/23/13
An attorney based in Kingston is being held in the United States in connection with a multi-million-dollar money laundering scheme investigation. Local law enforcement believes there are links between the crime and Andrew Hamilton, an admitted Jamaican drug dealer. Hamilton formerly worked as a postal employee and as a member of the Jamaican Constabulary Force. He pleaded guilty in California to drug charges, firearms charges, and money laundering.

TESSANNE ENCOURAGED BY BOLT’S ATTENDANCE AT “THE VOICE”—12/24/13
Usain Bolt, Olympic champion sprinter, attended “The Voice” television program in the United States on November 18, 2013, to give encouragement to Jamaica’s Tessanne Chin, a leading contestant and ultimate winner of the singing competition. Tessanne said she did not know he was there until she saw him on her way onstage and “nearly lost it.” She said she considered his presence an honor and welcomed his words of encouragement after the show.

TWO JAMAICANS FILE OFFICIAL COMPLAINTS IN T&T ABOUT ENTRY DENIALS—12/25/13
Two Jamaicans have made official complaints to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Trinidad and Tobago due to their denial of entry to that country in November 2013. There were also 11 other individuals from Jamaica who were denied entry on the same day. They are requesting a refund of their airfare, and others have are considering additional redress for the action.

IMMIGRATION ISSUE “BADLY HANDLED” BY TRINIDAD, SAYS WARNER—12/26/13
Austin “Jack” Warner, former national security ministry in the administration of Kamla Persad-Bissessar in Trinidad and Tobago, said the way the immigration matter involving a denial of entry to the country of a number of Jamaican travelers was handled badly. He said things would have been different if he were still in charge of immigration in T&T, calling the action “inhumane.”

POOR, HOMELESS HELPED BY FOOD FOR THE POOR, SALVATION ARMY—12/27/13
Food for the Poor (FFP) in Jamaica partnered with the Salvation Army to reach out to the most vulnerable members of society during the Christmas season. The yearly Christmas treat was held in Emmet Park in Kingston, and beneficiaries included the individuals who are served meals daily by the Salvation Army. They received hot food, entertainment, and gifts containing basic food items and toiletries.

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JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
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NEW VILLAGE IN JAMAICA TO HONOR “FATHER TONY”—12/21/13
Reverent Tony Palazzolo, “Father Tony,” is being honored by his friends and family with a fund-raising effort designed to obtain the money needed to build a village in Jamaica consisting of 40 homes. The village is to recognize his 20 years as a priest and missionary. Palazzolo, 82, spends his time on missions and traveling in the United States to speak about the needs of the poor. Father Tony’s Faith Village will be located in St. Elizabeth.

MEMBERS OF DIASPORA LOOKING FOR INVESTMENT DEALS—12/22/13
Members of the Caribbean Diaspora are searching for investments in real estate and other business ventures in the region. According to a survey by the World Bank’s consultants, 25 percent of the Diaspora have already made investments in the Caribbean, and others participating in the survey are looking for deals but are uncertain about where to find them.

TRUCK DRIVERS FROM JAMAICA BRAVING WINTER IN WINNIPEG—12/23/13
Wayne Howell is a long-haul truck driver who has been recruited from Jamaica to work in Canada. He says the icy roads and freezing temperatures present challenges to the drivers from Jamaica, but that they are glad to have the work. Howell said his family understands why he took the job in Canada, and he sends money home to his mother, wife and children, which goes much further in Jamaica than in Canada. Canada is having a hard time finding drivers, according to Rob Wensel of Arnold Brothers Transport, who said the country is short between 16,000 and 18,000 drivers.

CLARKE PRAISES DECISION OF NY GOVERNOR TO KEEP HOSPITAL OPEN—12/24/13
Yvette D. Clarke, Caribbean-American Congresswoman from Brooklyn, is glad that New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, is keeping open a hospital in the Caribbean community for an additional 30 days. Interfaith Medical Center, which is located on the border of Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant, provides work for hundreds of Caribbean healthcare professionals. Keeping the hospital open means that over 200,000 individuals who depend on its services will continue to receive care.
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CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
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TRINIDAD AT TOP OF FIFA RANKINGS—12/21/13

OPPOSITION LEADERS IN BARBADOS WANT RESIGNATION OF FINANCE MINISTER—12/22/13

GOOD POTENTIAL FOR CASH CROPS IN CARIBBEAN IN 2014—12/23/13

PLAN TO END HUNGER AND POVERTY ADOPTED—12/24/13

EIGHT DIE IN FLOODING, LANDSLIDES IN ST. VINCENT—12/25/13

MIGRANT BOAT CAPSIZES, DROWNING 18 HAITIANS—12/26/13

 

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BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
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CARIB CEMENT BEGINS SHIPMENTGS TO VENEZUELA—12/21/13
Jamaica is using the trade compensation mechanism of the Petrocaribe agreement through the Caribbean Cement Company. The firm will send its first shipment of clinker to Venezuela in an action that has major implications for other industries and other exports from Jamaica.

NEW PROJECT SEEKS TO “TRANSFORM” OCHO RIOS—12/22/13
Minister of Tourism Dr. Wykeham McNeil believes that a new US$3.8 million project will “transform” Jamaica’s Ocho Rios. The project includes work on the cruise terminal and Turtle River Road construction. The project will continue until October 2014. Buildings and parking areas will be upgraded, and shops will be developed. The road project will provide for “pedestrialization” and landscaping.

CARICOM USES UNFAIR TRADE PRACTICES—12/26/13
Unfair trade practices at CARICOM may involve several situations that are not allowed under the Treaty of Chaguaramas. These include unauthorized subsidies, dumping, abuse of monopoly, failing to meet rules of origin criteria, denials of effective access for qualified goods and services., extending benefits by members in unauthorized ways. Breaches or perceived breaches of the agreement are addresses in the Revised Treaty.

NONSTOP AIR SERVICE FROM DENVER TO MONTEGO BAY LAUNCHED—12/27/13
Frontier Airlines has added a nonstop flight from Denver, Colorado, to Montego Bay in Jamaica for travelers who want to escape winter weather. The new service began on December 22, 2013, and will be available on a weekly basis. To mark the initial flight, Blue Mountain coffee was service to passengers, along with Jamaican pastries, courtesy of the Jamaica Tourist Board.

 

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Caribbean Science and Technology News provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
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LOCAL TELEVISION REQUIREMENTS UNCLEAR—12/21/13

TTST ENTERS REGIONAL MOBILE CAMPAIGN—12/22/13

RISK OF TSUNAMI, EARTHQUAKE HIGHER IN CARIBBEAN THAN THOUGHT—12/24/13

UNDER -SEA FIBER ASSETS ACQUIRED BY DIGICEL—12/25/13

 

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ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
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ELECTRONIC DANCE MUSIC EVENT SCHEDULED—12/21/13
In recognition of the Electronic Dance Music (EDM) popularity, SKYY Vodka, Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum, and promoter Adam Gomes will stage the first Electronic Dance Xposed (EDX) event. Three international acts will be featured, including DJ Tydi of Australia, Vika Koneva or Russia, and DJ Lema from the United States. They will perform at the Cayamanas Polo Club.

BOOK FEATURES POEMS, PHOTOS COLLECTED OVER 30 YEARS—12/22/13
Photographs and poems gathered over a 30-year period are featured in the book “Island Reliquaries,” by Margaret Reckford Bernal. The book is sponsored by the Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) and follows Bernal’s experiences working on the island. She has dedicated the work to “ordinary extraordinary” people across Jamaica who made contributions to the construction and development of the island’s landscape.

CRITICS SAY RADIO BOSSES AND DJs ARE STIFLING JAMAICA’S MUSIC—12/23/13
The winning performances of Tessanne Chin on “The Voice” have given rise to criticism about the lack of support among local DJs to Jamaican music. Critics say radio stations have talented DJs but they tend to ignore new musical talent and the island’s music is paying the price. Jamaicans are not getting the chance to hear new voices, new ideas, or new lyrics because new music is not played on the radio.

TESSANNE HELPED BY FELLOW JAMAICAN, SOCIAL MEDIA—12/25/13
Despite not being a lover of television or reality programming, David Muir of South Florida was inspired by fellow Jamaican Tessanne Chin’s performances on “The Voice” to take action. He used all ten phone lines in his photography business, his wife’s phone, and his children’s phone to call in to support Tessanne as she moved through the singing competition. He also encouraged others to call in support of the Jamaican songstress. His efforts, and those of many other Jamaicans at home and overseas, ultimately paid off, making Chin the winner of the contest.

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SPORTS
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FRASER-PRYCE, BOLT AWARDED TOP LATIN AMERICAN TITLES—12/24/13
Jamaican runners Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce were voted to the top position in a ranking of sports personalities in Latin America and the Caribbean. The titles were awarded by AIPS America, the Continental unit of the International Sports Press Association. Ballots were case by sports journalists.

BROWN CALLED “X-FACTOR” OF TIGERS—12/25/13
Xavier Brown, a Jamaican sprinter who trained with Usain Bolt, is being called the “x-factor” at Wests Tigers in the United Kingdom.  Brown was once on the same relay team as Bolt and Yohan Blake, and he has spent several months working with the Tigers. Brown, 30, has run the 100-meters in under ten seconds.

WILLIAMS SISTERS CONDUCT TENNIS CLINIC IN ST. ELIZABETH—12/26/13
Tennis champions Serena and Venus Williams visited St. Elizabeth to conduct a tennis clinic at the Treasure Beach Sports Park. The park has a single tennis court, but it is new and hardly used.  The Williams sisters taught tennis tips to about 40 children at the clinic and said they were inspired by the amount of potential tennis talent they found in Jamaica.

NEWSPAPER IN UK ACCUSES JAMAICA OF PROTECTING ATHLETES FROM SCANDAL—12/27/13
A story published in the Daily Mail newspaper in the United Kingdom alleges that Jamaicans are afraid to discuss the possibility that athletes are cheating on drug tests. According to the article, critics of the athletes fear retribution, as evidence by the low price for murder-for-hire crimes on the island. The article noted that the doping scandal is haunting Jamaica’s athletes and hurting the reputation they have for providing championship track and field performances.

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JAMAICAN JOBS
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Legal Officer – Details Here

Apple Certified Technician – Details Here

Project Officer – Details Here

Network Operator – Details Here

PADI Certified Dive Instructors/Dive Masters – Details Here
Visit JAMAICAN JOBS.

 

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CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY for the week ending December 27th, 2013

TRINIDAD AT TOP OF FIFA RANKINGS—12/21/13
The Soca Warriors of Trinidad and Tobago are the top-ranked football team, according to the end-of-year rankings from FIFA and Coca-Cola. T&T is rated 78th in the world, ahead of Haiti and Jamaica. This is the first time the country has qualified for the top spot in the rankings.

OPPOSITION LEADERS IN BARBADOS WANT RESIGNATION OF FINANCE MINISTER—12/22/13
Mia Mottley, the head of the opposition Barbados Labor Party (BLP), is calling for Finance Minister Chris Sinckler to resign his post. Mottley has blamed Sinckler for the poor state of the national economy, stating that he “must go” if Barbados is to grow.

GOOD POTENTIAL FOR CASH CROPS IN CARIBBEAN IN 2014—12/23/13
Although the Caribbean region has experienced slow trading and growth in the export goods sector, experts believe that things could change in 2014. Recent cooperation, partnerships, and government approval of new solutions for top cash crops in designated trade zones, along with deregulation that would legalize the growing and selling of marijuana could improve economic conditions in the coming year.

PLAN TO END HUNGER AND POVERTY ADOPTED—12/24/13
According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), several nations in South America and the Caribbean have adopted a common program to end poverty and hunger in the regions. The FAO stated that the agreement was announced at the Second Extraordinary Summit of the Petrocaribe oil nations and the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America – Peoples’ Trade Treaty (ALBA-TCP). The plans focus on food and nutrition security through regional and national programs.

EIGHT DIE IN FLOODING, LANDSLIDES IN ST. VINCENT—12/25/13
Heavy rains caused serious flooding and landslides on the island of St. Vincent, leaving at least eight individuals dead and five injured. According to the island’s emergency management agency, among the dead were a college student, aged 18, and a cousin of the nation’s Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves.

MIGRANT BOAT CAPSIZES, DROWNING 18 HAITIANS—12/26/13
According to authorities in Turks and Caicos, at least 18 migrants from Haiti were drowned after their sailboat capsized while it was being towed into port. Thirty-two Haitians were taken from the water approximately 100 meters off Providenciales by rescue teams and police. The overcrowded boat was intercepted by a police marine unit, but suddenly capsized as they were being towed ashore.

TESSANNE ENCOURAGED BY BOLT’S ATTENDANCE AT “THE VOICE”—12/24/13
Usain Bolt, Olympic champion sprinter, attended “The Voice” television program in the United States on November 18, 2013, to give encouragement to Jamaica’s Tessanne Chin, a leading contestant and ultimate winner of the singing competition. Tessanne said she did not know he was there until she saw him on her way onstage and “nearly lost it.” She said she considered his presence an honor and welcomed his words of encouragement after the show.

TWO JAMAICANS FILE OFFICIAL COMPLAINTS IN T&T ABOUT ENTRY DENIALS—12/25/13
Two Jamaicans have made official complaints to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Trinidad and Tobago due to their denial of entry to that country in November 2013. There were also 11 other individuals from Jamaica who were denied entry on the same day. They are requesting a refund of their airfare, and others have are considering additional redress for the action.

IMMIGRATION ISSUE “BADLY HANDLED” BY TRINIDAD, SAYS WARNER—12/26/13
Austin “Jack” Warner, former national security ministry in the administration of Kamla Persad-Bissessar in Trinidad and Tobago, said the way the immigration matter involving a denial of entry to the country of a number of Jamaican travelers was handled badly. He said things would have been different if he were still in charge of immigration in T&T, calling the action “inhumane.”

POOR, HOMELESS HELPED BY FOOD FOR THE POOR, SALVATION ARMY—12/27/13
Food for the Poor (FFP) in Jamaica partnered with the Salvation Army to reach out to the most vulnerable members of society during the Christmas season. The yearly Christmas treat was held in Emmet Park in Kingston, and beneficiaries included the individuals who are served meals daily by the Salvation Army. They received hot food, entertainment, and gifts containing basic food items and toiletries.

 

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CARIBBEAN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY NEWS SUMMARY for the week ending December 27th, 2013

 

LOCAL TELEVISION REQUIREMENTS UNCLEAR—12/21/13
The television networks in the Cayman Islands are concerned about their obligations to produce local content. The oldest broadcaster in the area claims that newer competitors have an “unfair” advantage. Regulators have been asked to clarify, define and enforce the rules that require television firms to carry local programming.

TTST ENTERS REGIONAL MOBILE CAMPAIGN—12/22/13
The global mobile marketing firm BigTime has started an interactive mobile marketing campaign in the Caribbean region. TSTT is targeting all subscribers in Trinidad and Tobago via SMS, radio, social networking, newspapers, and billboards. BigTime was chosen for the firm’s first-ever interactive mobile marketing campaign using these channels because of its experience.

RISK OF TSUNAMI, EARTHQUAKE HIGHER IN CARIBBEAN THAN THOUGHT—12/24/13
There may be sufficient strain in the earthquake zone near the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe to create an earthquake of magnitude 8 or higher. The tsunami associated with such a quake could kill thousands in the region. According to researchers, the plate boundary in the area of the Lesser Antilles, presents a risk higher than previously believed. Twenty of the 26 Caribbean islands are located in this area, although Guadeloupe is of particular concern because of its popularity with tourists.

UNDER -SEA FIBER ASSETS ACQUIRED BY DIGICEL—12/25/13
Digicel has made an agreement with Loret Group, which is based on Guadeloupe, and Caribbean Fibre Holdings to acquire an under-sea fiber network that extends across the Caribbean region. Under the agreement Digicel will acquire Middle Caribbean Network, Southern Caribbean Fibre, Antilles Crossings and other related assets from Global Caribbean Fibre. This means that Digicel will own a submarine fiber optic cable network totaling some 2,100 kilometers that will provide capacity from Trinidad to Guadeloupe.

 

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Technology and Falling Literacy Rates Are Writing an End to Black-Owned Bookstores

 

Black Issues Book Review

The closing of Black Issues Book Review
has contributed to the demise of black-
owned book stores.

by Frederick H. Lowe
The number of African-American-owned bookstores has dropped significantly since the late 1970s and 1980s due to a variety of factors, including corporate control of the Internet, waning literacy and fiscal mismanagement.

In the 1970s and 1980s, more than 1,000 black-owned bookstores were in business in the United States. Now only slightly more than 100, possibly 116 to 117, if that many, remain open, according to Troy Johnson, founder of the African American Literature Book Club (AALBC.com), which is based in New York.

“I would hope that I am wrong,” Johnson told The NorthStar News & Analysis. Johnson added that many of the black-owned bookstores may be not be true book stores, but are gift shops that also sell books. Others may be white-owned bookstores that have a large inventory of books that target African-American readers.

Founded in 1960, Marcus Books is the nation’s oldest, independent, black bookstore, but the San Francisco store was on the verge of being closed by the owners of the building where it is housed.

Earlier this month, Marcus’ owners reached an agreement to purchase the building for $2.6 million. Marcus’ owners, Karen and Greg Johnson, have until the end of February to raise the funds and close the deal, according to local news reports. The current owner purchased the building in a bankruptcy sale. Marcus Books operates a second store in Oakland, Calif.

In 2012, Johnson  posted on his blog, titled “The Death of the Black-owned Independent Bookstore,” that 141-black-owned bookstores across the  nation had closed since the late 1990s.

Johnson operates the website, HURIA Search. HURIA, which means freedom in Swahili, lists the nation’s black-owned bookstores. In Sept. 23, 2013,  Johnson wrote in an e-mail message that corporate control of the web, the economy and waning literacy are killing black-owned bookstores.

Corporate control of the web includes Amazon.com, which can use the web against independent black-owned bookstores by beating them on book variety, volume and price.

“The challenges are greater than any time I’ve seen in almost 20 years I’ve been doing business on the web,” Johnson wrote.  He noted that the number of Google inquiries for African-American books and African-American authors has declined from 2004 to 2013.

Google also noted that interest in African-American literature has declined and that younger people tend to read much less than the older generation.

The failure of Black Issues Book Review, which went out of business in 2007, also contributed to the decline in black-owned bookstores.

Angela P. Dodson, executive editor of Black Issues Book Review from 2003 to 2007, said because the publication no longer exists, black readers don’t know to go into a bookstore and ask for books written by black authors.

“The books are not getting any publicity,” Dodson said.

Johnson noted that books by E. Lynn Harris, author of “Invisible Life” and Terry McMillan, author of  “Waiting to Exhale,” boosted the growth of black-owned, independent bookstores. “The books fueled the industry and there was a greater demand for black books,” Johnson said.

This is a list of black book stores and some black books.

Some of the stores have a physical location and others do not.  The list includes 50 black-owned, independent bookstores.

Here is a list of the hottest books by black authors including, “The Good Lord Bird,” by James McBride, which won the 2013 National Book Award for Fiction.

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2013 in African American Books

 

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10 Hotel Secrets from Behind the Front Desk

IMAGE CREDIT:
MICHAEL CLINARD

By Jacob Tomsky

Jacob has worked on the front lines of hotels for more than a decade, starting as a lowly valet in New Orleans and ultimately landing at a front desk in New York City. He’s also the author ofHeads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality and a man with some hospitality secrets to spill.

1. HOTELS ARE RAKING IT IN.

The fact that a hotel could fail to be profitable astounds me. Why? The average cost to turn over a room, to keep it operational per day, is between $30 and $40. If you’re paying less than $30 dollars a night at a hotel/motel, I’d wager the cost to flip that room runs close to $5. Which makes me want to take a shower. At home. That $40 turnover cost includes cleaning supplies, electricity, and hourly wages for housekeepers, minibar attendants, front desk agents, and all other employees needed to operate a room as well as the cost of laundering the sheets. Everything. Compare that with an average room rate, and you can see why it’s a profitable business.

2. STAYING FOR JUST ONE NIGHT? YOU MIGHT GET “WALKED.”

The term “walking a guest” sends shivers down any manager’s spine. Since the average no-show rate is 10 percent daily, hotels will overbook whenever possible. The sales and reservations departments are encouraged to book the property to 110 percent capacity, in the hopes that with cancellations and no-shows they will fill every room. What happens when the numbers game doesn’t play in the hotel’s favor? Someone gets walked. The hotel will now pay for the entire night’s room and tax (plus one phone call—how cute is that?) at another comparable hotel in the area.

A guest is more likely to get walked if:
1. He booked using Expedia, hence he has a deeply discounted rate and is less important.
2. He never stayed here before and may never visit the city again.
3. He’s a one-nighter.
4. And this one is so much more important than all the others: He is acting like a jerk.

3. SMART COMPLAINERS WIN.

Though most complaints should be delivered to the front desk directly, in person or on the phone, keep in mind that most issues will not have been caused by the front desk at all. So briefly outline your problem, offer a solution if you have one, and then ask whom you should speak with to have the problem solved. “Should I speak to a manager about this?” “Should I speak to housekeeping about this?” Those are wonderful and beautiful questions to ask. Most of the time, the front desk will be able to solve the problem immediately or at least act as proxy.

Want to make sure that the agent doesn’t nod, say “certainly,” and not do a damn thing? Get his or her name. Nothing tightens up an employee’s throat like being directly identified. You don’t have to threaten him or her either, just a nice casual “Thanks for your help. I’ll stop by later to make sure everything has been taken care of. Tommy, right?” Whatever you asked me to do I am doing it. (Will screaming get you what you want? Well, probably. But it’s not nearly as effective.)

4. THERE’S A BETTER WAY TO CASE A PILLOW.

To put on a pillowcase, the housekeepers throw a solid karate chop right down the middle of the pillow and then shove it in, folded like a bun. This method is preferred to the civilian method of tucking it under your chin and pulling up the pillowcase like a pair of pants because these ladies have no interest in letting 50 pillows a day come into contact with their faces.

5. ENJOY YOUR LEMONY FRESH GLASSES.

You know what cleans the hell out of a mirror, and I’m talking no streaks? Windex? No. Furniture polish. Spray on a thick white base, rub it in, and you’ll be face-to-face with a spotless, streak-free mirror. However, I am not recommending you take this tip and apply it in your own home. Though using furniture polish is quick and effective, over time it causes a waxy buildup that requires a deep scrub.

The housekeepers kept this move behind closed doors along with another dirty secret I didn’t discover until I walked in on ladies with Pledge in one hand and a minibar glass in the other. Keeping those glasses clean-looking was also part of the job. So the next time you put a little tap water into the glass and wonder why it has a pleasant lemon aftertaste, it’s because you just took a shot of Pledge.

6. NEVER, EVER PAY FOR THE MINIBAR.

Minibars. Most people are appalled at the prices. However, you never have to pay for the items in the minibar. Why not? Minibar charges are, without question, the most disputed charges on any bill. That is because the process for applying those charges is horribly inexact. Keystroke errors, delays in restocking, double stocking, and hundreds of other missteps make minibar charges the most voided item. Even before guests can manage to get through half of the “I never had those items” sentence, I have already removed the charges and am now simply waiting for them to wrap up the overly zealous denial so we can both move on with our lives.

7. BOOK ON A DISCOUNT SITE, GET A DISCOUNT EXPERIENCE.

Reservations made through Internet discount sites are almost always slated for our worst rooms. Does this seem unfair? First of all, we earn the slimmest profit from these reservations. And honestly, those guests didn’t really choose our property based on quality; they chose based on value. We were at the top of a list sorted by price. But the guest behind them in line, the one with a heavy $500 rate, she selected this hotel. When she comes to New York, she goes to our website to see what’s available. Since we have no reason to assume Internet guests will ever book with us again, unless our discount is presented to them, it truly makes business sense to save our best rooms for guests who book of their own volition.

8. BELLMEN HATE YOUR SUITCASE—BUT NOT BECAUSE IT’S HEAVY.

Bernard Sadow: the man all bellmen hate, though they’ve never heard his name. In 1970, he invented the wheeled suitcase, the bane of the bellman’s existence. Before that, the bellman was a necessity, a provider of ease and comfort, a useful member of society. When Sadow sold his first prototype to Macy’s in October 1970, he instigated a catastrophic change in the hospitality environment, causing the once noble species to retreat, rethink, and reemerge as a hustler fighting for survival. Sadow might as well have invented the phrase no bellman wants to hear, the phrase that leaves bills unpaid and ruins Christmas: “No, thanks, I got it.” Or that surprisingly prevalent and ignorant phrase: “I don’t want to bother him.” Don’t want to bother him? The man has a family. No one is being bothered here!

9. FRONT DESK AGENTS CAN ALSO BE AGENTS OF KARMA.

Any arriving guest should receive what are referred to as initial keys, which are programmed to reset the door lock when they are first inserted, deactivating all previous keys. Not until the keys expire or a new initial key enters the lock will the keys fail to work. With a “key bomb,” I cut one single initial key and then start over and cut a second initial key. Either one of them will work when you get to the room, and as long as you keep using the very first key you slipped in, all will be well.

But chances are you’ll pop in the second key at some point, and then the first key you used will be considered invalid. Trace that back to me? Not a chance. Trace that back to the fact that you told your 9-year-old daughter to shut her mouth while harshly ripping off her tiny backpack at check-in? Never.

10. THERE’S ONE SUREFIRE WAY TO GET AN UPGRADE.

Here is one of the top lies that come out of a front desk agent’s mouth: “All the rooms are basically the same, sir.”

Bull. There is always a corner room, a room with a bigger flat screen, a room that, because of the building’s layout, has a larger bath with two sinks, a room that fits two roll-aways with ease, a room that, though listed as standard, actually has a partial view of the Hudson River. There is always a better room, and when I feel that 20 you slipped me burning in my pocket, I will find it for you. And if there is nothing to be done room-wise, I have a slew of other options: late checkout, free movies, free minibar, room service amenities, and more. I will do whatever it takes to deserve the tip and then a little bit more in the hope that you’ll hit me again.

Some people feel nervous about this move. Please don’t. We are authorized to upgrade for special occasions. The special occasion occurring now is that I have a solid 20. That’s special enough for me!

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2013 in African American News

 

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Merry Christmas

 
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Posted by on December 25, 2013 in African American News

 
 
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