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Home’s Exterior Reflects Owner’s Personality PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Kathy Ziprik   
Wednesday, 07 March 2012 09:13

KANSAS CITY, KAN. – According to the 2011 DaVinci Roofscapes’ Homeowners Exterior Preferences Study, more than seven in ten homeowners* (71 percent) believe the outward appearance of their home reflects their personality. Those people who identify their personalities closest to their home’s exterior live in the Midwest, while those with the least connection are residents of the Northeast.

 

Homeowners who closely align their home’s exterior with their own personality cited a variety of reasons for the similarity, including:

-       “It’s bold and different like me.”

-       “Having personally designed my home I feel it reflects my likes and preferences.”

-       “I am a contemporary person; the house is contemporary.”

-       “It too is old, but really stylish.”

-       “It looks simple and unpretentious … which is how I think of myself.”

-       “The exterior of my home is conservative in appearance, which is the same as my personality.”

 

Homeowners also indicated in the study that the colors of their home’s exterior match up

and reflect their personalities, citing:

-       “I am a traditionalist. I think the colors of my house are very traditional.”

-       “The (house) color and trim was chosen by me and is unique to my personality.”

-       “I have chosen colors (for my home’s exterior) that are traditional and dramatic rather than the drab beige people consider safe.”

 

“This part of the study tells us that a majority of homeowners see a relationship between their personalities and their home exteriors,” says Ray Rosewall, CEO and president of DaVinci Roofscapes. “This helps us understand why roofing color options are important to homeowners. They see their home’s exterior --- including the colors on the exterior --- as a positive reflection of who they are. This explains why we’ve seen soaring sales of personalized color configurations of our roofing products in the past several years and an overall increase in color blends by our customers. People are sharing their personality through their home’s exterior!”

 

The nationwide consumer study, conducted online by Harris Interactive©, also indicates that homeowners in the Midwest are the most likely to feel connected to the outward appearance of their home (80 percent), followed by the South at 73 percent and the West at 71 percent. Homeowners in the Northeast feel the least amount of personality connection (65 percent) with their home’s exterior.

 

“Homeowners in the study also indicated that when house hunting or designing their own homes, the most attention-grabbing feature of the exterior was the style of the home, followed by how the home looked on the property,” says Rosewall. “We believe this information firmly links a homeowner’s personality with a specific style home. As opposed to buying a house simply because it’s a ‘good deal’ or in a good location, people seek out the style of home that most reflects how they view themselves and want others to see them.”

 

DaVinci Roofscapes has manufactured award-winning polymer slate and shake roofing since 1999. The roofing tiles are virtually maintenance free and far more cost effective than the natural product. DaVinci leads the industry in tile thickness, the tile width variety and the greatest selection of subtle earth-toned colors. Company products have a 50-year warranty and are 100 percent recyclable. DaVinci proudly makes its products in America and is a member of the National Association of Home Builders, the Cool Roof Rating Council and the U.S. Green Building Council. For additional information call 1-800-328-4624 or visit www.davinciroofscapes.com.

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Grassley Q&A on Gas Prices PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 06 March 2012 08:12

Q:        What’s the effect of rising gas prices?

A:        Affordable energy is a major economic issue.  In 2011, consumers spent a greater percentage of their household income on gasoline than any other year since 1981.  Since January 2009, the average U.S. price of a gallon of regular gasoline has more than doubled.  Paying $4 or more for gas acts like a hidden tax and results in people having less money to spend on other things.  Rising energy prices also increase the cost of doing business for job creators and take away dollars that otherwise could go to hiring workers.

 

Q:        How can and should policy makers respond?

A:        Policy makers need to adopt and sustain a comprehensive approach that ramps up domestic production of traditional energy, allows the expansion of alternative and renewable energy sources, and encourages conservation.  Greater domestic energy production would increase supply and help to lower prices, and it would create American jobs.

 

Q:        What stands in the way of more domestic production of traditional energy?

A:        Many factors impact the price of oil, including OPEC production decisions and turmoil in the Middle East, but the Obama administration has made things worse by restricting access to domestic energy sources.  In fact, the President’s record contradicts his recent remarks that he’s for an all-of-the-above strategy.  For example, President Obama’s proposed offshore oil and natural gas leasing plan for 2013-2017 would dramatically limit energy development by the United States.  And, during the first two years of the Obama administration, oil and gas leases issued by the Bureau of Land Management were down 44 percent, new permits to drill were down 39 percent, and the number of new wells drilled on federal land declined 39 percent.  These policies and others have prevented more oil production in the United States and resulted in higher prices, lost opportunities for job creation, and less energy security. Separately, President Obama has denied an international crude oil pipeline, the Keystone XL, which would run from Canada to Oklahoma and Texas.  The decision inhibits energy-related development that could create 20,000 jobs.  What’s more, Canada is a reliable and geographically secure trading partner whose oil exports are insulated from geopolitical turmoil in the Middle East, as well as the impulses of OPEC, including member countries such as Libya and Venezuela.

 

February 28, 2012

 
Put Brakes on Frivolous Lawsuits PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Sen. Chuck Grassley   
Tuesday, 06 March 2012 08:01

by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley 

 

Against a staggering national debt that’s surged by $5 trillion in just the last three years, voters will decide in November who will take the reins of Washington’s runaway spending.  In the meantime, the fragile economic recovery is struggling to gain traction.  Job creators in the private sector are vulnerable to rising gas prices, expiring pro-growth tax laws and swelling health care costs that influence hiring, investing and spending decisions.

 

Consumer confidence is a primary factor that affects the U.S. economic outlook.  Paying $4 (or more) for a gallon of gas will arguably cause more households to pull back on spending money at their local restaurants, hair salons, retailers and charities.  Higher shipping costs also eat into the profit margins for Main Street businesses, leaving less money for hiring workers.

 

While rising gas prices capture the spotlight in an election year, there’s another burden on the American economy.  The costs of frivolous lawsuits are invisible price tags that add up to higher prices for consumers and another burden for businesses struggling to stay above water.

 

In an era when America is looking for economic growth to take root, billions of dollars are wasted on frivolous lawsuits that siphon money away from job creation.  Frivolous claims also clog an already burdened legal system and delay the resolution of lawsuits that have merit.

 

Attorneys who file frivolous lawsuits today can do so without much fear of any consequence.  These claims force innocent individuals and businesses to choose between years of litigation, court costs and attorneys’ fees, or paying a settlement.  It’s a waste of time, money and resources.

 

A culture of suing at the drop of a hat is an albatross for start-ups and small businesses operating on tight margins.  Small businesses rank the cost and availability of liability insurance as second only to the cost of health care as their top concerns.  While it’s no secret that small businesses are the number one job creators in America, it’s not so well known how frivolous lawsuits block their road to prosperity and their ability to create jobs.

 

The U.S. legal system relies on Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to curb frivolous filings.  Unfortunately, Rule 11 was watered down in 1993.

 

As the Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, I’ve introduced legislation that would help put the brakes on frivolous lawsuits by restoring the strength behind Rule 11.  My bill, the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act, would install three reforms to bring more accountability to the U.S. tort system.

 

First, my bill would reinstate mandatory sanctions to deter the offending party from filing a frivolous claim.  Currently, when a judge finds that a lawsuit is frivolous, it’s in the judge’s discretion whether to impose sanctions.

 

Second, my bill would require judges to impose financial sanctions against lawyers who file frivolous lawsuits, including attorneys’ fees and costs incurred by the defendant.

 

Third, my bill would reverse a rule that allows attorneys to avoid sanctions for making a frivolous claim by withdrawing them within 21 days after a motion for sanctions has been served.

 

Law-abiding Americans with a legitimate legal grievance are entitled to their day in court.  But unscrupulous attorneys who litigate for jackpot justice stand in the way of that.  Frivolous lawsuits need to be weeded out of the system.  Putting the brakes on frivolous lawsuits that damage the economy and clog the legal system will go a long ways towards balancing the scales of justice, upholding the rule of law, and improving the public good.

 

 

February 28, 2012

 
A Call to Action for Modern Society PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Tuesday, 06 March 2012 07:57
Advocate Offers Tools to End Horrific Practice

In January, MSNBC.com posted a report of its four-month investigation into a slavery network emanating in Eastern Europe. Every year, it says, some 200,000 women and girls are  smuggled out of impoverished former Soviet countries and sent to the Middle East, Western Europe and the United States, where they’re held captive.

In Haiti, UNICEF reported thousands of children were illegally trafficked out of the country following the devastating earthquakes two years ago. Selling orphaned children as slaves is a common problem following natural disasters, it says.

“Modern-day slavery is an even bigger problem than it was during the years of legalized slave trade from Africa to the Americas,” says Lucia Mann, the daughter of a woman who was held as a sex slave in South Africa in the 1940s. Mann, a former journalist, tells a slightly fictionalized version of her family’s story in Rise Above Hate & Anger (www.luciamann.com).

There are ways individuals can help end the suffering and reach out a hand to victims, says Mann, who created the Modern-Day Slave Reporting Centre as a tool to address the problem. Here are details about the reporting center and other resources.

• At The Modern-Day Slave Reporting Centre, www.mdsrc.org, anyone who suspects a person is being held captive, or any person who is being held their will, can file a report. The information will be reported to law enforcement officers and the person filing can request they remain a confidential source. The Web site also includes links to relevant law-enforcement agencies in Canada and the United States.

• At www.slaveryfootprint.org, people can take a short online survey that calculates the number of slaves working for you around the world based on the clothes, cars, electronic items and other consumer goods you own. The number is calculated according to what’s known about slave labor in the regions where the raw materials are produced and the goods are manufactured. (Google Chrome is required to take the survey.)

• At www.chainstorereaction.com, are email prepared letters and surveys to any of 1,566 companies asking what steps they’re taking to ensure no slave labor is used in their supply chains. Companies who complete the survey and go out of their way to describe ongoing and current efforts are tagged with a “Thank You.” Companies that complete the survey are tagged with “View Response.” As of mid-January, 70 companies ranging from Fruit of the Loom to Campbell’s Soup had earned a “Thank You.” Another 25, including Avon and Best Buy, had completed the survey. Most, though, had not responded despite numerous emails. Duracell, for instance, was sent 432 emails and Bounty was sent 221.

• In California, the Transparency in Supply Chains Act became effective Jan. 1. It requires retailers and manufacturers with gross receipts of $100 million to disclose what they’ve done – or haven’t done – to eliminate slavery in their supply chains. While there are no punitive consequences, advocates say the law will raise awareness and allow consumers to reward or punish companies with their shopping choices. Residents of other states can lobby legislators for a similar law.

“There is nowhere in the world now where slavery is legal, and yet more than 27 million people are held captive as forced laborers or sex slaves,” Mann says. “That’s more than twice the number enslaved during 400 years of trans-Atlantic trading.

Raising Americans’ awareness and concern is the first step to ending slavery, Mann says.

“If there is no money to be made from enslaving people, it will end.”

About Lucia Mann

Lucia Mann was born in British colonial South Africa in the wake of World War II and lives in British Columbia, Canada. She retired from freelance journalism in 1998 and wrote Rise Above Hate & Anger to give voice to those who suffered brutalities and captivity decades ago.

 
Fill Desks, Not Cells, Advocate Urges PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Tuesday, 28 February 2012 14:34
Move to Privatize Prisons Threatens Genuine Inmate Reform, He Says

The statistics are overwhelming and irrefutable: The less education a person has, the more likely he or she will end up in jail or prison.

Once in prison, the more education an inmate receives, the greater the chance he or she will remain free once released.

“The correlation is so dramatic, I can’t understand why we as a nation are more interested in building and filling prisons than in educating people who haven’t finished high school or could benefit from post-secondary school,” says advocate Adam Young, citing a recent Huffington Post news story about Corrections Corporation of America. The business is attempting to buy prisons across the nation – with the stipulation that states agree to keep them 90 percent full.

Young, www.communityservicehelp.com, partners with charities to help people sentenced to community service get credit for taking classes like algebra and English instead of picking up trash. He says it just makes sense to take advantage of any opportunity to educate people who’ve already had a brush with the law.

“About 40 percent of all U.S. prison inmates never finished high school, and nearly 44 percent of jail inmates did not complete high school,” he says, quoting from a 2003 Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report. “More current data shows that hasn’t changed. In Washington, D.C., for instance, 44 percent of Department of Corrections inmates are not high school graduates. Less than 2 percent had 16 years or more of schooling.

“Isn’t it better for all of us, for both economic and public safety reasons, if we help educate people so they can get jobs?” he asks.

The trend of budget-strapped states looking to economize by selling their prisons to Corrections Corporation worries Young. As the business cuts expenses to boost profits, prison-run GED and college degree programs will likely be among the first on the chopping block, he says.

“If states really want to save money, they should address recidivism through programs that include education,” Young says. “There’s a 2011 Pew Center study that found the 10 states with the highest recidivism rates could save $470 million a year, each, if they lower those numbers by just 10 percent.”

Those states are Alaska, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Texas.

A widely cited 2006 study of two groups of inmates in three states found that those who participated in education programs in prison were less likely to be arrested again within three years of their release, and more likely to be employed. Of the inmates tracked, 31 percent of those who did not take classes were back in prison within three years compared with 21 percent of those who did study.

Arizona, South Carolina and Nevada all have recently passed laws that allow inmates to cut their sentences or shorten their probation by doing things like taking classes, Young noted.

“In early February, there was an interesting conversation about education and crime on Real Time with Bill Maher,” he says. “Maher said, ‘If you spent the money you were spending to send people to prison on schools, those people wouldn't wind up going to prison.’

“He’s 100 percent correct on that.”

About Adam Young

Adam Young is a longtime internet marketing professional who launched his educational community service alternative in January 2011. He was inspired by a minor brush with the law when he was an 18-year-old; the community service hours he received cost him his job and nearly caused him to drop out of college. Through his website, offenders have logged more than 300,000 hours of self-scheduled schooling that allows them to remain employed while completing service hours. Young advocates education as the most cost-effective tool for rehabilitating offenders.

 
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