December 6, 2008

Paul Nawrocki: Jobless May Not Care About Humiliation

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A professional man, named Paul Nawrocki made to the top page of CNN because of his unique way of seeking for a job.

Yesterday it was revealed the the U.S. economy lost a staggering 533,000 jobs in November. Today's its not a surprise that the homeless and jobless professionals will find innovative ways to seek jobs in this declining economy. Paul Nawrocki, who says he is beyond the point where he cares about humiliation, has found a desperate, but innovative way.

CNN writes:

"Almost homeless," reads the sign. "Looking for employment. Very experienced operations and administration manager."

Wearing a suit and tie under the sign, Nawrocki -- who was in the toy industry 36 years before being laid off in February -- stands on Manhattan corners for hours, hoping to pass resumes to interested passers-by.

"When you're out of work and you face having nothing -- I mean, having no income -- pride doesn't mean anything," Nawrocki said. "You need to find work. I have to take care of my family."

Paul Nawrocki is a former toy industry executive. Every week he takes 90 minute train ride to New York city walking the streets wearing a sandwich board that advertises his plight: The former toy-industry executive needs a job.

At least this way made Mr. Nawrocki an instant celebrity. Presently Paul Nawrocki search is one of the top searches in Google. Perhaps people are looking to him to see what other innovative ways there can be to find a job in this economy.

People may feel sorry about Paul Nawrocki. I don't. I admire him.

Mr. Nawrocki has a find a very innovative way of not only struggling and searching for job, but also raising an awareness about an entire army of people who are jobless.

In fact Mr. Nawrocki is already well known. I am sure someone or some company will surely offer him a job or perhaps Jay Leno or David Letterman may invite him for an interview. However, what about those who are in the choose of Paul Nawrocki and have no way of raising attention about their cause.

Source: Huliq

Sunny von Bulow dead after 28 years in coma

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A family spokeswoman says heiress Martha "Sunny" von Bulow has died after almost three decades in a coma that prosecutors tried to blame on her husband. She was 76.

Spokeswoman Maureen Connelly says von Bulow died Saturday at a nursing home in New York City.

Von Bulow spent the past 28 years in a coma after what prosecutors alleged was two murder attempts by her husband, Claus.

He was ultimately acquitted of charges he tried to kill her by injecting her with insulin at their estate in Newport, R.I.

His trials were among the most sensational of the 1980s.


Source: The Associated Press

Jackson Hewitt Reports Fiscal 2009 Second Quarter Results

Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc. ("Jackson Hewitt") (NYSE: JTX) today reported financial results for the second quarter of fiscal 2009. Jackson Hewitt reported a net loss of $22.2 million, or $0.78 per basic and diluted share, versus a net loss of $23.7 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2008, or $0.78 per basic and diluted share. On an adjusted basis, Jackson Hewitt's net loss in the 2009 second quarter was $20.4 million, or $0.72 per basic and diluted share, versus an adjusted net loss of $18.0 million, or $0.60 per basic and diluted share, in the year ago quarter. Jackson Hewitt's reported consolidated total revenues in the 2009 second quarter were $5.1 million, versus $5.6 million in the 2008 second quarter. A schedule entitled Condensed Adjusted Results of Operations, which reconciles the reported and adjusted results, accompanies this earnings release.

Jackson Hewitt has historically generated roughly 2% of its total annual revenues in each of its first two fiscal quarters due to the seasonal nature of the tax return preparation business. As a result, Jackson Hewitt incurs a net loss during the first and second fiscal quarters. These losses have typically increased annually due to an increased number of company-owned stores primarily resulting from acquisitions, the addition of resources to support the franchise business and an increase in interest expense resulting from past common share repurchases.

"We've completed an intensive off-season of preparation for the 2009 tax season, and we have shifted into execution mode," said Michael C. Yerington, Jackson Hewitt's president and chief executive officer. "We accomplished, or are on track to accomplish, all of the initiatives we initially detailed back in June, including new product development, new marketing programs, a more efficient cost structure, and other initiatives to selectively broaden our distribution and improve same store sales."

"On the product front, I'm pleased to report that we successfully launched an early season line of credit product back on November 21st to robust interest and demand in the marketplace," continued Yerington. "We also launched an integrated advertising and marketing campaign in mid-November featuring our new national spokesperson and business partner, Earvin "Magic" Johnson. We look for the combination of "Magic" Johnson and our new advertising agency, Zimmerman, to deliver an impactful campaign to assist us in attracting new customers and retaining our core customer base as we move ahead in the 2009 tax season. Overall, our preparation for the 2009 tax season has been rigorous, and we expect to effectively execute our plans as the season unfolds. I am confident that our diligent preparation has placed us on a solid track for a successful 2009."

Franchise Operations

Reported revenues in the 2009 second quarter were $4.6 million, versus $5.2 million in the 2008 second quarter. The lower revenues versus last year's second quarter were primarily attributable to a decline in certain franchisee fees, a decline in commissions in connection with a preferred vendor program and a decrease in financial product fees related to sales of the Gold Guarantee(R) product from prior tax seasons. In the 2009 second quarter, territory sales were up modestly, as 61 new territories were sold in the quarter versus 48 in the same period a year ago. Year-to-date, 65 new territories have been sold, versus 93 in the comparable period last year. The weaker territory sales year-to-date are in part due to the more difficult economic environment for expansion. Territory sales are reported in the "Other" revenue line item.

Reported total expenses in the franchise segment were $15.7 million in the 2009 second quarter, versus $16.8 million in the 2008 second quarter. The lower expenses in the 2009 second quarter versus the comparable period a year ago reflected reduced headcount and decreased depreciation and amortization, as well as the inclusion of a $0.4 million charge in the 2008 second quarter in connection with the termination of franchise agreements related to the acquisition of a former franchisee's businesses in Atlanta, GA, Chicago, IL, and Detroit, MI. The 2009 second quarter expense reductions were partially offset by increased marketing expenses in connection with preparations for the upcoming tax season.

Company-Owned Offices Operations

As anticipated, the reported 2009 second quarter expenses in Jackson Hewitt's company-owned offices operations were higher than the 2008 second quarter due primarily to occupancy costs and related expenses associated with maintaining a significantly increased base of storefront locations resulting primarily from acquisitions. In total, the loss before income taxes in company-owned offices operations in the 2009 second quarter increased to $10.2 million, versus $8.6 million in the year ago quarter.

Corporate and Other

On a reported basis, the corporate and other loss before income taxes was $15.9 million in the 2009 second quarter, versus a reported loss before income taxes of $19.1 million in the 2008 second quarter. The 2009 second quarter reported loss included a $2.8 million expense in connection with a tentative settlement by Jackson Hewitt of the previously disclosed Hood litigation. Jackson Hewitt's tentative settlement is made in connection with an overall tentative settlement of the California Hood matter by the other defendant and the third-party bank cross-defendants in this matter. Jackson Hewitt is making this settlement in order to avoid the costs and inconvenience of continued litigation. The tentative settlement is subject to execution of a final settlement, as well as preliminary and final approval by the Court. The 2008 second quarter included $2.2 million of expenses in connection with Jackson Hewitt's internal review, as well as a $5.7 million charge primarily related to the former Chief Executive Officer's severance.

Board of Directors Declares 2009 Third Quarter Dividend

On December 3, 2008, Jackson Hewitt's Board of Directors declared a 2009 third quarter dividend of $0.18 per share, payable on January 15, 2009, to shareholders of record on December 29, 2008. This dividend represents Jackson Hewitt's 18th consecutive quarterly dividend since its initial public offering in June 2004.

Analysts' Day Meeting Today

Michael Yerington and Dan O'Brien, chief financial officer, along with other members of Jackson Hewitt's senior management team, will host an Analysts' Day meeting in New York this morning, Thursday, December 4, 2008, beginning at 8:30 a.m. (EST). The Analysts' Day meeting will be simulcast live on the Internet at www.jacksonhewitt.com. If you are unable to listen to the live webcast, a replay will be available on this website.

About Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc.

Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc. (NYSE: JTX), with approximately 6,800 franchised and company-owned offices throughout the United States during the 2008 tax season, is an industry leader providing full service individual federal and state income tax return preparation. Most offices are independently owned and operated. Jackson Hewitt is based in Parsippany, New Jersey. More information may be obtained at www.jacksonhewitt.com. To locate the Jackson Hewitt Tax Service(R) office nearest to you, call 1-800-234-1040.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains statements that are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Because these forward looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements due to a number of factors, including but not limited to: Jackson Hewitt's ability to timely or effectively respond to customer trends and attract new customers, develop and make new products available through Jackson Hewitt's offices, improve Jackson Hewitt's distribution system or reduce Jackson Hewitt's cost structure; Jackson Hewitt's ability to successfully attract and retain key personnel; government initiatives that simplify tax return preparation or reduce the need for a third party tax return preparer, improve the timing and efficiency of processing tax returns or decrease the number of tax returns filed; delays in the passage of tax laws and their implementation; the trend of tax payers filing their tax returns later in the tax season; the success of Jackson Hewitt's franchised offices; Jackson Hewitt's responsibility to third parties, regulators or courts for the acts of, or failures to act by, Jackson Hewitt's franchisees or their employees; government legislation and regulation of the tax return preparation industry and related financial products, including refund anticipation loans, and the failure by Jackson Hewitt, or the financial institutions which provide financial products to Jackson Hewitt's customers, to comply with such legal and regulatory requirements; the effectiveness of Jackson Hewitt's tax return preparation compliance program; increased regulation of tax return preparers; Jackson Hewitt's exposure to litigation; the failure of Jackson Hewitt's insurance to cover all the risks associated with Jackson Hewitt's business; Jackson Hewitt's ability to protect Jackson Hewitt's customers' personal and financial information; the effectiveness of Jackson Hewitt's marketing and advertising programs and franchisee support of these programs; disruptions in Jackson Hewitt's relationships with Jackson Hewitt's franchisees; changes in Jackson Hewitt's relationships with financial product providers that could reduce the revenues Jackson Hewitt derives from Jackson Hewitt's agreements with these financial institutions as well as affect Jackson Hewitt's customers' ability to obtain financial products through Jackson Hewitt's tax return preparation offices; changes in Jackson Hewitt's relationships with retailers and shopping malls that could affect Jackson Hewitt's growth and profitability; the seasonality of Jackson Hewitt's business and its effect on Jackson Hewitt's stock price; competition from tax return preparation service providers, volunteer organizations and the government; Jackson Hewitt's reliance on technology systems and electronic communications to perform the core functions of Jackson Hewitt's business; Jackson Hewitt's ability to protect Jackson Hewitt's intellectual property rights or defend against any third party allegations of infringement by Jackson Hewitt; Jackson Hewitt's reliance on cash flow from subsidiaries; Jackson Hewitt's compliance with credit facility covenants; Jackson Hewitt's exposure to increases in prevailing market interest rates; Jackson Hewitt's quarterly results not being indicative of Jackson Hewitt's performance as a result of tax season being relatively short and straddling two quarters; Jackson Hewitt's ability to pay dividends in the future; certain provisions that may hinder, delay or prevent third party takeovers; changes in accounting policies or practices and Jackson Hewitt's ability to maintain an effective system of internal controls; impairment charges related to goodwill; and the effect of market conditions, general conditions in the tax return preparation industry or general economic conditions.

Additional information concerning these and other risks that could impact Jackson Hewitt's business can be found in Jackson Hewitt's Annual Report on Form 10- K for the fiscal year ended April 30, 2008, and other public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"). Copies are available from the SEC or Jackson Hewitt's website. Jackson Hewitt assumes no obligation, and Jackson Hewitt expressly disclaims any obligation, to update or alter any forward-looking statements.

A "non-GAAP financial measure" is defined as a numerical measure of a company's performance that excludes or includes amounts so as to be different than the most directly comparable measure calculated and presented in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles ("GAAP") in the United States of America. In the schedule presented above, the Company has included a comparison of such non-GAAP financial measures to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures. Management believes the above presentation of net loss and loss per share on an "as adjusted" basis, which are non-GAAP financial measures, is necessary to reflect the impact of expenses incurred in connection with the transactions noted above in order to help investors compare, on an equivalent basis, the Company's financial results for the current periods presented to its financial results for the same periods presented last year.

Source: Franchising

2008 American Express Wishlist

The Monday following thanksgiving has come to be known as Cyber Monday. And what better time for American Express to launch its wishlist. Running from December 1st through December 18th, the American Express Wishlist is a must-see for all technophiles looking for a good deal. These deals are hot and you should hurry to take advantage of the American Express Wishlist before the deals are gone. Listed here are my top 5 favorites from the 2008 American Express Wishlist (I was going to list the G1 phone for $125 each but they sold out)

Coming in on December 2nd on this years American Express Wishlist is the Sharp 42" Full HD 1080p LCD-TV. This elegant TV usually sells for over $1000 but is being offered on the American Express Wishlist for just $700. Featuring a spectral contrast engine, 10,000 to 1 contrast ratio, 5HDMI inputs and a PC input, this sharp TV is going to be a quick seller on the American Express Wishlist so grab it fast.

Making the American Express Wishlist on December 6th is the Iperespresso coffee machine. This top of the range espresso machine regularly sells between $500 and $700, but you can grab it from the American Express Wishlist for an amazing $300. So if you can't get through the morning without your cappuccino then head over to the American Express Wishlist and claim this great gift.

Zipping onto the American Express Wishlist on December 8th is the Dell 15" Studio Laptop. This laptop that usually retails between $750 and $850 is available on the American Express wishlist for an dazzlingly low price of $499. Featuring a 2GHz duo core processor, with a 4GB memory and 320GB hard drive, the Dell 15" Studio Laptop is both powerful and fast enough for any application.

Zooming onto the American Express Wishlist on December 12th is the Flip video mino camcorder. Generally retailing between $150 and $180 this mini camcorder can be found on the American Express Wishlist for only $90 each. This pocket sized camcorder has a big 2GB memory that allows a full 60 minutes of recording time. Easy to use it will make a perfect stocking filler.

Source: Associated Content

CouponCabin.com Sees 324 Percent Increase in Site Traffic

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CouponCabin.com, a leading online couponing site, announces remarkable results from the biggest online shopping day of the year, Cyber Monday, including a 324 percent increase in traffic.

CouponCabin.com, which typically receives roughly one million visitors each month, saw 408,000 visitors on Monday, December 1, alone. In just one day, 437,252 coupons were clicked, saving users an estimated $839,000.

"As the economy continues to remain unstable, consumers are embracing the power of a coupon," said Scott Kluth, founder and president of CouponCabin.com. "Merchants are not only submitting more online coupons and deals but are offering better discounts. Coupons that used to be 10 percent off are now 20 and 25 percent off."

At its inception, CouponCabin.com featured a mere 180 retailers. In five short years, the site has proven strong sustainability in the dot com world and now features more than 1,300 online merchants with more than 6,800 coupon codes and deals. On average, in only 90 seconds spent on the site, shoppers save roughly $16 per use. CouponCabin.com is available free of charge, is easy to navigate and does not require users to share any personal information.

About CouponCabin.com

CouponCabin.com was created to give online shoppers an easy and fast way to save money while shopping online. The site features more than 1,300 online stores with more than 6,800 coupon codes and deals from 20 different product categories. For ease and convenience, CouponCabin.com offers live chat help and a weekly newsletter highlighting all of the latest top coupons. For more information please visit http://www.CouponCabin.com.

Source: Market Watch

A Rush Into Refinancing as Mortgage Rates Fall

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The housing market may finally be getting some relief, with lower mortgage rates already encouraging refinancing and Treasury officials considering ways to entice new buyers.

Last week, the Federal Reserve announced that it would buy $500 billion in mortgage-backed securities guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae. Mortgage rates immediately dropped, and that led to a surge in mortgage refinancing activity for the week — even with the Thanksgiving holiday.

On Wednesday, people close to the discussions said that the Treasury had been talking with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac about ways to drive down mortgage rates to as low as 4.5 percent. That rate is about a percentage point lower than the going rates for such loans.

Any government efforts to jump-start the housing market have a number of obstacles, the biggest being borrowers’ worries that the economic downturn will affect them. Meanwhile the best interest rates will go only to borrowers in sound financial shape. And even if the efforts go as planned, they may not help the most distressed homeowners.

Still, the jump in refinancing activity showed that there was an appetite that could be whetted by lower rates. The Mortgage Bankers Association said its refinance index, which measures refinancing activity, tripled to 3,802.8 last week from the week before. The index was also 37.7 percent higher than in the same week a year ago. It was the largest increase in refinance applications in the survey’s 18-year history, though it does not measure how many applications become loans.

Refinancing activity accounted for 69.1 percent of all mortgage applications submitted last week, up from 49.3 percent the week before.

“We did quadruple our normal volume last week,” said Bob Walters, chief economist of Quicken Loans. “We had loan officers staying past midnight to get back to all of the people that had been calling. There is still a silent majority of people who can refinance and qualify.”

Callers cited a variety of reasons for their new interest in refinancing, mortgage lenders said. But the main reason was that they wanted to lock in a lower mortgage rate and reduce their monthly costs in case they fell victim to the economic downturn. Others were looking to extract cash to pay down more expensive credit card debt, the lenders said, and some were trying to trade in their adjustable-rate mortgages for a fixed rate.

Annie Lu, 30, a nurse practitioner, said she called about refinancing when she heard that the economy was officially in a recession. She and her husband bought their house in Brooklyn about three years ago with a mortgage rate of 6.25 percent. She is hoping to qualify for a rate almost a percentage point lower. “It is good to prepare for the worst, and nobody minds saving as much as we can,” she said.

The Treasury’s consideration of additional efforts to breathe life into the housing market was first reported on The Wall Street Journal’s Web site. People familiar with the Treasury’s plans said that Treasury officials had met with top executives at Fannie and Freddie last week but that neither had been notified that any steps were taken toward putting such a plan into effect. By one account, the new program would be available only to home buyers, not to people who simply want to refinance their existing loan at a lower rate.

But those looking to refinance are already eyeing the lower rates. “Borrowers with reasonably good credit and a home that hasn’t lost too much value are going to find mortgage money plentiful and readily available,” said Brad Blackwell, national sales manager at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage.

As rates drop, more people, in theory, qualify for loans because their monthly principal and interest payments will be lower. But to qualify for the best rates, borrowers need to have impeccable credit — or a credit score of 720 or higher — as well as at least 10 to 20 percent of equity in their homes.

And while experts said they were heartened by the pickup in activity, the overall number of refinancings this year was expected to be only slightly more than a quarter of the volume at the height of the housing boom in 2003.

“It is not going to spike up rapidly or anywhere near as it has in the past because credit is still tight, the economy is still weak and there are fewer people that could refinance now than could before,” said Celia Chen, senior director of housing economics at Moody’s Economy.com. “But the decline in rates will help those that can.”

For all the renewed interest in refinancing, about 12 million households, or 15 percent of owners of single-family homes, are not eligible. Their mortgages exceed the value of their home, Ms. Chen said.

Meanwhile, entire categories of loan products have been eliminated. Subprime loans are not available along with stated income loans, where borrowers do not have to fully document their income. That has limited the options for many small-business owners and other self-employed individuals. People with inconsistent or unpredictable incomes, like those who rely on commissions, are also affected.

“You can imagine how many inquiries we get where we are done just as soon as we are done talking,” said Rick L. Dunham, vice president of Impact Mortgage Network in Mesa, Ariz., whose clients include small-business owners as well as individuals whose mortgages exceed the value of their home. “So we go to the next step and say, ‘O.K., your options are loan modification, short sale or nothing at all.’ ”

Credit standards have also tightened, which has made it more expensive — often prohibitively so — for many individuals to get a loan. Generally, individuals need a credit score of 620 to qualify for a loan, but they have to pay a fee equivalent to about 2.75 percent of the loan amount, which can translate into a rate of about 1 percentage point higher than the best rate available. In some cases, these individuals can get a better deal through the Federal Housing Administration.

“For borrowers on the fringe — low credit score, erratic documentation, high debt loads, et cetera — mortgage money may actually be available but the other terms and conditions that need to be jumped to have access to that financing make it prohibitive,” said Keith Gumbinger, vice president of the financial publisher HSH Associates.

Javier and Irina Lattanzio were motivated to refinance by the potential for monthly savings. Their strong credit history enabled them to refinance the $800,000 mortgage on their four-bedroom Manhattan apartment to a rate of about 5.6 percent. But the Lattanzios had to pay $70,000 so that their loan would qualify for conforming mortgage rates. Jumbo mortgages remain, on average, a full percentage point higher.

Source: NY Times

Bettie Page hospitalized after heart attack

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Bettie Page, one of the most notable models of the 20th century, is hospitalized in intensive care after suffering a heart attack in Los Angeles.

Mark Roesler, Page's agent and attorney, says Friday that the 85-year-old is "critically ill." He says she suffered a heart attack Tuesday and remains hospitalized.

He would not comment further on her condition.

Page is credited with helping set the stage for the sexual revolution of the rebellious 1960s. She attracted national attention with magazine photographs of her sensuous figure in bikinis and lingerie that were tacked up on walls in military barracks, garages and elsewhere.

More Pictures or Bettie Page, HERE.


Source: The Associated Press