Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Bernard Goldberg

Bernard Richard Goldberg (born May 31, 1945 in New York City, New York), also known as Bernie Goldberg, is a ten-time Emmy Award Winning American writer, journalist, and political commentator. Goldberg is currently a commentator for Fox News and a correspondent for HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.

From 1972 to 1974 he worked for CBS News as a producer in Atlanta; he became a reporter in 1974 and correspondent in 1976. Goldberg frequently contributed to the CBS Evening News and CBS newsmagazines Eye to Eye with Connie Chung and 48 Hours. For CBS, he hosted two primetime documentaries, Don't Blame Me and In Your Face, America. Don't Blame Me was broadcast on May 26, 1994 and explored alleged irresponsibility of Americans. In Your Face, America, which aired on April 7, 1998, said that American culture suffers from a "coarsening" instigated by entertainment such as The Jerry Springer Show, South Park, and gangsta rap music.

In 2001, his first book, Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News was published and became a number one New York Times bestseller. On an episode of the Phil Donahue talk show on MSNBC, political pundit and comedian Al Franken challenged Goldberg over a claim in Bias that a 1991 John Chancellor quote about the Soviet Union was "liberal hate speech".

Goldberg followed Bias with two more national bestsellers — Arrogance: Rescuing America from the Media Elite in 2003 and 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America in 2005. Boston Globe journalist Cathy Young criticized 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America for listing mostly liberal or liberal-leaning individuals and only "a Few Token Right-Wingers". There were also many favorable comments about the book including one from Jonah Goldberg (no relation) who said, "100 People Who Are Screwing Up America is a rollicking and revealing look at 100 of the most egregious obstacles on the path of our nation's return to glory" and Brent Bozell, who commented: "100 People Who Are Screwing Up America is out, and it's a wonderful read for anyone not on that list."

Crazies to the Left of Me, Wimps to the Right: How One Side Lost Its Mind and the Other Lost Its Nerve followed in 2007, then came A Slobbering Love Affair: The True (And Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media in 2009. Both books were also national bestsellers with A Slobbering Love Affair hitting number two on the New York Times list.

Goldberg has been awarded an Emmy for journalism ten times (six at CBS News, four at HBO). For his June 2000 segment "Dominican Free For All", in which he investigated corrupt Major League Baseball recruiting practices in the Dominican Republic, Goldberg won a Sports Emmy for "Outstanding Sports Journalism". He won that award again in 2005 for his story exposing Saudi Arabia's illegal use of young boys as camel jockeys, in 2008 for a story about post-concussion syndrome suffered by some former NFL players, and in 2009 for a story on Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel about the slaughter of racehorses that were no longer making money for their owners. Goldberg received the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award in 2006 for a story on the exploitation of children in the United Arab Emirates. It marked the first time that a sports program had won a duPont award.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Heidi Montag

Heidi Montag Pratt (born September 15, 1986) is an American singer and television personality. Pratt is known for appearing on the MTV reality series The Hills.


Reality TV
Born in Crested Butte, Colorado, Pratt moved to California after graduating high school where she enrolled at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.During freshman orientation, she met Lauren Conrad who was then a featured cast member on the MTV reality series Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County.After Pratt and Conrad transferred to Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles,Conrad received her own spin-off series The Hills, which premiered on May 31, 2006.Pratt was featured in the series sharing an apartment with Conrad while studying at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. She eventually left the Fashion Institute in fall of 2005 when she was hired at Bolthouse Productions.According to Pratt, she dropped out because she "did not find the school challenging." Within two years, she was promoted to event planner at Bolthouse, before being fired and then re-hired.

Pratt appeared in every episode of seasons one and two of The Hills, and appeared in season three, which aired on MTV on August 13, 2007. In the summer of 2006, Pratt began dating fellow Hills cast member Spencer Pratt, a former manager of Brody Jenner. Season 2 of The Hills (which aired from January through April 2007) focused on Pratt's relationship with Pratt and its effect on her friendships with Conrad and fellow Hills cast member Audrina Patridge. On the Season 2 finale, Pratt moved out of her apartment with Conrad to live with Pratt. Although Conrad maintained the two were still friends after Pratt moved out, the friendship soon ended when Conrad blamed Pratt and Spencer for spreading rumors about a sex tape featuring her and ex-boyfriend Jason Wahler.In October 2008, the pair reportedly ended their feud.

In August 2008, Lauren Conrad expressed feelings that The Hills is "definitely reaching its end", citing the privacy pitfalls. Pratt and Spencer have expressed an interest in adopting Conrad's lead role and narrator. In a recent radio interview with Ryan Seacrest, Montag said "I think that maybe Lauren is tired of [being on the show], but we're just beginning," and that "We're not even remotely sick of it." Whereas Pratt stated that, "sometimes the narrator has to throw their hate up on the wall and pass the mic", and expressed an interest in taking The Hills to a tenth season. In April 2009, Montag signed on to appear on the reality series I'm a Celebrity... Get Me out of Here!. Her appearance on the show, alongside husband Spencer, was criticized after the couple claimed they were subject to torture and left the show's set multiple times before returning and ultimately withdrawing.

Acting career
In November 2008, Pratt, along with Spencer, shot scenes for an episode of the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother. The two appeared as themselves in an episode aired in January 2009.

Music career
In February 2007, Pratt started work on an album with producer David Foster. It was also reported that she is on a one-song contract with Warner Bros., not a full studio contract as both Pratt and her then-fiance, Spencer, had claimed. On August 16, 2007, Ryan Seacrest premiered Pratt's song, "Body Language", featuring Pratt rapping, on his KIIS-FM radio show. Both Pratt and Spencer denied the song was her intended first single with Pratt telling Us Weekly that the tune, "was a song Heidi and I were doing for fun. Never would I rap on her first single!" In December 2007, another track by Pratt and produced by David Foster entitled "Touch Me" was leaked online.

On February 5, 2008, Pratt's first single, "Higher" received an online-only release on iTunes. The song and the video received a negative response from websites and readers across the internet, to which Pratt responded, "I appreciate people taking the time to write any comment."  The following month, Pratt released her second single, "No More", through iTunes. In June 2008, Pratt released two songs, her first official single, "Fashion" and "One More Drink." Pratt also revealed interest in releasing a Christian music album.

On August 18, 2008, Pratt released a song titled "Overdosin'". On April 1, 2009, she debuted her single "Look How I'm Doing" on Ryan Seacrest's KIIS-FM show. In March 2009, Pratt hired songwriter Cathy Dennis to work on her upcoming album.

On August 23, 2009 Pratt performed live one of her songs "Body Language" during the Miss Universe 2009 pageant in the Bahamas in front of an expected worldwide audience of one billion. The song "Body Language" samples music from the number one mega hit "Situation" by Yazoo (Yaz in US) and it was performed by Pratt during the presentation of all delegates in their swimming costumes.

Fashion line
Pratt debuted her fashion line, Heidiwood, at a fashion show at the Hollywood and Highland shopping center in Hollywood on April 11, 2008. Shortly after, she promoted her line in New York City, at MTV's TRL, among other places.

Personal life
In 2005, Pratt began dating Jordan Eubanks. Pratt broke off her relationship with Eubanks in the spring of 2006, something that she has described as "the best decision of [her] life" and "something that [she] should have done earlier". After months of speculation and rumors, Pratt said in September 2007 that she had breast augmentation, collagen lip injections, and rhinoplasty in April 2007.

In May 2007, Pratt and Spencer announced their engagement. During The Hills season finale in December 2007, Pratt and Spencer broke off their engagement. During a broadcast of Ryan Seacrest's radio show, Spencer said that he was madly in love with Pratt and trying to win her back. On November 20, 2008, Pratt and Spencer had a marriage ceremony in Mexico. No family members were present and the wedding ceremony lasted 15 minutes. Pratt and Spencer married a second time on April 25, 2009 in Pasadena, California.

On March 3, 2008, Pratt's stepbrother Eric O'Hara was killed in a accident after a fall from an icy roof. O'Hara was a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and served the 82nd Airborne Division. Pratt released a statement regarding the death:

"Losing my brother at an early age is such a tragedy. I just loved him more than anything. He was just so patriotic. He really wanted to go to Iraq and help and do all that he could for his country. He felt like it was his duty. I'll really miss him."

In an April 2008 interview, Pratt said that she was a Republican and that she planned to vote for John McCain in the 2008 presidential election. Although not registered to vote when making that statement, she said that this was because she had been too busy and that she planned to register soon. In a later interview in July 2009 on the Alex Jones Radio show, Pratt retracted her Republican support and said she no longer believes in the false left-right paradigm. During the interview, Pratt cited the Documentary "The Obama Deception," created by Alex Jones, as her reason for changing her political viewpoint.

Heather Podesta

Heather Podesta is an American lobbyist working in Washington, D.C.. She is sister-in-law to former White House Chief of Staff John Podesta and husband of political aid and art collector Tony Podesta. She is the senior partner of the lobbying firm Heather Podesta + Partners. Prior to this, she worked as a Congressional aid to representatives Robert Matsui and Earl Pomeroy.

She was recently profiled by The Washington Post where she was called "The Insider's Insider," "the It Girl," and "A Storm in the Summer of the Lobbyist."

As a lobbyist, her clients include health-care giants Cigna and HealthSouth, drugmaker Eli Lilly and the breast cancer group [[Susan G. Komen] for the Cure; financial giants such as Prudential and Swiss Re; and energy giants such as Marathon Oil, the major utility Southern Co., and Climate Masters, a geothermal heating firm.

As an art collector, her husband and she are involved with the artistic investment group PodestaMattoon [1]. They were the party primarily responsible for the Smithsonian's acquisition of the original artist's sketches of the Obama hope poster.

source: wikipedia.org

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Credit Card Debt Counseling

What is Credit Card Debt Counseling?

Interest rates on most debts incurred by debtors become increasingly high to the point that an individual's monthly payment isn't even enough to cover just the interest. Individual resort to many different credit card debt relief programs and credit card debt counseling is just one of your many possible choices. But, why should you opt for debt counseling?

This method enlists the help of professional debt counselor. Their role is to do the negotiating with your credit card company with regards to possibly reducing your current credit balance. Some might even suggest you get into a debt consolidation program once they have assessed that it would help alleviate your financial condition while eliminating credit card debt.

You will typically start off with basic money management and they would help you come up with a sound budget plan. Hence, the idea here is to not only help an individual get out of debt but to improve their financial management ability to ensure that they put an end to the debt cycle.

When To Opt for Debt Counseling?

The choices of debt relief programs are quite extensive. Hence, deciding on whether debt counseling might offer the best and most efficient debt relief method is difficult. Every credit company has their own counselors that are responsible for handling the budgeting, consumer credit, and debt management aspects. Therefore, having a reliable debt counselor will also provide the financial organization you need.

If you are still unsure, ask your credit card debt counseling agency the following questions to assess whether this credit repair service is for you:

•    How much will the service cost you?

•    How much is the percentage of payments or if there are any hidden fees?

•    What range of services do you offer? Does it meet my debt relief needs?

Once you have determined that a particular debt counseling agency provides services specific to your needs and still allow you to save some money after paying the program's services, then it should not be a bad option for debt relief.

Benefits of Debt Counselor

The presence of the debt counselor's professional advice could really boost your financial management strategies while also allowing you better insight into how you can work at resolving your debt problems. If you are undecided with opting for credit card debt counseling to provide the financial relief you need, then you need to be aware of some of the benefits you can acquire:

•    You save yourself from the hassle of having to speak and deal with your credit card companies. Your credit card debt counselor will be the one handling these negotiations for you.

•    Your debt counselor can help reduce your monthly interest rate on an existing debt.

•    The acquisition of better budgeting plan and improved financial or debt management will help ensure you pay your bills on time.

Choosing Your Debt Counselor

Now that you have become aware of what benefits you can acquire from hiring a credit card debt counselor, your next step is to choose a reliable credit card debt counselor. Below are proper guidelines that will help you evaluate a debt counselor before choosing them:

•    Research on the specific agency's reputation. Were previous clients satisfied with their service? Was it able to deliver the promise of debt relief?

•    Make sure the specific agency you are looking into has its own insurance.

•    Your debt counseling agency should be one willing to work with all credit companies. Beware of those who are willing to work only for specific companies since they could have some secret arrangement wherein both companies can profit.

•    Paying methods to your creditors. Take time to learn about what percentage goes to the agency so you can finish paying your debts within your desired time frame.

Common Credit Card Debt Settlement Mistakes

Paying off your credit card debt can be damaging to your financial status that you often resort to just about any technique or method needed to get out of that trap. However, you need to methodically analyze your decisions in terms of handling your debt settlement since they can impact your long-term financial status. Moreover, legal complications could get in the way and that's the least you want to happen with an already escalating credit card debt balance.

If you want a good credit card debt settlement, you must try to avoid any of the following methods or mistakes. Most of them include pointers on what you should avoid if you would not want your credit card debt to continue escalating.

Closing Your Account

Some people become extremely fed up with their credit card debt due to their inability to meet the rising interest rate and debt balance to settle. Therefore, most opt for the easy way out, which is to close their accounts. While this solves one aspect of your problem, it offers another type of dilemma. Doing so will cause your credit rating to take a massive dip.

Here's a solution that you can try. If you have determined to not want to use the cards, then set it aside. You need to really fulfill the promise to not use cards in any of your purchases again since it can easily add up to your debts. Meanwhile, make sure to continue settling any other existing credit card debts while you help yourself by not adding more to the damage.

Debt Consolidation

Debt consolidation is a debt relief option that is already becoming quite popular among people with debt problems. While this has helped few people settle their debts and return to a smoother financial status, it is not always the best option to relieve yourself of debt. If you're not familiar with this method, debt consolidation is when you find a new creditor that will pay off any of your existing multiple debts. Then, you will now have to settle those accounts through your new creditor. The convenience offered by debt consolidators is that you now have only one debt to settle, as opposed to multiple of them. Plus, negotiating for a low interest rate on your debts are possible but it will extend the life of your loan and payment period.

Of course, these debt consolidators don't do it if there's no benefit for them. Debtors are given up-front fee for some consolidating companies while a statement of having "third party assistance" will be reflected on your credit report.

Paying High Interest Rate

This is an obvious mistake that most debtors often make when trying to settle credit card debts. Since being able to settle all of your debt balance is also in the interest of your credit card company, then you need to negotiate a meeting point when it comes to achieving your interest rate. Once you have agreed on a lower interest rate, look into making punctual payments to avoid adding more late payment charges on your balance.

Opting To Settle Minimum Balance

This is one mistake that people often make when paying off their credit card bills that often result to rising credit card debts. When you are using credit card to make purchases, it is easy to believe you have an unlimited pool of money. That is when excessive splurging comes into play that causes unimaginable credit card debts. If you pay only the minimum balance, your creditors could care less because they will be getting a percentage of interest on that. If you can, try paying double your minimum amount in order to relieve yourself from mounting interest that could really hurt your debt and financial status.