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FOOTBALL IN VEGAS

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FOOTBALL IN VEGAS
By Jeff Alexander

For most of us, a phone call from a multi-billionaire to attend a meeting would cause us to drop everything and hustle our butts to that meeting. It seems that’s true for Mark Davis, who was summoned by Sheldon Adelson to tour the Las Vegas site that is the proposed home of a one-billion-plus stadium being pushed by Adelson and other scions of the Vegas community. Davis owns the Oakland Raiders and he is seeking a new home for his team, and while he was here he also met with Steve Wynn and the Fertittas. His visit to Vegas could have been a calculated move to pressure the NFL, Oakland and Los Angeles to give his team a permanent home in California. That’s really where he wants his team to be; where they can draw from a population of many millions and thereby thrive. Las Vegas, in terms of population, is smalltime and probably unsuitable for many reasons to be an NFL city.  

The stadium itself is a good idea. Andy Abboud, Las Vegas Sands’ senior vice president recently said: “We see a lot more opportunities—conference championships, bowl games, NFL exhibition football, boxing, soccer, neutral game sites, and music festivals.” The new stadium would be an awesome home for the UNLV football program also. So there are a lot of plusses to the idea. But with all the positives, there are some glaring negatives that should be considered. Can a city of just over a million people really support an NFL team or any other major league team, when many teams are struggling in cities whose populations are much higher than ours in Las Vegas? Another important negative is the way the investors propose to fund the stadium cost. They seek $780 million in public financing with private investors ponying up $420 million.

That’s certainly a good deal for the investors, but where do they expect the $780 million to come from? Taxes! They propose diverting hotel room taxes, rental car and taxicab revenues, current room taxes, and a potential room tax increase. Not good! The accountant-run casino corporations are more and more treating our visitors as suckers, rather than valued clients. Careful, or the “Chickens may come home to roost.”

How many visitors and even locals have you talked to in the past few years who have told you that the cost of Vegas trips have ballooned so much that they feel they’re getting raped? Our visitors and the money they spend on amenities and gambling are the life-blood of our city. What will be the straw that breaks the proverbial camel’s back? We should be making it easier and more attractive to visit Las Vegas, not continue to heap taxes and resort fees ad infinitum on their backs. Why should it be our valued clients, (our visitors) to foot the bill for our stadium?

It is estimated that a new domed stadium will provide $600 to $800 million annually for Las Vegas’ resort and retail businesses. So economically, it could be a boon to our city. That’s good. Do the stadium—but the private sector should foot the bill, not our visitors and locals. Not to worry, the private sector will profit mightily, even if they pay for the whole package. Keep the enticement for our visitors reasonable. They will continue to come to Vegas in great numbers, enriching our casinos and businesses and the stadium becomes a win-win for the private sector investors, our community, and our valued clients. Chase the dream of an NFL team, but be careful—we may be better off if we don’t catch that dream. If one of Vegas’ visionaries, like Adelson, Wynn or the Fertittas, land that dream in the sweet spot of Vegas’ arms—we’ll help support it.

PHOTO - Raiders vs. Dolphis - June Rivera - Flicker.com/photos/itsjune

BUSINESS - Would President Trump Be Good For My Business?

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WOULD PRESIDENT TRUMP BE GOOD FOR MY BUSINESS?
BY HOWARD T. BRODY

“I like thinking BIG. If you’re going to be thinking anything, you might as well think BIG.” —Donald J. Trump, American businessman, Presidential candidate.

Before you comment one way or another, let me point out that this month’s topic is not political in nature, and is neither an endorsement for nor a denunciation against Donald Trump in his bid to become the next President of the United States.

The question that is posed in the headline is simply one that business owners should be asking themselves. And whether the answer is a resounding YES or reverberating NO, there is another, more important question at the root of this subject that perhaps should be asked:  

“What have I learned from Donald Trump that will help my business?”

Love him or hate him, the Donald is a successful, and as some would argue, brilliant entrepreneur. In the mid-1970’s, Trump took a $1 million dollar loan from his father and turned it into a net worth today of $4.5 billion. He did this by thinking outside the box and finding opportunities in situations that others believed were too risky.

But with all his successes, Trump’s gambles have not been without casualties. Between 1991 and 2009, four of his companies went through bankruptcy. They were: The Trump Taj Mahal (1991), Trump Plaza Hotel (1992), Trump Hotels and Casinos Resorts (2004) and Trump Entertainment Resorts (2009). However, all of them were Chapter 11 reorganizations, which are designed to restructure businesses without shutting them down. Unlike other forms of bankruptcy, which liquidate assets, Chapter 11 essentially “saves” a company from going out of business. 

In 2011, Trump told Forbes Magazine: “I’ve used the laws of the country to my advantage.” And in August 2015, he reiterated that fact during the Fox News sponsored Republican presidential debate: “I have used the laws of this country — just like the greatest people that you read about every day in business have used the laws of this country, the chapter laws, to do a great job for my company, for myself, for my employees, for my family, et cetera.”

Now, taking a step back, (if we were paying attention), Trump has actually taught us something. If we know and understand how various systems work, we can actually use them to our benefit. So with this in mind, perhaps you too should think BIG and start taking advantage of what’s in place. Here are three U.S. government resources that are designed to help small businesses. Which one of these can potentially benefit you?

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
You’ve heard of the SBA. But, have you looked into whether or not they can help you? Federal, state and local governments offer a wide range of financing programs to help small businesses start and grow their operations. These programs include low-interest loans, venture capital, and scientific and economic development grants. You can use the “Loans and Grants Search Tool” on their website at to get a complete list of financing programs for which you may qualify. www.sba.gov

General Services Administration (GSA)
The GSA offers various assistance programs designed to help small businesses get federal contracts. Its brochure, “Doing Business with GSA”, can help get you started. The GSA also hosts outreach events across the country, helping small business owners learn about federal contracting opportunities. It also runs the Office of Small Business Utilization (SBU), which provides individual counseling for small business owners who need help understanding the federal procurement process. It also conducts workshops with business owners to teach them how to work with the GSA. www.gsa.gov

Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)
If you are an African American, Asian American, Hasidic Jew, Hispanic American, Native American, or Pacific Islander business owner, the MBDA may be your best bet in taking advantage of the system. The MBDA provides increased visibility and access for minority-owned firms by partnering with multi-national corporations and government agencies in the U.S. and overseas. They can provide customized business development solutions to help grow your business. During the past eight years, the MBDA has helped minority-owned companies access $19.4 billion in contracts and capital, which positively impacted nearly 60,000 jobs. www.mbda.gov

So, now that you have all this knowledge, are you ready to think BIG and start benefitting from the system?

Howard T. Brody is the Vice President & Director of Operations for the Las Vegas office of Louis Mamo & Company, a business solutions firm that has been servicing clients for more than 30 years. For more information on Howard or the company, visit LMC123NV.com or call 702-931-2022.

TOP GOLF FLAGSHIP in VEGAS

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TOPGOLF FLAGSHIP IN VEGAS

Global sports entertainment community, Topgolf, will be opening its flagship Las Vegas location this May at MGM Grand Hotel and Casino. The 105,000-square-foot golf entertainment venue will be a four-level facility featuring five bars, two kitchens, a concert venue, two swimming pools, intimate private event spaces, a retail shop, a Callaway club fitting center and 108 climate-controlled hitting bays.  

Topgolf began in 2000 on a driving range, where two brothers were practicing their swings. When boredom sat in, those two Jolliffe brothers brainstormed methods to liven up their range experience and improve their skills at the same time. Topgolf was born. 

Topgolf became a favorite hotspot for golf fans and anyone who enjoys a little friendly rivalry while hitting micro-chipped golf balls at targets on an outfield (just picture a larger-than-life-sized outdoor dartboard—but for golf). Add to it cocktails and dining with friends in a super sports bar atmosphere, weekly poker night, playing Wii with the kids, and/or a great entertainment-filled date for any day of the week, as well as business events and parties. Topgolf has 24 locations serving 8 million guests annually and will be employing over 850 Las Vegans at this flagship location. Las Vegas is the perfect “match” for golf lovers all over the world who will have yet another reason to visit the city of lights for its 3-G’s of entertainment.  
Photos: TopGolf.com

BUSINESS - Are Your Business Practices Obsolete?

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ARE YOUR BUSINESS PRACTICES OBSOLETE?
BY HOWARD T. BRODY

Cartoon: "If anyone can get us out of our rut, it's Old Dinosaur here."

“ You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”  —Richard Buckminster ‘Bucky’ Fuller, American architect, systems theorist, published author of more than 30 books, designer and inventor. 

Two of the very first lessons in business I learned were: “If you take care of the pennies, the dollars will take care of themselves,” and “The easiest dollar you can earn is the one you do not spend.” While these two sayings might sound alike, they are actually very different. In some of my previous columns I’ve discussed unnecessary waste when it comes to advertising, marketing and social media. For the most part, the discussions concentrated on knowing and understanding your current and potential customers. But in digging deeper, there may be a bigger problem that is causing financial stress on your company: obsolete business practices.

In today’s business world of smart phones, tablets and laptops, would you ever even consider using rotary telephones, typewriters, mimeograph machines or beepers? Of course not. Those items are obsolete. They are dinosaurs of eras past and you would be wasting valuable time and resources if you tried competing in today’s environment with such archaic technology.

Each year, more and more common business practices become outdated and inefficient, and unfortunately, because there are usually companies that survive by offering goods and services related to those practices, they stick around longer than they should. So, here are a few business practices that you should avoid, pardon the pun, at all cost.

Advertising in the Yellow Pages. Do you still let your fingers do the walking? Unless you are specifically targeting customers who are over the age of 70, the best thing to do is save your money or redirect it to a method that works. The odds are you haven’t used the Yellow Pages in years, and if you haven’t, it’s a pretty safe bet that neither have your customers. These days when you want a phone number you probably Google it. Well if you do, they do. Depending on the industry you are in, the cost of acquiring a customer through the Yellow Pages (which includes their online version by the way) can range anywhere from four to ten times the cost of acquiring them through targeted email marketing, social media or Google AdWords advertising.

Faxing. Within 3-to-5 years this will be a thing of the past. So if you’re still using it, why wait? With today’s computer printers and copy machines doing double duty as computer scanners, you can not only save money on a landline and paper, but you can get rid of that bulky apparatus from your desk. Think of the time it would take to print and fax a 20-page document you created. Now think how long it would take to save that document as a PDF file and attach it as an email. As we all say, time is money. You get the picture.

Cold-calling. As Sarah Khogyani pointed out in an April 2013 article on the site nimble.com: “The reason cold-calling emerged as an effective sales technique, was because phoning people was the only way to reach them (except for snail mail). Somewhere along the way, it got out of hand, and cold-calling became the (annoying) industry standard.” Why pay an employee to make these calls? It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack and it often discourages your employee because of the constant rejection. More cost-effective ways to create leads today include using targeted email and social media campaigns that provide a call to action to a potential customer, such as filling out a form so the customer knows someone from your firm will be contacting them about the goods or services you provide. 

Auto Dialers with Pre-Recorded Sales Messages. Aside from now being illegal in many states, nothing quite pisses off people more than getting an annoying sales call—and you can multiply that by 10 if it’s an automated message. While there is nothing wrong with using this technology to offer reminders of appointments, late payments and other similar messages to your current customer base, using it to engage new customers does your business more harm than good. And if you were sold on the idea that it’s a cost-effective way to build your business because the dialers are going to call every number in a specific area, think again. Would you do business with a company that solicited you through a pre-recorded message? Now, ask yourself, why would your customers do business with you?

Celebrity Endorsements. Will you really buy Nespresso (the brand name of Nestlé Espresso) because actors George Clooney and Danny DeVito drank it in a TV commercial? In 2014, Unruly Media surveyed the ad shares from the Superbowl and discovered that the TV commercials featuring celebrities – ranging from the Muppets to Ellen DeGeneres – were not even close to having the impact on social media that the Budweiser commercial of showing a puppy finding its way home had. Companies are now shifting toward finding and building relationships with trusted industry influencers. Unless you are a celebrity yourself, don’t spend money on something that will not pay for itself. Even if you are thinking about using a local celebrity, like a professional athlete, save your money, UNLESS that person also happens to be an industry influencer—and then ask yourself if you can get another industry influencer who is just as impactful for a lot less money.

While the examples above represent obsolete business practices that are directly related with hard dollar costs, there are many other outdated practices associated with effectiveness and productivity, which in the long run, translate to hard dollars. Before going through your Rolodex today, ask yourself if there would be a quicker and more efficient way to find that phone number you are looking for. Perhaps on a computer database or in your cell phone contact list? After you do that, take a step back and start thinking about all the other ways you can increase your effectiveness and productivity.

Howard T. Brody is the Vice President & Director of Operations for the Las Vegas office of Louis Mamo & Company, a business solutions firm that has been servicing clients for more than 30 years. For more information on Howard or the company, visit LMC123NV.com or call 702-931-2022.

STRIPLV TRENDING 0216 featuring HEATHER VAHN

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@HeatherVahn sample from our latest shoot coming soon in @STRIPLVMAG

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@STRIPLVMAG • Dinner at RM Seafood with @vegasfoodnerd vegassmarty

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Chef Rick Moonen @RickMoonen Retweeted vegasfoodnerd • You are

welcome!

JOYSTICK: FAR CRY PRIMAL

Ubisoft’s Far Cry continues its survival series with the introduction of Far Cry Primal,

which takes things to a whole new era: the Stone Age. A very interesting changeup—

sans guns, car, skyscrapers—Primal instead adds in the imminent peril of giant

mammoths and saber-tooth tigers, with humanity on the bottom rung of the food

chain. Face enemy tribes and sharpen your skills to lead the people to try and conquer

the land of Oros. But in order to win this battle, you’ll be using knives, a club, a bow

and arrow (which you craft yourself) and while battling enemy tribes and animals

that rule the globe, you can learn how to tame beasts, and then wield the everpowerful

beast against your enemies. Fans will find this adventure limitless. Released

on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on February 23, 2016, and on PC later this March 2016.

VIRTUAL COCKPITS FROM AUDI

It was two years ago, when Audi captured the attention of the automobile industry

when they displayed their “virtual cockpit,” replacing conventional gauges and

infotainment screens with a single digital display that does both. Now, thinking

of taking it a step further, Audi’s virtual cockpit is being developed into the Audi

virtual dashboard, with the entire system getting to know the customer and their

habits and preferences—following with proactively supporting them, recognizing

touch gestures and with seamless connection of smartphones and smartwatches.

CALLING ALL INSOMNIACS—REST IS NEAR

Sleep Number’s “It” bed was one of

the truly helpful creations at this year’s

CES held in Las Vegas this past January.

This sensor-filled bed is designed with

SleepIQ technology to give you personal

insights and knowledge to adjust for

the “best sleep of your life” by tracking

your entire body hundreds of times per

second (like your heart rate, breathing,

movement). From this monitoring, It

Bed knows your ideal level of firmness,

comfort and support (your personal Sleep

Number setting). It also smart connects

to your personal cloud and home devices,

tracking your life, offering suggestions for

Sleep Number setting to accomodate your early morning appointment, weather, and

more. Pricing starts around $1000 and expected release this summer 2016.

FINALLY—

A CAR SEAT THAT PROPERLY

INSTALLS ITSELF!

With 4-out-of-5 child car seats installed

incorrectly, a highlight creation for parents

at CES was the 4moms self-installing car seat.

You heard it right. Simply buckle the seat belt

and 4moms takes over with the customized

auto-leveling and auto-tension, making for

a perfect installation. Follow the 4moms app

for recommended seat positioning based on

your vehicle’s make and model and to ensure

base is installed at correct level, even when

parked on an incline, plus it gives reminders

to adjust harness and headrest based on

child’s height, weight and projected growth,

with alerts when child is outgrowing the seat.

The car seat continuously monitors as you

drive, checking seat status while the carrier is

connected to assure even the most anxious of

new parents. Fits babies and children weighing

4 to 30 pounds, 32” or less and compatible with

premium strollers. Priced at $499 and expected

release this June 2016. Preorder at 4moms.com

BLINK – AFFORDABLE,

WIRE-FREE HOME

MONITORING SYSTEM

This CES 2016 Innovation Awards Honoree,

known as Blink by Immedia, is a one-of-akind,

battery-powered, ultra-affordable home

monitoring system that is simple to set up

and easy to use. Its compact,

totally wire-free design houses

innovative HD video technology, plus motion and temperature sensors, to

deliver instant home insight to your mobile device. BlinkForHome.com

FIERA AROUSER FOR HER–

HANDS-FREE CLITORAL STIMULATOR

Nuelle, the sexual wellness and intimate solutions company made specifically for

women, designed the Fiera Arouser for Her this past fall and debuted its pleasuring

methods at the 2016 CES. The hands-free personal gadget for women is small enough

to fit in the palm of your hand and contains a suction-like feature that covers the female

clitoris that features three patterns and intensity options for your own personal climactic

experience. With over 70% of all women needing clitoral stimulation to achieve

orgasm, the tiny yet powerful Fiera is great for couples, women getting themselves in

the mood before sex, and a wonderful aid to women who suffer from low libidos. It’s

pricey, but just might be medically necessary since it’s been scientifically proven to help

women recover from low libido—maybe a health write-off? Priced at $250. Fiera.com

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