Mah criticises NSP housing proposal

September 30, 2013

Real estate has entered the political battle during Singapore’s election period, as Minister for National Development Mah Bow Tan recently criticised an Opposition party’s suggestion of providing cheaper housing.

In opposing the Tampines Group Representation Constituency (GRC), the National Solidarity Party (NSP) released a manifesto on 21 April, proposing that the government release new HDB flats to first-time home buyers on a cost-plus basis.

Mr. Mah responded by saying that the NSP has proposed to lower HDB flat prices through cost-plus pricing and under-paying for public housing land.

He believes that the NSP is contradicting the government’s approach of treating HDB flats as both an asset and a home for Singaporeans.

According to Mr. Mah, “The NSP is, in effect, proposing a public rental housing system, since they say flats should just be a roof over the head, without value appreciation. Without the hope of appreciation, housing is then just an expenditure item, rather than an investment — no different from long-term rental.”

Mr. Mah noted that other countries provide rental housing as a form of public housing but due to a lack of maintenance, most of them become slums.

He asked, “Is it really better for Singaporeans’ hard-earned money to go into paying rental, rather than paying for a house they own?”

In addressing concerns over affordability, Mr. Mah remarked that balancing asset enhancement and housing affordability is not an easy task. The minister said that he understood Singaporeans’ concerns about affordability, due to the recent price increase.

Mr. Mah noted that because of ample liquidity and low interest rates, the real estate boom is happening in many countries, especially in Asia.

“To address affordability concerns, we have increased the housing supply and moderated demand — we are monitoring this closely and managing carefully — so that we cool and not crash the market.”   The minister also stressed that eight out of 10 first-time home buyers in 2010 used 25 percent or less of their salaries to service their monthly mortgage.

He added that most young couples can raise the down payment for a new flat in around three years after starting work and expect their CPF contributions to cover most of their loans.

“This is possible because of the large subsidies and grants in place today, to help young couples buy their homes. But Mr. Goh (Meng Seng) claims that paying nothing as a deposit for a new flat or covering monthly mortgages with CPF contributions does not mean public housing is affordable.”

“If being able to use less than a quarter of your income and no cash to finance your flat is not considered affordable, what exactly does Mr. Goh define to be affordable housing?”

More from PropertyGuru:

Singapore govt boosting green building efforts

WP’s housing proposals slammed by Minister Mah

Workers’ Party defends housing proposals

Singapore general election set for 7 May Launches New TV Ad Campaign: ‘Quench Your Thrill Buds’

September 30, 2013

London, UK (PRWEB) April 12, 2008 , Europe’s premier online casino site, has unveiled the first in a series of brand new TV adverts, which aired for the first time on the 9th April. The ads, devised by M&C Saatchi and produced by cutting-edge TV production company Knucklehead, are an inspired interpretation of the site’s new strap line, ‘Quench Your Thrill Buds’.

Directed by Stella Artois short film award winners Zak and Dan, the series of three adverts tap into the emotional thrill of playing online casino games. Entitled Climb, Shark and Parachute respectively, each tells the story of an insatiable thrill seeker whose quest for the ultimate thrill means they push the limits too far with comical, yet fatal consequences.

The first in the series, Climb, is shot in documentary style and sees local mountain man Nolbert Fernadez recount the ill-fated story of his good friend Pedro who goes to ridiculous lengths in his search for thrills. Scenes include Pedro dousing himself in oil and tying his hands behind his back before attempting to climb a mountain. As with all the unlucky thrill seekers in the ads, Pedro doesn’t live to tell the tale, and it ends by showing that he should have ‘quenched his thrill buds’ at instead.

Natalie Coles, Head of Marketing at says, "We are delighted with our three new TV ads, and aim to show that caters for our customers by providing them with plenty of thrill-seeking opportunities." (Ladbrokescasino) is full of action-packed slot and table games, offering over 300 thrills for everyone. From taking a spin on the £5 million jackpot slot Mega Moolah, to testing your luck on three card casino poker, blackjack and roulette – there’s enough to quench everyone’s thrill buds.

For further information, please contact Laura Bryce at Frank PR on

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Digital Natives Looking to Unplug, Connect

September 30, 2013

Make a prediction: how would you think a student today would answer these questions?

  1. If you were creating a classroom, what would it look like?
  2. If you could introduce more technology to your school, what would it be?

In early August, I attended the JET conference at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco. This week-long whirlwind conference explored practical technology applications for educators as well as more theoretical ideas about the intersection of education and technology. As part of the conference, groups of teachers had the opportunity to interview middle school students about their use of technology and what they envisioned for themselves as learners in a classroom.

So what kind of answers would we expect? More technology, right?

The past five years have seen our classrooms and curriculums saturated with technology. One would be hard-pressed to find a professional development conference for teachers or a school staff meeting that didn’t at the very least mention some way of incorporating technology in the classroom. Despite this ubiquity, however, it’s important to remember that this revolution is in its nascent stages, and no consensus has been reached as to how exactly to implement educational technology. For example, some educators use technology that is a replacement of old technologies; paper and pencils have given way to word processing. Other teachers are redefining the way we think about education and student learning.

We’ve been told that in order to prepare students for the 21st century — for jobs we can’t yet even imagine — we need to incorporate technology into our practice at all available opportunities. Some feel that we have to communicate using students’ preferred methods (Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr) or we won’t reach them. If we don’t find a way to engage them in class like the way a video game engages them, this line of thinking alleges, they won’t be able to learn. Is this true? Do they want more technology? Let’s ask the kids.

But, They Want to be Offline, Too…

In a previous article, we explored the idea that labeling this generation of students “digital natives” is problematic. But given the emphasis that the education world is placing on incorporating technology as much as possible into our classrooms, we thought that this was reflecting a trend in the way that students wanted to operate. We hear about 21st century brains, and how these students process information differently; therefore, the reasoning goes, we should therefore change our teaching styles accordingly. When I asked middle school students the questions listed at the beginning of this article, here is an example of the responses I received from this small student sampling:

  1. If you were creating a classroom, what would it look like?

It would be interactive and have a lot of activities. It should be half and half activities and lecture. I do like when it’s more open, but it is important for us to know what lecture looks like because we might have to do that later. The tables should be set up in a circle so we are all facing each other and talking.

  1. If you could introduce more technology to your school, what would it look like?

I guess I’d put a new modem. Maybe fix the Smartboards. They don’t work too well. The colors get super messed up; sometimes the screen just flashes red, blue, and yellow.

Many would view these students as lucky. They come from a school that has numerous educational technology tools already in place. These students are not wanting for technology access. Since these students grew up with technology never much farther than an arm’s length away, we were expecting to hear responses like, “we should play on more iPad apps during class,” or “social media should be used more in school.” It turns out, however, that in this group of students, many talked as if they craved more human interaction, and wanted to unplug more during class. In our classroom, too, many students prefer to take tests and notes by hand rather than on a computer. In fact, our students and these students we interviewed have been around technology so much, that when they were asked questions about technology, they had a hard time understanding the question (what do you mean, technology?). Technology isn’t technology for our students–it’s just part of their lives.

As Ito et al., (2008) explained in their study about social media and children, students are extending their offline relationships to the online social media world, learning important rules about socializing and cultural norms. What the interview with the students suggests is that students need that offline time to build those friendships–and that the classroom is one of the important times where some offline social learning occurs.

If Tech is not Available, Students Want it

We were wondering how much these students’ responses reflected the fact that educational technology was not a novelty for them. Would they have the same “take it or leave it” attitude toward technology if their school (and their home lives) did not provide them with this high level of access? We asked our colleague Aaron Brock, who works with eighth graders in the Compton School District; his students have very limited access to technology both in the classroom and at home. Many of his students said that they wanted more technology in the classroom (more iPads, computers, Smart TVs, access to their SmartPhones). One student talked about why he or she wanted more technology: “It would be iPads so you can send your homework through the iPad and if you need help finding a word you can just search it up on the Internet on your phone.” Everyone else said that learning would be better with more tech.

These students want technology because they believe that education with technology will be better. And it can be– technology can allow students to engage with information in new ways, and students should have the resources of the Internet, the creative outlets of apps like iMovie, and the improvements to written and visual expression that technology allows. Ultimately, they ask for it because they don’t have it; likely they realize that technology can help streamline the education process and allow access to a wealth of information. Conversely, students and educators alike begin to notice technology’s educational limits once they have experience using it. The students who already have easy access to technology have realized that the tech tools can help you to actualize ideas more efficiently, but ultimately, the classroom is the place where those ideas are created – in conversation with others.

This was not an exhaustive study. We simply asked the same two questions to a small handful of students who have had differing levels of access to technology throughout their education. However, their answers may be indicative of a larger trend among students: those who are accustomed to technology in school may realize its shortcomings, and want more face-to-face interactions; those who are not accustomed to technology may think that education is simply better with technology access. We will need to do further research in order to substantiate this, but if it is true, it has interesting implications for the future of educational technology.

Incorporate Tech Meaningfully, Not as Simply a Vehicle for Engagement

We are proponents of meaningful technology use in the classroom; we have a paperless classroom where curriculum is accessed online, where students can watch videos of instructions and skills demonstrations, where students can check their assignments and grades online, and where students use tech tools like Prezi and iMovie to convey their knowledge. We have used Skype and other forms of remote connectivity. We come from the school of thought that the access to information that technology grants is freeing and allows the students to approach new learning more critically–and that this access should be available to all students (lack of access to educational technology is a terrible symptom of much larger educational problems which we haven’t even touched here). Yet, we underestimated the value that the students find in connecting with their teachers and peers.

Educators say not to incorporate technology for technology’s sake, but more often than not, it is assumed that a new tech tool will effectively engage students. We need to look at the purpose of the learning, and then look to see what role technology plays within that purpose. We can’t assume that our students will be more engaged just because technology is involved. As teachers, we shouldn’t be taking away real opportunities for students to engage with each other and simply replacing those opportunities of connection with technology. We are all human. We all want to connect face to face—even the “digital natives.”

References cited:

Ito, M., Horst, H., Bittanti, M., boyd, d., Herr-Stephenson, B., Lange, P., …Robinson L. (2008) Living and learning with new media: Summary of findings from the digital youth project. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Reports on Digital Media and Learning, November 2008.

Photos: from


Follow Scientific American on Twitter @SciAm and @SciamBlogs. Visit for the latest in science, health and technology news.

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Poker Cartel Decides to Stay Put

September 30, 2013

Austin, TX (PRWEB) August 27, 2005

The Poker Cartel has quickly become the most popular poker forum for the seriously-casual poker players. After it’s creation on February 28, 2005, the Cartel quickly took off as people clamored to be part of the fun generated by the Cartel owner, Michael Braxdale, and his staff try to provide their loyal members.

In less than a month of existence they were second in registrations for the prestigious Royal Vegas Poker Forum Challenge among the nearly 100 forums registered to play and took second place in the tournament. Again in June the Cartel took second place in registrations and play in the Forum Challenge IV while competing against forums with as many years of existence as the Cartel has in months.

Their numbers are only about 3,000 at this point, but they are growing by about 15-20 members a day at this point with no slowing in sight. Online poker sites like Noble Poker, CD Poker, Absolute Poker and BoDog Poker have formed alliances with the Cartel that have been mutually beneficial.

When asked about the reason for their success Braxdale thought for a moment and replied, "I think it has to do with the fact that we try to welcome each new member as they join the Cartel and offer them something that they don’t get at other forums. We have a freeroll league with games at several sites and private sit and go tournaments for friends to play friends at Absolute Poker."

Pressed further for details Braxdale stated, "We offer our members poker chip sets and other prizes and only ask that they use our banners to download any new poker sites so we can get preferential treatement when it comes to getting tournaments and prize money added for our members. We don’t force them to do anything special to play in our tournaments, but we do ask that one thing. And if they do and make a deposit we make sure there is more in it for them than just a bonus from the site. We give away custom poker tables, chip sets and shirts to our members that support us in that way. Right now we have two huge promotions on Noble Poker and CD Poker where we will give away 3 custom built poker tables, $2000 in prize money and 10 sets of poker chips. If you find another forum saying ‘thank you’ like that let me know."

After a moments pause he added, "The one thing that probably makes the biggest difference for us is that we really like our members and enjoy what we are doing. Our members are the greatest and we feel a responsibility to do the best we can for them."

Their success has not gone unnoticed by some people in the business world either. They have been approached by two different businesses interested in trying to buy the Cartel, mostly for the name, but declined the offers outright.

"For the effort we have put into this and the popularity and interest it has generated is something money can’t buy," Braxdale claimed. "I don’t know where else we could come up with as cool a brand name either; notorious, but classy, just like the poker we play. In fact, that may have more to do with our success than our hard work and personal attention and if that is the case these guys haven’t come close with their offers."

One thing that is clear from our interview is that Braxdale likes what he has done and is doing and has a genuine affinity for his "friends" in the Cartel. Watch out for these guys because what they lack in technological skills they more than make up for in personal service. You can visit them at pokercartel and then click on the forum link on the left hand side of the page.


Bingo HQ, What the UK Bingo Industry has Been Waiting For

September 30, 2013

London, UK (PRWEB) January 7, 2009

Bingo HQ, a new UK online bingo guide, has launched to provide bingo players a fun and easy way to find, review and talk about what’s great (and not so great) at the UK bingo sites they play at.

Bingo HQ is the first part of the new portal being developed where it serves as a bingo blog, with tips and stories from around the UK online bingo world. Behind the scenes, the team is working to further develop Bingo HQ into a central hub with new tools and features, where players can share and discover the largest bingo jackpots, best free deposit bonuses and top games from the leading UK bingo sites. In addition there are plans to integrate interactive games such as free bingo, video slots and keno.

"What will help differentiate BingoHQ from other UK bingo comparison sites will be that our reviews and rating will be made by real people, the bingo players and not influenced by advertisers," says Paul Marion the community manager at

There are too many directories today run by affiliate marketers and these sites although provide new channels for bingo operators to promote their business inexpensively, it does little to provide true value to foster the UK online bingo industry. will be the first social online bingo community to provide true value to players and in return provide operators an intelligent channel to learn from bingo players in order to better provide an entertainment experience.

"Our goal is to put the players in control and provide the community an easy way to discover great places to play bingo online instead being miss led by the not-so-good operators that seem to be popular just because they could afford to spend more on advertising," says Paul.

At the same time, the Bingo HQ team will provide online bingo operators one of the most powerful marketing tools available on the Web: "word of mouth" to promote their online communities.

Bingo HQ will officially launch the 2nd phase of the site in early spring of 2009. Visit bingo HQ for more information.

About BingoHQ

BingoHQ is the first part of the new portal being developed by experienced bingo players, social media and online marketers for people to find, review, discuss and most importantly recommend the top uk bingo sites.


Weiner: I messaged up to 3 women after resigning

September 30, 2013

NEW YORK (AP) — Anthony Weiner said Thursday that he’d traded racy messages with as many as three women since similar sexting forced him out of Congress. But as he tried to tamp down questions about his behavior, a poll suggested the new disclosures were taking a toll on his mayoral prospects and the House’s top Democrat excoriated him.

Facing a third day of renewed queries and criticism of his conduct as he continued campaigning, the married Democrat also said he supposed he’d had sexually charged exchanges with a total of six to 10 women; he’d previously capped that number at six.

Weiner, the former congressman who resigned in 2011 after the first batch of sexts surfaced, is running for New York mayor and had been near the top of most polls of the Democratic primary race until the latest furor over his behavior began this week when the gossip website The Dirty posted explicit messages that a woman said she and Weiner sent each other starting in July 2012.

The scandal got seamier Thursday when the site posted an unredacted crotch shot that it said Weiner sent to a woman last year.

When reporters attempted to pin down the evasive Weiner as to the number of women with whom he had exchanged illicit messages, he delivered a rambling response before settling on “six to 10, I suppose.” His campaign later clarified that of that total, Weiner corresponded with three of them after leaving office.

Weiner said he was still “working with people” to get help dealing with his penchant for X-rated online flirting, but he disputed that it’s an addiction.

“I don’t believe that it is. The people that I am working with don’t believe that it is,” he told reporters.

“The point is that it’s behind me,” he said. “I have worked through these things.”

The woman who claims to have engaged in the online sex chats with Weiner, 23-year-old Sydney Leathers, confirmed her identity Thursday and told “Inside Edition” that Weiner disgusted her.

“He’s not who I thought he was,” she told the show.

She said Weiner told her that he loved her and she reciprocated. Asked what advice she would give the embattled mayoral candidate, she said, “Stop lying, stop embarrassing his wife and get help.”

Leathers, who hails from Mount Carmel, Ill., and Princeton, Ind., said Weiner started corresponding with her last July, more than a year after he stepped down from Congress and within weeks of a glowing People magazine cover story about his repaired marriage to Hillary Rodham Clinton aide Huma Abedin.

While Weiner says he bets voters care more about their futures than his past, some appear to have deserted him in the first poll taken entirely after his latest indiscretions were revealed.

Before the revelations, Weiner was leading most polls gauging the primary race. But a new NBC 4 New York/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll showed he fell behind City Council Speaker Christine Quinn in the crowded Democratic field.

She leads him 25 percent to 16 percent among registered Democratic voters, according to the poll, which surveyed 551 such voters Wednesday and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.2 percentage points. It found Weiner roughly even with city Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and former city Comptroller Bill Thompson, both at 14 percent; results were similar among likely Democratic voters.

The poll also found 55 percent of registered Democrats now have an unfavorable impression of Weiner, while 30 percent see him favorably. The numbers were nearly the reverse of a June poll by the same entities, which tallied a 52-36 percent favorable-to-unfavorable split then.

“New York City Democrats were willing to give Anthony Weiner a second chance but are reluctant to excuse his behavior now,” Marist College polling director Lee Miringoff said in an analysis of the results.

Still, Democratic voters are roughly evenly split on whether he should drop out of the race, and on whether his digital dalliances will affect their votes.

Those who have donated to his campaign were also conflicted.

Paula Corsi, 46, of Queens, gave $35 to Weiner at a fundraiser June 25. She said she is concerned about this week’s revelations but believes Weiner has good ideas and wants him to stay in the race.

“If the people really don’t want him to run they’ll tell him in September” in the primary, she said. “Let the voters decide.”

But architect Charles Thanhauser, 61, said he regrets giving Weiner $100.

“The continuing texting a year after he resigned from Congress makes me think there’s something extremely wrong with him,” said Thanhauser, of Manhattan. “It makes me question his motives in running for office. It makes me question his judgment.”

Weiner has been urged to quit the race by newspaper editorial boards some rivals. And on Thursday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called his behavior “reprehensible” and “disrespectful of women.” But she said it was up to him to decide whether he should leave the mayor’s race.

Blackjack Player Who Won $15 Million From 3 Casinos Reveals How

September 29, 2013

It’s the stuff that gamblers’ dreams are made of. Blackjack player Don Johnson revealed in a magazine interview how he won $15 million from three Atlantic City’s casinos in about five months.

Previously tightlipped about how he did it, Johnson said he played "fair and square" but he did have some favorable conditions when he played single blackjack hands of up to $100,000.

He won $6 million from the Tropicana; from the Borgata, $5 million, and he took $4 million from Caesar’s, all between December 2010 and April 2011. In an interview with The Atlantic, Johnson described how the casinos gave him a 20 percent discount on his losses and slightly more favorable house rules that let him break the bank.

"I guess for the first time in 30 years, a group of casinos actually had a huge setback on account of one player," Johnson told the magazine. "Somebody connected all the dots and said it must be one guy."

Perks for high rollers, like free hotel stays and trips on jets, are not new to gambling houses. But two years ago with revenues tanking in an unstable market, casinos became desperate to attract big spenders, to the point that they began calling to invite Johnson, a known player, to play in late 2010 with special deals.

Johnson negotiated for discounts as high as 20 percent after his losses hit $500,000 at the Tropicana and then decided to play. So if he were to lose the whole $500,000 he’d only have to pay $400,000.

Johnson admitted to The Press of Atlantic City, taking some losses along the way.

But Tropicana "pulled the deal" after he won a total of $5.8 million, the Borgata cut him off at $5 million, and the dealer at Caesars refused to fill the chip tray once his earnings topped $4 million, according to The Atlantic.

The 49-year-old resident of Bensalem, Pa., said in the interview with The Press that he began playing blackjack 15 years ago, starting with $25 bets. His profession is gambling-related as chief executive officer of Heritage Development LLC, which develops computer-assisted wagering systems for horseracing. His prowess in blackjack, he says, has gotten him banned from some casinos.

Johnson said he did not count cards, which is considered cheating and will get you banned from some casinos, but not illegal. Blackjack players with a trained memory and enough acuity can keep track of which cards have been played and which are still in the deck, thereby maximizing their chances for beating the house.

Explains Richard, a former card counter who today works on Wall Street (and who asks that his last name not be used), "As the composition of the cards in the deck fluctuates, the player’s advantage fluctuates. When he knows he has the advantage, he bets higher. When he knows the advantage has shifted to the house, he bets lower. Not only do you change the amount of your bets, you change your playing strategy: When you know it’s to your advantage, you hit a hand you’d otherwise have decided to stand on."

Alan, a professional gambler who asks that his last name not be used, adds, "Even under normal circumstances, the house’s edge is small against a knowledgeable player. The size of the edge depends on the variation of the game that’s being played, but it can get down to less than 1 percent. Card counting can turn the edge against the casino, which is why management bans card counters when they’re caught."

Henry Tamburin, author of "Blackjack: Take the Money and Run" and editor of Black Jack Insider Newsletter, said it was "unheard of" but not impossible that he was getting a discount of 20 percent on his losses.

"A 20 percent discount?" Tamburin asked, "but if that’s true, and you’re only losing only $8 out of every $10 you bet, you’ve already got an edge if you just keep banging away. All you’d have to do it bet at high levels and use basic strategy."

Alan puts it more bluntly: "I can’t believe casino management would be so dumb as to lose its edge entirely by increasing the [per hand] limits to $100,000 and by forgiving 20 percent of the player’s debt."

But perhaps they were. As the CEO of the Tropicana said in early May, referring to his casino’s loss of $6 million to an undisclosed player assumed to be Johnson, "We ran very unlucky."

In fact, it was the first time since the casinos opened in Atlantic City in 1978 that a gambling house lost money at the game of blackjack over a particular month, a spokesman for New Jersey’s Casino Control Commission told The Star Ledger: "It’s extraordinarily unusual for a casino to lose money at the game of blackjack in a particular month," the spokesman told the paper.

Also Read

Oklahoma Tornado ‘Roulette’ Is Part Of Life

September 29, 2013

If you live in this part of Oklahoma you are playing tornado roulette.

That much was clear from one street we visited.

On one side most houses had sustained very little damage; on the other side there was complete devastation.

The capricious physics of tornadoes adds cruelty to the misfortunes of those who have lost everything.

Like Rob and Jennifer Voss, picking through the remains of their flattened home.

They were smiling because they had just found the hard-drive of their computer, containing photographs, bank records and recipes.

But Jennifer wept as she talked about the moment she would have to show her three-year-old son what remained of their home.

Rob said the only way they had to tell him was to remind him of the story of the three little pigs.

By luck – if you can call it that – they had found that book, one of their son’s favourites, in the rubble.

The realisation they had lost most of their possessions came in waves, they said.

Rob said he kept forgetting it had all gone.

“Yesterday morning it was raining, I thought, ‘I’ll get my rain jacket’ and then I thought, ‘Oh, I don’t have it.’

“Those things are strange.”

Elsewhere, IT technician Ryan Gervaza showed us what remained of his flattened computer building.

Living with the risk of a tornado was, he said, one of the hazards of being an Oklahoman.

“Some people have hurricanes, some people have earthquakes, we have tornadoes,” Mr Gervaza said.

“We’re just crazy enough to stay here.”

The acceptance of tornado roulette is common, as is the resignation about living with that gamble.

Nearby, Lori Cross came to pick up her car, which she had abandoned minutes before the tornadoes struck as she escaped into her niece’s school.

Had she thought about moving?

“Oklahoma’s my home, I’ve lived here all my life. I’m not going to leave.

“Tornadoes can come and go, but I’m going to be here”.

WW2 Marine’s diary: A brief look at a brief life

September 29, 2013

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Before Cpl. Thomas “Cotton” Jones was killed by a Japanese sniper in the Central Pacific in 1944, he wrote what he called his “last life request” to anyone who might find his diary: Please give it to Laura Mae Davis, the girl he loved.

Davis did get to read the diary — but not until nearly 70 years later, when she saw it in a display case at the National World War II Museum.

“I didn’t have any idea there was a diary in there,” said the 90-year-old Mooresville, Ind., woman. She said it brought tears to her eyes.

Laura Mae Davis Burlingame — she married an Army Air Corps man in 1945 — had gone to the New Orleans museum on April 24 looking for a display commemorating the young Marine who had been her high-school sweetheart.

“I figured I’d see pictures of him and the fellows he’d served with and articles about where he served,” she said.

She was stunned to find the diary of the 22-year-old machine gunner.

Curator Eric Rivet (rih-VET) let her take a closer look, using white gloves to protect the old papers from skin oils. It was the first time in his 17 years of museum work that someone found “themselves mentioned in an artifact in the museum,” Rivet said.

The diary was a gift to Jones from Davis. They had met in the class of ’41 at Winslow High School. “He was a basketball player and I was a cheerleader,” she said.

Jones had given her his class ring but they weren’t engaged, she said. They had dated through high school. They went to the prom together.

He made his first diary entry while a private at Camp Elliott in San Diego, a little less than a year before he was killed. He described it as “my life history of my days in the U.S. Marine Corps … And most of all my love for Laura Mae for whom my heart is completely filled. So if you all get a chance please return it to her. I (am) writing this as my last life request.”

A sniper’s bullet between the eyes killed Jones on Sept. 17, 1944, the third day of the U.S. assault on the Pacific island of Peleliu (PEL-uh-loo), in Palau.

Peleliu was where U.S. forces learned the Japanese had changed their island defense tactics. Instead of concentrating units on the beaches and finishing with reckless banzai charges, the Japanese holed up in bunkers, trenches, pillboxes and caves — many of them blasted into the island’s hills and mountains — that had to be taken one at a time.

Jones, nicknamed in high school for his blond hair, was in the 1st Marine Division’s L Company, 3rd Battalion. He was among 1,794 Americans killed on Peleliu and nearby islands in a 2½-month assault that Marine Maj. Gen. William Rupertus had predicted would be over in a few days. Another 7,302 Americans were wounded. An estimated 10,900 Japanese were killed; 19 soldiers and sailors became prisoners of war. Another 283 POWs were laborers, mostly Korean.

Burlingame said she didn’t know why she never got the diary. It apparently went first to a sister of Jones whom she didn’t know well, she said.

Robert Hunt of Evansville, the nephew who gave Jones’ artifacts to the museum in 2001, told her he had received it several years after Jones’ death and worried that passing it on to Burlingame might cause problems with her marriage. It wouldn’t have, she said: “My husband and Tommy were good friends.”

When she learned Hunt was collecting mementoes for the museum, Burlingame said, she gave him photographs and the class ring.

Jones’s last entry, written aboard the USS Maui on Dec. 1, 1943, described winning $200 at craps. He had a total of $320, he wrote, and if he were back home “Laura Mae & I would really have a wonderful Xmas.” He wondered if he could wire the money to her as a Christmas present.

That didn’t happen, Burlingame said. She said she was touched by the number of times he mentioned getting letters from his parents and her.

Burlingame’s tour group had to leave but the museum scanned the diary and mailed a copy to her.

The diary’s 4-by-7-inch back cover was nearly filled with her photograph. The picture itself was black and white, but the photographer had tinted her cheeks pink and her lips dark red.

She had signed it, “Love, Laurie.”

First Major U.S. Sports Brand Hits Casino Floors: NASCAR Makes History With New Slot Machine by Bally Technologies

September 29, 2013

Las Vegas, NV (PRWEB) July 18, 2013

NASCAR is taking the lead among U.S sports when it comes to embracing legalized gambling with its new video slot machine produced by Bally Technologies.

The virtual-racing thrill ride is NASCAR’s first officially licensed slot machine and the first officially licensed gaming machine of any of the major sports in the United States.

NASCAR’s bet on gaming appears to be paying off big as hundreds of machines are popping up on casino floors all over the U.S. while Bally Technologies is producing hundreds more. Perhaps the success of the new slot machine should come as no surprise.

“NASCAR knows through research that there’s a big crossover with their fan base and gaming," said Mike Trask, Corporate Communications Manager for Bally Technologies. "The release of the NASCAR game gives its fans and all gaming enthusiasts a chance to experience the virtual adventure of America’s biggest spectator sport through a real-time race to a progressive jackpot."

With an average of more than 120,000 attendees at each race, NASCAR has the highest average attendance of any sport in the U.S. and its popularity has made it the second-most watched sport on television with its brand-loyal fans. The NASCAR game speaks to those fans by providing them the opportunity to extend the excitement of watching the sport to playing the sport.

The NASCAR game gives each player the opportunity to essentially become the driver as they select from some of the sport’s top professional racers and can participate in an interactive race around a simulated Daytona International Speedway with high-definition displays and a custom surround-sound chair.

The game is 100 percent NASCAR official with personalized audio and videos of the professional drivers, recognizable racecars using authentic numbers and sponsors, overhead audio by legendary announcer and host of “NASCAR Live” Eli Gold, and music identifiable with television broadcast races. Customers select from one of five famed NASCAR drivers – Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Jeff Gordon, Clint Bowyer, Jimmie Johnson, and Kevin Harvick – and experience video through three high-definition touch screens including a 32-inch vertical display screen on top of a 22-inch game screen and audio delivered through a surround-sound chair with ear-level built-in speakers.

Players are made to feel as if they are literally in the driver’s seat from the vibrating chair and the sounds of an 800-horsepower engine, race car chatter, passing cars and a cheering crowd.

The game also features three bonuses: the Pit Stop Bonus, Burnout Free Games, the U-Race™ Bonus, each with multiple awards. Players also have a chance at winning a life-changing progressive award starting at $750,000 on a wide-area progressive link and $10,000 on a near-area progressive version.

About Bally Technologies, Inc.

With a history dating back to 1932, Las Vegas-based Bally Technologies designs, manufactures, operates, and distributes advanced gaming devices, systems and technology solutions worldwide. Bally’s product line includes reel-spinning slot machines, video slots, wide-area progressives, interactive and mobile applications, and Class II, lottery, and central-determination games and platforms. For more information, please contact Laura Olson-Reyes, Senior Director, Marketing & Corporate Communications, at #


The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. (NASCAR) is the sanctioning body for one of North America’s premier sports. NASCAR races are broadcast in more than 150 countries and in 20 languages. In the U.S., races are broadcast on FOX, TNT, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2, SPEED and SiriusXM Satellite Radio. NASCAR fans are among the most brand-loyal in all of sports, and as a result more Fortune 100 companies participate in NASCAR than any other sport. NASCAR consists of three national series (the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series, and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series), four regional series, and one local grassroots series, as well as two international series. Also part of NASCAR is Grand-Am Road Racing, known for its competition on road courses with multiple classes of cars. NASCAR sanctions more than 1,200 races at 100 tracks in more than 30 U.S. states, Canada, and Mexico. Based in Daytona Beach, Fla., NASCAR has offices in eight cities across North America. For more information and a complete schedule, visit nascar Follow NASCAR on facebook or on Twitter: @NASCAR.


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