Free Calls to America From Almost Anywhere

Excerpted from a recent New York Times article: is a new ad-supported Web service that lets you make phone calls to any number in the United States from any computer with a Web browser and a broadband connection.

The service, which begins Thursday, requires you to view a short ad before you place the call. The audio is played through the browser, and the site uses your computer’s microphone to transmit what you say.

There is a limit to the fun, however. Unregistered users can make calls of up to two minutes; registration — which is also free — gives you unlimited calls of up to 15 minutes. While it’s not as versatile as other Internet calling services like Skype or Vonage, it is enough to make a few quick calls while on the road without racking up long-distance charges.

Most important, the service works domestically and all over the world.


KB Toys to Close All Stores

KB Toys, one of the nation’s largest toy retailers, filed for bankruptcy protection Thursday with a plan to close all of its stores, becoming the latest chain to succumb to the sharp decline in consumer spending this year.

The company, which runs about 460 stores, said in court papers that it intended to immediately begin going-out-of-business sales in its stores, while trying to find a buyer for its wholesale distribution unit.

KB Toys filed a Chapter 11 petition in Federal Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, along with eight affiliates, listing assets in the range of $100 million to $500 million and liabilities in the same range.

The company, which started in 1922 as a family-owned business, previously filed for bankruptcy protection in 2004 and emerged from bankruptcy in 2005 after selling itself to Prentice Capital Management.

KB Toys said it had 10,850 employees, about 6,515 of them seasonal. About 277 stores are located in malls; 30 operate seasonally and were set to close in January.

KB Toys Plans to Liquidate Its Stores –


Opportunity to Help Reform Health Care

Taken from Daschle asks Americans to help reform health care, by Dave Rochelson

As the Transition’s Health Policy team puts together its recommendations for the incoming Obama-Biden Administration, we want your thoughts and suggestions.

That’s why we’re asking Americans all across the country to host health care community discussions over the next few weeks to get input and ideas from their friends, family, and communities.

Senator Tom Daschle, leader of the Transition’s Health Policy Team, will be selecting one of these meetings to attend in person. And just like the Obama campaign did with its platform meetings this past summer, after the meetings are over, the team will use the advice to put together their final recommendations for the new administration.

President-Elect Obama has made clear that health reform is a top priority — not only because all Americans deserve quality, affordable care, but because it’s essential to getting the economy back on track.

“Our long-term fiscal prospects will have a hard time improving as long as sky-rocketing health care costs are holding us all down,” he said. “These health care community discussions are a great way for the American people to have a direct say in our health care reform efforts.”

If you’re interested in hosting a health care community discussion in your home or neighborhood anytime from December 15th to the 31st, sign up here.

And you can learn more about the Obama-Biden Transition’s approach to health policy here.

Daschle asks Americans to help reform health care | The Obama-Biden Transition Team.