Saturday, March 07, 2009

And Then The Fight Started...

A man and a woman were asleep like two innocent babies.

Suddenly, at 3 o'clock in the morning, a loud noise came from outside.

The woman, bewildered, jumped up from the bed and yelled at the man 'Holy crap. That must be my husband!'

So the man jumped out of the bed; scared and naked he jumped out the window. He smashed himself on the ground, ran through a thorn bush and to his car as fast as he could go.

A few minutes later he returned and went up to the bedroom and screamed at the woman, 'I AM your husband!'

The woman yelled back, 'Yeah, then why were you running?'

And then the fight started...

Friday, March 06, 2009

Spring Forward, Fall Back

Daylight Savings Time begins Sunday March 8 at 2:00 am.  Move your clocks AHEAD one hour.

Don't forget! You don't want to be late to church or whatever other activity you indulge in where you have to get up and go on Sunday mornings.

Brought to you as a Public Service Announcement. 
You may resume normal websurfing.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

40 years of marriage...

A married couple in their early 60s was celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary in a quiet, romantic restaurant. Suddenly, a tiny yet beautiful fairy appeared on their table. She said, For being such an exemplary married couple and for being loving to each other for all this time, I will grant you each a wish.'

The wife answered, 'Oh, I want to travel around the world with my darling husband.' The fairy waved her magic wand and - poof! - two tickets for the Queen Mary II appeared in her hands.

The husband thought for a moment: 'Well, this is all very romantic, but an opportunity like this will never come again. I'm sorry my love, but my wish is to have a wife 30 years younger than me.'

The wife, and the fairy, were deeply disappointed, but a wish is a wish. So the fairy waved her magic wand and poof... the husband became 92 years old.

The moral of this story: Men who are ungrateful should remember fairies are female...

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Get your (not-so) free grant money

By Chadwick Matlin

The Big Money
updated 8:06 p.m. ET, Wed., Feb. 25, 2009

Meet Kevin Hoeffer. Kevin is an altruistic man who just received $12,759.62 from the federal government. He wants all of the readers of his blog to be able to do the same. So he points the way to a free grant kit (plus $1.99 shipping and handling) to use to apply for a government handout. Once you do that, you'll get your $12,000. It's that simple. He even provides a copy of his official Treasury grant check to prove its legitimacy (see above.)

Sure, the name on the check is a little fuzzy ... but he was probably just protecting his identity! And how can you distrust a "proud firefighter and family man" and a Texan through and through? The photo makes him look like an all-American boy who met the woman of his dreams and started a family.

Kevin is not alone in his fortune. Meet Tom Donahue, a "proud firefighter and family man" born and raised in New York, who is also a grant recipient. Judging by the photo on Tom's site, he's Kevin's estranged twin. We'd run the image, but you can just look above at Kevin's — it appears to be the exact same as Tom's.

But please don't confuse him with Jeff Donahue, who also got a fuzzy grant check. And then there's Joe Hoeffer (Kevin's brother?), a man with the same face and the same blog layout as Kevin, Tom, and Jeff. Mike Russo, too. And Sam Kelley. And Ben Karlson.

And in case you thought this incestuous Web ring was sexist, there's also a place for Mary Cestaro, the "proud business woman by day and a wonderful wife by night" of all these doppelgängers.

These people are the faces of a new, pervasive scam that's piggybacking on Washington's stimulus agenda. All of the blogs tell you to use the free software to get the $12,000 grants. To order that software, the blogs link off-site to a variety of Web sites filled with testimonials about how great their free grant-finding software is. What they don't say is that if you fail to cancel your subscription — a subscription the sites don't reveal exists outside — they'll charge your credit card until you discover their scheme and tell them to stop. (The going rate seems to be $50-$70.) It's a devious system whose ads are proliferating across the Internet and has embarrassed Facebook into pulling them down. A close read of the scams' semiotics offers an insight not just to our weakness for get-rich-quick schemes, but also our current economic moment.

These grant sites have been around for many years, but they're now enjoying a resurgence. The political rhetoric in Washington has all but equated the phrase stimulus check with free grant. Thus, the opportunity for these scam sites has emerged. Links to the blogs have been filtered into text ad networks, which mean they can appear on any Web site using third-party ad suppliers. And with the ad market suffering across the Web, there's more and more likelihood that this riffraff will bubble to the top, since scammers are the ones with money to burn on advertising budgets these days.

Case in point: Just now I was reading an e-mail from the White House on Obama's address to Congress. Gmail's sponsored link that ran on top of the mail led to, another gateway blog with a blurred check and a relatable story.

At this point, the tag line on the ad should sound familiar: "Read How I Got a $12k Check From The New Economic Stimulus Package." It almost sounds like news from an RSS feed.

This time, the grantee is Jake Miller; 22 years old, married three years, two kids, just lost his job as an "assembly line worker in an auto parts factory." He is an embodiment of the blue-collar American cliché. The site suggests that the government is finally taking care of Main Street, not just Wall Street, and I should get my due.

Google issued the following statement regarding the advertisements: "As Google is not affiliated with these sites, we can't comment on individual claims. However, we recommend that users exercise the same amount of caution they would when evaluating other types of get rich quick claims.")

The ads were especially endemic to Facebook, seemingly appearing at least once a visit on the right side of the page. Reader Eric Francis sent in some of the ads he was seeing on his Facebook pages (see below). Note the use of the word stimulus, rooting the ads in the news and implying that there could be an unexplored angle in Washington's bailouts.

This led to a minor rebellion in which users started reporting the ads for objectionable content and, as longtime Slate contributor Paul Boutin noted on the Industry Standard, moaning about it on Twitter. (You know we've reached a special kind of frivolous irony when Facebook is held accountable by the Twittering throngs.)

Facebook eventually took down the ads two weeks ago, according to a spokeswoman, because it violated Section 9 of its ad guidelines, which prohibits "scams, illegal activity and/or illegal contests, pyramid schemes, or chain letters." It credited its users for flagging the content. "In this case, users informed us about misleading offers in many ads with promotions related to the U.S. economic stimulus package," read the statement. But that doesn't explain how these ads got through in the first place. When asked about how they slipped through, the Facebook spokeswoman e-mailed, "We use a combination of methods, but don't discuss the specifics."

Intriguingly, all of the ads I've seen link to only the gatekeeper blog sites. None of them links directly to the Web sites where you actually sign up for the shady grant software and its onerous subscription. It's as though they're the warm-up con artist who greases your wallet for the main act. The gateway blogs appear to be purely altruistic parties with no revenue stream available. This helps engender trust with the audience, since the blogs can't possibly be ripping you off if they have nothing to gain from the deal. But in reality, there is reason to believe that the blogs are profiting. The grant-software sites appear to be tracking referrals from the gateway blogs, and there may be some revenue sharing at play. (You can tell by the "hitid" section of the grant sites' URLs, which vary depending on which gateway blogs you use to arrive at the site.)

Most importantly, the gateways provide a personable introduction to an anonymous scam. All of the blog owners are hardworking Americans who just fell a little behind on their bills and caught a few bad breaks. But luckily, they applied for a grant and got "the money that the government owes you," or so says a passage at the top of all these Web sites. Again, the sites tap into the populist anger in the country while also saying that the government (read: Obama) is finally taking care of its people.

The Obama love continues when you get to the actual grant-software sites. There are several sites that the different blogs link to, many of them with different URLs but the exact same layout and content. It's unclear whether all the copies belong to the same company or if some scammers are getting plagiarized. Regardless, all of them feature two things. First, there are logos of news agencies to lend legitimacy to an illegitimate enterprise. This despite the sites never having appeared in the news agencies' pages or broadcasts. And alongside the logos is always, without fail, our 44th president. The grant-software site that was linked to most often in my adventures had the unfortunately verbose URL of, and it welcomes you with a note that "President Obama want to issue a STIMULUS PLAN for people in need of government aid and free federal money." (Sketchy-Web site owners do not typically master their subject-verb agreements.)

Further, the grant sites provide one of those creepy floating talking heads in the bottom-right of the screen to tell you how badly Obama wants you to take this money. A transcript of most of her speech:

“Since being elected to office, President Obama's primary goal has been to revitalize the economy. And he plans to do this by putting more money in the hands of Americans just like you and me in the form of government grants. The president and our new government understand the hardships that most Americans have dealt with over the past few years. Rising gas prices, the subprime mortgage collapse, and the rising unemployment rate. So they've just recently set aside more federal funds than ever before to give money to Americans just like you.”

It's a smart strategy to peg the altruism on Obama — polls show most Americans still believe he's our economic savior. Think what his numbers would be if he actually handed out $12,000 checks.

I tried to speak to these grant-software sites for comment, but they were hard to reach. Many of their contact links don't actually lead anywhere, and few phone numbers are listed. But I did find two contact numbers. The first led to a terrifying answering machine message that sounded like it was recorded by an asphyxiating E.T.

The other was discovered deep within a subpage of I called the number and was connected to a nice woman named Anne, who informed me that people call asking about GGS every day. When I asked where GGS headquarters were located, she responded that I had reached only the call center, which was in the Philippines. There's some reason to believe it isn't just the call center that's in the Philippines but also GGS's operations. GGS's terms and conditions sheet is tied to a company called JRS Media Solutions. JRS, according to the terms and conditions sheet, is located in Pasig City, Philippines.

But Anne said that GGS was actually located in New York, not the Philippines. Considering I was in New York, I figured I owed them a visit. She gave me their address — 305 West Broadway, No. 114 — and I took the train downtown. GGS's block of West Broadway is a reasonably developed bit of downtown Manhattan, but there are few office buildings nearby. And so, instead of an office at 305 West Broadway, No. 114, I found a mailbox. No. 114 is GGS's mailbox number at the 305 West Broadway UPS, not its apartment or suite number. GGS's footprint in this country is limited to a 2-by-2-inch box. Discouraged, I started walking out of the UPS store but figured I'd ask how much it costs to rent out a mailbox. Five hundred and twenty bucks a year.

I doubt they used federal grant money to pay for it.

© 2009
by Patrick J. Buchanan 
Posted 03/03/2009 ET

In his campaign and inaugural address, Barack Obama cast himself as a moderate man seeking common ground with conservatives.

Yet, his budget calls for the radical restructuring of the U.S. economy, a sweeping redistribution of power and wealth to government and Democratic constituencies. It is a declaration of war on the Right.

The real Obama has stood up, and lived up to his ranking as the most left-wing member of the United States Senate.

Barack has no mandate for this. He was even behind McCain when the decisive event that gave him the presidency occurred -- the September collapse of Lehman Brothers and the market crash.

Republicans are under no obligation to render bipartisan support to this statist coup d'etat. For what is going down is a leftist power grab that is anathema to their principles and philosophy.

Where the U.S. government usually consumes 21 percent of gross domestic product, this Obama budget spends 28 percent in 2009 and runs a deficit of $1.75 trillion, or 12.7 percent of GDP. That is four times the largest deficit of George W. Bush and twice as large a share of the economy as any deficit run since World War II.

Add that 28 percent of GDP spent by the U.S. government to the 12 percent spent by states, counties and cities, and government will consume 40 percent of the economy in 2009.

We are not "headed down the road to socialism." We are there.

Since the budget was released, word has come that the U.S. economy did not shrink by 3.8 percent in the fourth quarter, but 6.2 percent. All the assumptions in Obama's budget about growth in 2009 and 2010 need to be revised downward, and the deficits revised upward.

Look for the deficit for 2009 to cross $2 trillion.

Who abroad is going to lend us the trillions to finance our deficits without demanding higher interest rates on the U.S. bonds they are being asked to hold? And if we must revert to the printing press to create the money, what happens to the dollar?

As Americans save only a pittance and have lost -- in the value of homes, stocks, bonds and other assets -- $15 trillion to $20 trillion since 2007, how can the people provide the feds with the needed money?

In his speech to Congress, Obama promised new investments in energy, education and health care. Every kid is going to get a college degree. We're going to find a cure for cancer.

Who is going to pay for all this?

The top 2 percent, the filthy rich who got all those Bush tax breaks, say Democrats. But the top 5 percent of income earners already pay 60 percent of U.S. income taxes, while the bottom 40 percent pays nothing.

Those paying a federal tax rate of 35 percent will see it rise to near 40 percent and will lose a fifth of the value of their deductions for taxes, mortgage interest and charitable contributions.

Yet, two-thirds of small businesses are taxed at the same rate as individuals. Consider what this means to the owner of a restaurant and bar in Los Angeles open from noon to midnight, where a husband and wife each put in 80 hours a week.

At year's end, the couple finds they have actually made a profit of $500,000 that they can take home in salary.

What is the Obama-Schwarzenegger tax take on that salary?

Their U.S. tax rate will have hit 39.6 percent.

Their California income tax will have hit 9.55 percent.

Medicare payroll taxes on the proprietor as both employer and salaried employee will be $14,500. Social Security payroll taxes for the proprietor as both employer and employee will be $13,243.

In short, U.S. and state income and payroll taxes will consume half of all the pair earned for some 8,000 hours of work.

From that ravaged salary they must pay a state sales tax of 8.25 percent, gas taxes for the 50-mile commute, and tens of thousands in property taxes on both their restaurant and home. And, after being pilloried by politicians for having feasted in the Bush era, they are now told the tax deduction they get for contributing to the church is to be cut 20 percent, while millions of Obama voters, who paid no U.S. income tax at all, will be getting a tax cut -- i.e., a fat little check -- in April.

Any wonder native-born Californians are fleeing the Golden Land?

Markets are not infallible. But the stock market has long been a "lead indicator" of where the economy will be six months from now. What are the markets, the collective decisions of millions of investors, saying?

Having fallen every month since Obama's election, with January and February the worst two months in history, they are telling us the stimulus package will not work, that Tim Geithner is clueless about how to save the banks, that the Obama budget portends disaster for the republic.

The president says he is gearing up for a fight on his budget.

Good. Let's give him one.
I believe -

Two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different.

Monday, March 02, 2009

In Honor

In honor of the mother of the octuplets, 
Denny's is offering a new breakfast meal: 

You get fourteen eggs, no sausage, 
and the guy next to you has to pay the bill.
Judge Not

I was shocked, confused, bewildered
As I entered Heaven's door,
Not by the beauty of it all,
Nor the lights or its decor.

But it was the folks in Heaven
Who made me sputter and gasp--
The thieves, the liars, the sinners,
The alcoholics and the trash.

There stood the kid from seventh grade
Who swiped my lunch money twice.
Next to him was my old neighbor
Who never said anything nice.

Herb, who I always thought
Was rotting away in hell,
Was sitting pretty on cloud nine,
Looking incredibly well.

I nudged Jesus, 'What's the deal?
I would love to hear Your take.
How'd all these sinners get up here?
God must've made a mistake.

'And why's everyone so quiet,
So somber - give me a clue.'
'Hush, child,' He said, 'they're all in shock.
No one thought they'd be seeing you.'


Remember...Just going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in your garage makes you a car.

Every saint has a PAST....
Every sinner has a FUTURE!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Trust your calculator. It's something to count on.
"Love your neighbor as yourself and your country more than yourself."

—Thomas Jefferson, letter to Thomas Jefferson Smith, February 21, 1825