For those of you who
have never traveled to the West: Cattle guards are horizontal steel
rails placed in ditches across the roads at fence openings to
prevent cattle from crossing over that area. For some reason, the
cattle will not step on the "guards," probably because they fear
getting their feet caught between the rails.
A few months ago,
President Obama received and was reading a report that there were
more than 100,000 cattle guards in Colorado, where ranchers had
protested his proposed changes in grazing policies; so he ordered
the Secretary of the Interior to fire half of the "cattle" guards
immediately! Vice President Joe Biden intervened with a request that
before any "cattle" guards were fired, they be given six months of
The above is a joke. Do
not pass it on to everyone on your email list.
I get this kind of
stuff all the time. For some reason, this one, sent to me by a good
friend, made me laugh, probably because I recall being puzzled by
the cattle guards I saw in Ireland. He prefaced it with a warning
that it might not be true. I was pretty positive it wasn't, but
checked with snopes.com anyhow, learned that this particular joke
was first told about a president in the 1950s (Eisenhower?
I also just got this on
Transfer (EBT) is an electronic system in the United States that
allows state governments to provide taxpayer-funded welfare
benefits by issuing a plastic debit card to use for food,
certain services or cash. In Massachusetts, EBT cards are used
to gamble, join health clubs, travel out of state, and get
tattoos; to buy jewelry, guns, pornography, makeup, and tickets
to movies and sporting events.
Whoa, now that is
REALLY funny! Wait. It's about Massachusetts. Could it possibly be
true? Checking again with snopes.com, found that no urban legends
about EBT cards had been investigated and found inaccurate.
Before I laugh, I need
more information ...
Here it is, a
front-page splash in the Boston Herald about a Boston heroin dealer
who after his latest arrest used his one phone call to ask an
associate to "get my EBT card and go to the ATM and get the money to
bail me out ... tonight."
investigation, it was learned that EBT "poor people" can use the
card as a taxpayer-funded ATM to get cash for anything.
Angered by the story,
House Speaker Bob DeLeo began to support some of the reforms that
had been advocated by state Rep. Shaunna O'Connell (R-Taunton), Rep.
Russell Holmes (D-Boston) and others.
According to the State
House News Service, "the proposed House budget, released last week
for debate next week, contains several new restrictions on what
welfare recipients can purchase using state-issued electronic
benefit cards, including firearms, cosmetics, jewelry, travel
services, health clubs, tattoo parlors and gambling. The
restrictions are similar to those recommended last month by a
special commission on EBT cards, and would add to the current ban on
purchases of alcohol, tobacco or lottery tickets.
"The House budget would
also prohibit liquor stores, casinos, strip clubs, smoke shops, gun
dealers, tattoo parlors, nail salons, health spas, rent-a-centers,
electronics and appliance stores, jewelry shops, gyms, movie
theaters, bail bonds, and bars from accepting EBT cards."
However, Rep. O'Connell
said any reform is meaningless if it allows payouts from the ATM to
be used for any of the prohibited items. She argues that since the
cards are meant for necessary supplemental benefits, they should not
provide cash where there is no way to track the spending, which can
include alcohol, tobacco and lottery tickets. She and legislative
allies are expected to offer a bi-partisan "no cash" amendment
during the budget debate.
The budget document
also would ban using the cards out of state except for the five
Massachusetts border states; apparently they've been found in
Florida during the winter. And, if you're not laughing yet, get
this: State figures show that roughly 20,000 cards are replaced each
Has your sense of humor
absorbed the obvious selling of the cards to those who are not
eligible for welfare, then presently replaced free?
Well, if you're not
laughing, you must be one of those humorless fiscal conservatives.
If you're angry, perhaps you're one of those mean-spirited taxpayers
with no compassion for the poor who need their tattoos.
Need more funnies?
Heard the one from The Hill about the federal General Services
Administration official at the center of a scandal over lavish
government spending, who invoked the Fifth Amendment numerous times
at a congressional hearing on Monday? Jeff Neely had been subpoenaed
for his role in organizing a 2010 Las Vegas conference of the GSA's
Public Buildings Service, for which the $823,000 taxpayer-funded tab
included $146,527 for catered food, $6,325 for commemorative coins
and $75,000 for a cooperation-building exercise to construct
There will be more
hearings, more scandals. But never mind. April 22 is Massachusetts
Tax Freedom Day, the day we taxpayers stop funding government
hilarity and can finally start working for ourselves and our
The comments made
and opinions expressed in her columns are those of Barbara Anderson
and do not necessarily reflect those of Citizens for Limited Taxation.