“Government Accountability Institute”

Donald Trump’s chief White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon accepted $376,000 in pay over four years for working 30 hours a week at a tiny tax-exempt charity in Tallahassee while also serving as the hands-on executive chairman of Breitbart News Network. During the same four-year period, the charity paid about $1.3 million in salaries to two other journalists who said they put in 40 hours a week there while also working for the politically conservative news outlet, according to publicly available documents filed with the Internal Revenue Service.

AVC Travel

Got a phone call a while back from a company claiming I had won a contest with a prize of an SUV or a cruise. Since that’s not the kind of thing I’d want to win, I was immediately suspicious. The fact that they had fake caller ID info didn’t help. I told them I was pretty certain I hadn’t entered any such contest, and if they thought otherwise they could send me some info in the mail.

Community quiz

1. It’s 10:30 at night. You’re watching TV, when someone knocks quietly on the front door. Do you: Answer the door. Ignore it. Yell “Go away.” Pretend you’re not in. Call the police. Fetch your gun. 2. Imagine you open the door. It’s dark, and a light rain has recently stopped. There’s a man at the door. He’s reasonably well dressed, but has torn the pocket of his trousers on something.


I just got a phone call from someone claiming we had won some sort of prize. Specifically, one of the following: A Ford Explorer. $2,500 cash. A 7 night cruise in Florida and the Bahamas. A 27″ Panasonic TV. Obviously right away I was suspicious. Decades of experience have taught me that mathew winning valuable prizes is not the way the universe works. As a young child I had a bunch of Premium Bonds; ERNIE never picked me, but my cousin won something several times.

Mortgage protection insurance

Buying a house is a really good way to attract the attention of sleazy businesses. We’ve had about a dozen offers of mortgage protection insurance. It’s not the service which is sleazy, it’s the way they offer it: The envelope has a message saying something like “Urgent information about your mortgage”. The name of the company we arranged our mortgage through is displayed in bold on the envelope, and usually in large bold print on the letter inside, to make it look as if it’s from them.

Free iPod!

Apparently there are some people still falling for that “freeipod.com” pyramid scheme. I posted a pretty skeptical analysis last month, but TrollJournal ate it. I thought the whole pyramid would have collapsed by now, but it seems not. So, let’s repeat the analysis… Let’s try to give freeipod.com the benefit of the doubt, and be optimistic in our analysis. First off, note that every time someone goes to the site and registers directly, rather than being referred there, nobody gets credit for that new member, so existing members are less likely to get their free iPods.