Monday, August 31, 2009

Prepaid Cards Have Hidden Fees

Hidden expenses in prepaid cards

Published: Sunday, August 30, 2009 at 4:03 a.m.

As students head back to college, marketers are promoting prepaid cards as a way for young adults to learn financial responsibility and for Mom and Dad to monitor a child's spending.

But a prepaid card can be an expensive teaching tool, and not necessarily the best one.

Basically, parents buy a card, load it with money and give it to a child to use like a credit card. It's up to students to track their spending. Once the money runs out, parents can reload the card.

A recent report by Consumers Union says prepaid cards can carry a wide range of fees, some of them hefty and not always easy to find. Fees vary from card to card, of course. But here is some of what Consumers Union found:

Some cards don't charge an activation fee; others do and charge as much as $29.95.

Many cards charge monthly fees that can be as high as $10. Some assess annual fees of $29.95 to $99.95.

Most cards charge a $2 fee to withdraw cash from an ATM, not counting a fee from the bank to use its ATM.

Cards often offer free ways, such as e-mail or text message, to check a card balance. Check it at an ATM and you may pay 50 cents to $1.

Overdrafts are possible if purchases aren't posted immediately and you spend more than the card holds. You can get hit with a $14.95 to $29 "shortage fee."

If you don't use the card for a couple of months or more, you might owe $1.50 to $5.95 a month for inactivity.

Consumers Union says some card issuers offer consumer protections in case a card is lost or stolen, but protections aren't guaranteed, as they are with debit cards.

"Until the protections are the same with the debit card, we advise consumers to stay away from this if at all possible," says Michelle June, a Consumers Union staff attorney. "We recommend that parents obtain a good old-fashioned bank account" for their college student.

The Network Branded Prepaid Card Association counters that Consumers Union doesn't give the full picture and should have compared prepaid cards to alternatives, such as check cashing and money orders, that are more costly to use. And the trade group says if not for prepaid cards, millions of consumers wouldn't have access to the convenience of plastic.

But college students don't belong in that group. They should have a checking account with a debit card tied to it. And when they learn to handle that responsibly over time, they can graduate to a credit card.

(Begin optional trim) Janet Bodnar, author of "Raising Money Smart Kids," says credit, debit and prepaid cards all have their drawbacks, but a debit card is the best way to teach financial responsibility to young adults. Sure, college students might get hit with a $30 overdraft fee if they overspend using a debit card, but that's a lesson they need to learn, and the earlier the better, she says.

Prepaid cards not only have a lot of fees, Bodnar says, but they send a message to students that if they overspend, parents will bail them out by loading more dollars onto the cards.

"You are not really teaching them to manage their own money," she says.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Sunflower Caffe

I just realized I've been misspelling my favorite Sonoma restaurant, The Sonoma Caffe! Caffe has two f's, not one.

Nevertheless no matter how you spell it, this is a GREAT place to eat and hang with friends. I love the spinach salad with chicken and totally enjoy sitting in the back patio.

Today, I snapped a few pics to share with you which include owner, James Hahn.


Friday, August 28, 2009

Sonoma's Sky Today

Do you really think these are normal clouds??

The only good thing about all these man-made artificial poisonous 'clouds' is the beautiful sunset they make (link)!

7:30 am

10 am


Looking Beyond Sonoma Chemtrails

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Peek at Sonoma's Farmers Market

All summer every Tuesday 5pm 'til dark, the Sonoma Plaza Farmer's Market is a great place to meet up with friends and enjoy the beautiful California weather!


Sunday, August 23, 2009

"Toxic Skies" Watch the Movie Online Now

Wonder what the REAL agenda is here?

Here is the trailer to a 2008 movie called 'Toxic Skies' starring Anne Heche.


As always, the comments are very interesting. This clip was also posted back in Dec 2008 and here are a few of comments from there...

From conax133:
"I'm an Air Force veteran, E-6, 14 years active duty ending in 1986. In 1994 I saw the first chemtrails near a large logistical base. They are concentrated over populated areas, they contain barium, aluminum, and dessicated blood pathogens, as well as nano-tech particle. Possible uses are weather modification, lowering of sunlight levels , communication in the ELF band, and general poisoning of our environment. The High Altitude Auroral Research Project is probably a major benefactor, as this metallic haze turns our atmosphere into a plasma that conducts miocrowaves effectively for weather modification, and SCALAR warfare. Read up on Nikola Tesla and HAARP..."

From seektress
"I have been working on this since 1999, with Clifford Carnicom & many others. The key to good dis-info is to make as much of it as can be factual. It's those little lies & twists that deceive and help install the giggle factor. I know of no serious researcher that thinks illegal aerosol operations are using laced jet fuel. That idea flies out the window pretty fast. The Discovery channel's treatment of the issue used the same device. Google "Patently Obvious" Naaaww...they wouldn't do thaaaaat."

From Techstuf:
"Surely you people see the point to this "movie".....? The powers that be know it is a numbers game. They know that people prefer the power of entertainment, diversion, propaganda. They also know that by putting this movie out there, as they have done with numerous other movies, that whenever some well meaning person tries to inform others about the reality of chemtrails, the ignorant movie lover will laugh and say, "you watch too many movies" God bless em"

Toxic Skies from Johnson Production Group

"Toxic Skies - Dir. by Andrew C. Erin; starring Anne Heche, James Tupper

"For years the government has been involved in a secret operation involving contrails - the visible lines of condensed water vapor that jets leave in the sky. If you asked them, they would suggest that this is done in the name of environmental protection - a safeguard that will alleviate global warming by reflecting sunlight back into the atmosphere. The real truth: these contrails are actually a toxic substance, or virus, deliberately sprayed upon an unsuspecting populace in order to "weed out the old and the sick".

"As Spokane's hospitals begin filling up with patients suffering from a deadly sickness, Dr. Tess Martin, a specialist from the Global Health Association, embarks on a mission to find the truth. Before long, the virus spreads like wildfire and becomes a full-on epidemic, with Tess' own 10 year old son now among the infected. With over 70 percent of Spokane dying from the virus, Tess and her son's only chance of survival is to get out of the city and find a cure, but the President has declared a national emergency and quarantined all of Spokane -- nobody is allowed out, and nobody is allowed in.

"When the President passes a bill allowing the use of military force to keep Spokane from spreading the virus, it's up to Tess to find a way to break free of the city in order to find a cure and expose the government's deadly conspiracy. "

Trailer mp4
Trailer wmv

August 23, 2009 UPDATE

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9

The movie was aired on Australian TV, March 3, 2009:

U.S. Air Force Study Proposed 2009 Influenza Pandemic in 1996 (from Alex Jones/Infowars - pls with discernment):

Friday, August 21, 2009

2009 Map of Redwood Highway

New map of Redwood Highway showcases Northern California
The Times-Standard
Posted: 08/21/2009 01:30:17 AM PDT


Humboldt, Del Norte, Lake, Marin, Sonoma, and Mendocino counties have banded together to release a new pictorial map spotlighting highlights along California's official Redwood Highway, or U.S. Highway 101.

The six counties recently united under the North Coast Tourism Council, with the common goal to share all the wonders of California that start less than an hour north of San Francisco. This new large-scale map shares roads and routes, along with highlights, visitor centers and resources essential to learning and experiencing the gorgeous Redwood Highway.

”We needed a unified map that shared the story of this geographically large area,” said Scott Schneider, chairman of the newly formed North Coast Tourism Council. “Each county has so much to offer, so combined, the project was big. But thanks to the hard work of leaders from each area, we came together to spotlight some of the better known and more unique attractions.”

As it happens, 2009 marks the official 100-year anniversary for the Redwood Highway, named after the giant trees that line the highway, and the millions of redwoods that once covered the entire coast. The route is one of the last remaining and longest U.S. routes still active in the state, and the longest highway of any kind in California. Highway 101 was also one of the original U.S. routes.

According to Schneider, the map will be featured at visitor centers, at events and shows, and shared with hundreds of thousands of travelers.

Visit to learn more and visit to see the new map.

To get a free copy of the actual map, send an e-mail to

August 25, 2009 UPDATE
Received the following email today and am looking forward to my new free map (I love maps - l0l!)

Thank you for requesting the Redwood Highway Map. As you travel along the Redwood Highway, we invite you to visit Sonoma County. The 2009-2010 Visitor Guide and Wine Map is in the mail to you.

Sign up for our newsletter to get the latest news, specials and happenings around Sonoma County:

Visit Wine Country Unfiltered for a casual, fun look at Sonoma County:

Visit us online at

Enjoy your visit to Northern California, we look forward to seeing you soon!

Beth Snow

Marketing Coordinator
Sonoma County Tourism Bureau
420 Aviation Blvd., Ste. 106
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
Ph: 707-522-5811

Wine country in 140 characters @insidesonoma
Wine country fans Facebook
Wine country's close-up YouTube

“California cuisine”—defined by fresh, local ingredients—is found in the Michelin-rated restaurants and over 100 organic and small farms in Sonoma County.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Obama in Scottsdale

My sister is holding the sign 'Hands off my HEALTH CARE' in Scottsdale, Arizona, yesterday, August 17, 2009.

Other photos from the event:

White House Backs Right to Arms Outside Obama Events
But Some Fear Health Talks Will Spark Violence

A man with an AR-15 semiautomatic assault rifle joins protesters outside an event in Phoenix where President Obama was discussing health-care reform. (By Jack Kurtz -- Associated Press)


By Alexi Mostrous
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Armed men seen mixing with protesters outside recent events held by President Obama acted within the law, the White House said Tuesday, attempting to allay fears of a security threat.

Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, said people are entitled to carry weapons outside such events if local laws allow it. "There are laws that govern firearms that are done state or locally," he said. "Those laws don't change when the president comes to your state or locality."

Anti-gun campaigners disagreed with Gibbs's comments, voicing fears that volatile debates over health-care reform are more likely to turn violent if gun control is not enforced.

"What Gibbs said is wrong," said Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. "Individuals carrying loaded weapons at these events require constant attention from police and Secret Service officers. It's crazy to bring a gun to these events. It endangers everybody."

The past week has seen a spate of men carrying firearms while milling outside meetings Obama has held to defend his health-care reform effort. On Monday, a man with an AR-15 semiautomatic assault rifle strapped to his shoulder was outside a veterans' event in Phoenix. He was one of a dozen men who reportedly had guns outside the forum.

Phoenix police made no arrests, saying Arizona law allows weapons to be carried in the open.

Last week, a man with a gun strapped to his leg held a sign outside an Obama town hall meeting in Portsmouth, N.H., that read: "It's time to water the tree of liberty."

Before the same meeting, Richard Terry Young, a New Hampshire resident, was arrested by the Secret Service for allegedly having a loaded, unlicensed gun in his car. Young was stopped inside the school where Obama held the forum, having reportedly sneaked past a security perimeter.

Ed Donovan, a spokesman for the Secret Service, said incidents of firearms being carried outside presidential events are a "relatively new phenomenon." But he said the president's safety is not being jeopardized.

"We're well aware of the subjects that are showing up at these events with firearms," he said. "We work closely with local law enforcement to make sure that their very strict laws on gun permits are administered. These people weren't ticketed for events and wouldn't have been allowed inside and weren't in a position outside to offer a threat." The immediate area occupied by Obama on such trips is considered a federal site where weapons are not permitted, Donovan said.

Lawmakers holding tense town hall debates about health-care reform also have seen armed constituents. The staff of some, including Rep. Stephen I. Cohen (D-Tenn.), have taken precautions to guard against guns being brought into gatherings.

"We asked everyone with firearms to check them with the sheriff before we began the meeting," said Marilyn Dillihay, Cohen's chief of staff, describing an Aug. 8 town hall debate in Memphis. "We've never done that before." The decision was made because the number of people at the event and the subject of the debate created a "potentially a volatile situation," she said

"Obviously there's a lot of emotion with health care," Dillihay said. "Feelings are very tense, and we were just trying to make sure that things were safe."

One man at the meeting disclosed that he had a firearm and complied with a request to put it in his vehicle, she said.

Other lawmakers said they intended to take no precautions in future town hall meetings or to ask the advice of local law enforcement. C.J. Karamargin, a spokesman for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), said the congresswoman will "balance rights guaranteed under the Second Amendment and providing her constituents with a safe forum to share their views."

Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University at San Bernardino, said concern about whether Obama will enact new gun restrictions may also be contributing to the tense political climate.

"There's a lot of anger out there," Levin said.

"A key thing that's been bubbling under the surface is what's going on with President Obama and guns," he said. "There is a real question mark not only for extremists but for gun rights advocates in the mainstream."

--- end ---




Sonoma Skypark Airport

Yesterday, snapped a few photos of a classic Navy plane that flies out of the Sonoma Skypark Airport every now and again.

Then today the same plane flew overhead and I got a couple of more pics - pretty cool!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What's the Navy Up To?


By Rosalind Peterson
August 11, 2009

The United States Navy will be decimating millions of marine mammals and other aquatic life, each year, for the next five years, under their Warfare Testing Range Complex Expansions in the Atlantic, Pacific, and the Gulf of Mexico. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS under NOAA), has already approved the “taking” of marine mammals in more than a dozen Navy Range Warfare Testing Complexes (6), and is preparing to issue another permit for 11.7 millions marine mammals (32 Separate Species), to be decimated along the Northern, California, Oregon and Washington areas of the Pacific Ocean (7). (continued)

U.S. Map of Navy Range Complexes 2009:
NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service Deadline for Public Comment: August 12, 2009
Archive of Articles 2006-2009
Additional Information + Petitions

Sunday, August 9, 2009

"750 Toothpicks of Joy!" Scott Weaver

Love it!


"When they smile, that's the way I get paid." Jorge Muñoz

I love this story!


Matthew 10:8
Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

Acts 20:35
I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Are You Eating GM Fruit?

According to the following article from 2003, genetically engineered fruit has a five-numeral PLU beginning with the number 8. True?

Why the Little Sticky Label on Fruit?
Karma Metzgar, C.F.C.S.
Former Northwest Regional Nutrition Specialist
Nodaway County Extension Center
University Outreach and Extension
Missouri Families - Food and Fitness
11 November 2003

Have you noticed the little "brand" stickers on your bananas, apples, peaches, pears, mangos, kiwi, and other seasonal fruits? Those stickers are helpful for the store clerk, as they don't have to distinguish the difference between Fuji apples from Gala apples. That little helpful sticker has the price look up (PLU) code to speed up the check out process. But did you know that look up number also tells you more? Do you want to know what?

The number on that little sticker, not only is the price look number, it also tells how the product is grown or created. This has made news recently with the release of the new rules for "organic" labeling. For conventionally grown fruit, the PLU code on the sticker consists of four numbers. Organically grown fruit have a five-numeral PLU beginning with the number 9. Genetically engineered fruit has a five-numeral PLU beginning with the number 8.

When I read about this labeling, I decided to scout my refrigerator for the little stickers. The bananas and apples both were four digits-meaning conventionally grown fruit.

So using this numbering system, a conventionally grown banana would be 4011, an organic banana would be 94011 and a genetically engineered banana would be 84011. Interesting isn't it?

Who developed this numbering system? The numeric system was developed by the Produce Electronic Identification Board, an affiliate of the Produce Marketing Association, a trade group for the produce industry.

While the stickers are helpful to the cashiers to accurately identify and price produce, there are plenty of complaints about how well the stickers stick!

According to the Produce Marketing Association, some shippers have begun using stickers designed with tabs that make them easier to lift off, and are buying equipment that applies adhesive to the sticker but not to the tab.

Companies are also experimenting with different sticker materials, such as vinyl, that hold up under a variety of temperature and moisture conditions.

The adhesive now used to attach the stickers is food-grade, but the stickers themselves aren't edible. To remove stubborn ones, soak in warm water for a minute or two. As a kid, we used to argue over who got the sticker off the bananas to wear as tattoos! They weren't a problem; just not enough on a bunch.

So the next time you pick up that kiwi, melon, pineapple, apple or banana, check out the numbering system. Is it conventionally or organically grown? Or, is it a result of genetic engineering? It's all in the number-which also is the price look up code for the cashier. A simple number for a complex situation.

Copyright © 2003 Karma Metzgar
Copyright © 2003
Reprinted for Fair Use Only.

About Me

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Over the years my opinions have changed but this will never change: Jesus Christ, Lord, God and Savior, died on the cross and rose from the dead to pay for my sin.