Welcome to The Funny/Alerts Newsletter. I hope that you enjoyed the break last week with the newsletters small flurry of funnies. 

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GRINS & GIGGLES:
AXIOMS FOR THE DAY

He who laughs last, thinks slowest.

Everyone has a photographic memory. Some just don't have film.

A day without sunshine is like, well... night.

On the other hand... you have different fingers.

Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

I just got lost in thought. It was unfamiliar territory.

When the chips are down, the buffalo is empty.

Seen it all, done it all, can't remember most of it.

Those who live by the sword get shot by those who don't

He's not dead; he's electroencephalographically challenged.

You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will be misquoted, then used against you.

Despite the cost of living, have you noticed how it remains so popular?

Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

It is hard to understand how a cemetery raised its burial cost and blamed it on the cost of living.

Just remember... if the world didn't suck, we'd all float away.

It is said that if you line up all the cars in the world end to end, someone would be stupid enough to try and pass.

The things that come to those who wait may only be the things left by those who got there first.

A fine is a tax for doing wrong. A tax is a fine for doing well.

It was recently discovered that research causes cancer in rats.

Everybody lies, but it doesn't matter since nobody listens.

I wished the buck stopped here, as I could use a few.

I started out with nothing and I still have most of it.

Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

[Ed.: the TV has a brightness adjustment, but it doesn't work!]

Remember, every minute spent in anger is sixty seconds of happiness wasted.

[thanks to Lee Peer for this one]

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CYBERSPACE ALERT:
As you may, or may not, know... the INTERNET TAX MORATORIUM expired on October 21st. But, thanks to your help, over 3000 e-mails were sent to notify the US Congress that you don't want to see the Internet taxed.

...and Congress listened. The House of Representatives passed HR 1552.

BUT THE WORK IS NOT YET DONE. THE FIGHT NOW MOVES TO THE US SENATE. The bill number is S 777 in the Senate. Please WRITE YOUR US SENATOR and tell him/her that you oppose Internet Taxes. Tell them you support S 777.

If you do not know who your Senator is, or would like a sample letter to e-mail to the Senate that we have prepared, click here: http://www.capwiz.com/atr Once you enter your zip code to find your US Senator, click on the option that says "Write your elected officials."

http://www.nabl.org/government/107/senate/html/s777.html
http://www.aoctp.org/tw0601.shtml
http://www.salestaxsimplification.org/documents/default.htm

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MEATSPACE ALERT:
Disaster Preparedness

I was doing some research on the location of natural disasters and trying to map them across the country when I realized that we're heading into hurricane season back east. This, of course, I thought would be a good time to remind everybody about the great Red Cross web site. Here you can find out how to prepare for various disasters, what's needed in a supply kit, what to do if you're struck by disaster and how to handle things afterwards.

My favorite area is the Interactive Map where you can find out which natural disasters frequently hit your home state. Check it out... soon.

http://www.redcross.org/services/disaster/keepsafe/

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Q: I understand that selenium helps fight cancer. Does it matter whether I get it from food or by taking supplements?

Answer from John W. Finley, PhD... Selenium seems to fight cancer most effectively when the mineral is consumed in food. 

Recent finding: After being injected with a chemical that causes colon cancer, lab rats fed broccoli with a high selenium content had a 50% lower risk of developing precancerous lesions. Rats fed low-selenium broccoli or a pure chemical form of selenium showed a smaller reduction in risk. 

Theory: Other compounds in food may boost selenium's anticancer effects. 

Self-defense: Add selenium-rich foods to your diet. 

Good sources: Wheat germ, Brazil nuts and whole-grain products.

Our inside source: John W. Finley, PhD, research chemist, US Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center, Grand Forks, North Dakota.

[Ed.: Don't take this to mean you should stop taking your supplements. Any is better than none!]

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TRUE STORY (Yea, right!):

A customer walks into a restaurant and notices a large sign on the wall:
"$500 IF WE FAIL TO FILL YOUR ORDER!"

When his waitress arrives, he orders elephant tail on rye. She calmly writes down his order and walks into the kitchen where all hell breaks loose!

The restaurant owner finally comes storming out of the kitchen. He comes up to the customer's table, slaps five $100 bills down on it and says, "You got me that time, buddy! But I want you to know that's the first time in ten years we've been out of rye bread!"

[thanks to Rich Rooney for this one]

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Very Shrewd Ways to Protect Your Assets from Creditors:
Gideon Rothschild, JD, CPA
Moses & Singer, LLP

You've worked a lifetime to build up a nest egg that will support you in your retirement years and provide for your family after your death. But, unless it's protected from seizure by creditors, this money can disappear in a moment. You could lose it by making a mistake that results in a successful lawsuit against you, an accident or a suit by creditors. CAUTION: Your assets may be in jeopardy even if you're retired. Serving on the board of your condo association or for a nonprofit organization can subject you to personal liability for the board's actions. 

Fortunately, there are ways to protect your wealth. They run from relatively obvious methods, such as insurance, to highly sophisticated ones -- particularly asset-protection trusts.

PLANNING
Factors that dictate the level of asset protection you need...

Your level of risk. The higher your level of risk of a lawsuit, the greater your need for protection. Your level of risk is determined in part by what you do for a living. Example: A plastic surgeon has a greater level of risk than a librarian and is more in need of asset protection.
Size of your nest egg. The greater your wealth, the greater your need for protection. Someone with $1 million in liquid assets needs more protection than someone with only a few thousand dollars.

INSURANCE
Insurance is your first line of defense. Make sure the policies you own provide the protection you need. Recognize the limitations of your policies. Examples...

A business policy may not cover all the kinds of damages that can be awarded in a lawsuit. Example: Punitive damages.
A homeowner's policy may not cover environmental lawsuits.

Best asset-protection strategies: Review your policy for...

Exclusions -- what the policy doesn't cover.
Amount of coverage. An auto policy may provide $100,000 for liability protection, which is very low if your assets far exceed this amount.

Prudent steps...

Discuss your insurance coverage with your agent and/or lawyer or accountant to make sure you understand what's protected and what's left out.
Take stopgap measures, such as riders, endorsements or additional coverage, where indicated.
Make sure you're carrying the right types of policies to fully cover you from liability claims.
Consider carrying an "umbrella policy" to supplement the liability protection in your homeowner's and auto insurance policies.
Umbrella policies add protection on top of your other policies and range from $1 million on up. The cost of such coverage is modest. Example: Expect to pay about $1,000 a year for a $5 million umbrella policy.
If you're serving on a board of directors for a business, your condo association or your favorite charity -- make sure the organization carries directors and officers coverage (a D&O policy).
This type of policy provides personal liability protection for you if the board gets sued. If you are uncomfortable with the protection that's being offered, it may be better not to get involved.

IRAs AND PENSION PLANS
For many individuals, the money in their IRAs and other qualified pension plans is their single biggest asset. How secure is it from the claims of creditors? Federal law provides protection for assets in ERISA (that is, plans that have employees other than the owner and his/her spouse) "qualified retirement plans." Therefore, funds in your 401(k) plan are secure from creditors' claims. But the asset-protection rules for IRAs depend on state law. Some states offer the same full protection for IRAs that federal law gives to qualified retirement plans. Other states provide only limited protection.
What to do: Check with an attorney in your state to determine your level of protection. You can see a state-by-state listing of state pension plans and IRA exemptions at http://www.mosessinger.com. Click on Legal Resources, then Articles by topic, then under Trusts and Estates and Wealth Preservation. Go to "Protecting Retirement Plans." Regardless of state law, IRAs are not protected from claims by the IRS and spouses.

SOPHISTICATED WEALTH PROTECTION
If you have a sizable nest egg and considerable risk exposure, you may need to explore some asset-protection strategies for which you'll need professional assistance. These strategies may cost thousands of dollars to set up and maintain. But if the amount at stake is large enough -- usually at least $1 million in stocks, bonds and other liquid assets -- the cost may be well worth it. Strategies to consider...

Simple trusts. You can set up a trust for the benefit of your spouse. The assets you place in the trust are protected from the claims of your spouse's creditors. Caution: This and other asset-protection strategies are valid only if transfers are not considered to be fraudulent. Generally, this means that assets must be transferred before there are any lawsuits or other claims pending against you. The earlier the transfer, the stronger the protection.
Asset-protection trusts. Certain states now allow specifically for trusts designed to provide asset protection. Alaska, Delaware, Nevada and Rhode Island allow these trusts to be set up by anyone -- resident or nonresident -- using an in-state trustee. Caution: The level of protection may be greater for residents of those states than for nonresidents. Asset-protection trusts are sometimes referred to as "Alaska trusts" because they were started there in 1997. They allow you to be the beneficiary of your own trust while still enjoying asset protection.
Offshore trusts. Perhaps the ultimate option for asset protection is moving money out of the country and into an offshore trust. The title to assets is held by a foreign trustee who is governed by the laws of that foreign jurisdiction. Example: The laws of the Cook Islands in the South Pacific prevent the enforcement of any foreign court judgments against assets owned by trusts that are governed by those laws. You can even retain control of your assets in the US so long as they are owned by the offshore trust. While assets in an offshore trust may escape creditors, income earned on those assets is still subject to US income tax.
Family limited partnerships. These arrangements offer some level of asset protection because they make it more difficult for creditors to get at assets. However, these arrangements are primarily intended for estate and gift tax planning and have often been oversold as asset-protection devices. Beware.

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QUICK WIT:

The lotus flower blooms most beautifully from the deepest and thickest mud.