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WILLIAM TELLS: It’s a ‘jungle’ out there in cyberspace - Odessa American: Billsalter

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WILLIAM TELLS: It’s a ‘jungle’ out there in cyberspace

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Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2008 12:00 am

WHY IS IT THAT there are crooks who think enough people are so stupid (or greedy) that they will fall for obvious scams? Poor William supposes the answer is that there ARE people who will believe an e-mail from a total stranger that says, “Attn: Winner. You won the sum of 1,000,000.00 GBP from our monthly sweepstakes.”

As a winner, the respondent is supposed to reply to a Hotmail address to “Ken Jeffrey” in the UK (England). However, the e-mail is from “Mrs. Lise Wise.” Lise Wise? Come on now!

In the “winner notification” e-mail, it said PW was supposed to supply “Full Name, Address, Age, Sex, Nationality, Country of Residence, Telephone Number and Email Address.”

Wouldn’t that be enough for a pretty good start on identity theft? Regardless, don’t fall for it; if you won a million Euros you would NOT receive notification of it by e-mail. You would have to enter before you could win and surely you’d remember if you actually had entered. (It’s sort of like the “blonde joke”“ where a person who is losing everything prays again and again to God to win the lottery and God finally booms down: “Could you help me out and at least buy a ticket!”)

THE POINT OF ALL this, other than advising readers not to fall for scams, is that it is becoming clear to PW that something needs to be done about the cyber-jungle full of scam artists. This is even though PW always has been opposed to passing laws that would restrict free speech.

But, isn’t it stretching things when ANYTHING said through e-mail or on the Internet, even though it is a clear attempt to steal, is protected from prosecution? At the very least, maybe some HONEST computer genius could invent a way to do a “reverse sting” on these crooks? Anyway, it’s getting so trashy and crooked on the Internet that PW is considering going back to actually writing letters on paper. Well … not really, but that day may come.

OH, AND ABOUT THE QUESTION of whether people really can be taken in by just about anything … PW wonders at times about a poor fellow back in the ’90s when he and Miss Kitty were in Clovis, N.M.

He came walking into the newspaper office waving a piece of paper wanting to know if someone would like to shoot his picture and do a story. He had a letter from Ed McMahon saying he had “won” a million in the American Family Publishing sweepstakes! (The guy didn’t realize that in this sweepstakes the winner always was “surprised” at his or her front door by McMahon with a TV crew and a giant check.)

The same sweepstakes letter had been trashed by PW earlier. At least in these cases somebody somewhere does win despite millions-to-one odds.

HAVE YOU EVER HEARD of “Lowell Ponte?” If so, good for you; PW learned of him after being intrigued by a Ponte column written for Newsmax.

However, the man has been on radio since 1967 and has a national talk show. PW really doesn’t listen to the radio (he listens to audio books), so maybe that is why it took an e-mailed column to get his attention. Regardless, here is how the Ponte column began:

“The questions were as penetrating as one would expect when Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton recently appeared on fashion model Tyra Banks’ weekday television chat show. All were of the ‘Mrs. Clinton, are you a goddess or just a saint?’ variety, turning Banks’ show into an unpaid Clinton commercial … ”

It strikes PW that those who interview Hillary do take it awfully easy on her. Maybe they are worried that she will tear up; as Mallard Fillmore recently sang in his cartoon: “I am woman, hear me sob, if it helps me get the job.”

Ponte, though, posed some awfully good questions. Here are just two of several Ponte said “a genuine journalist (who) seriously interrogated her” would ask:

>> “Mrs. Clinton, your concern for health care, especially for women and children, has inspired many. Among the biggest health problems of our time are sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs), including AIDS. In Africa, Barack Obama and his wife volunteered to be publicly tested for HIV, not because they feared having it but to set a good example that encouraged others to take such tests on that AIDS-plagued continent. In that spirit of encouraging others, will you and your husband prior to the Democratic National Convention volunteer to be tested for HIV, and make the results public? Unlike past presidential candidates, you and your husband have refused to make your medical records available to (the public) — although your 1993 health plan would have opened every citizen’s health records to any curious government bureaucrat.”

>> “Mrs. Clinton, given the disgrace your husband brought upon the presidency through his promiscuous behavior, would he be given an office in your White House?”

But Hillary never would have to answer such queries even if Ponte did get a chance to ask. Slick Willie would just jump up and start hollering about how unfair it for his wife to be asked such things.

HAVE A SUPER SUNDAY and a wonderful week!

Odessa, TX

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