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Tera Burbank: The Real, Untold Story

An Associated Press story last weekend headlined “Nevada Family Fights For Survival In Down Times” was a real tear-jerker that went viral and national. It’s the story of an unemployed construction worker named Tera Burbank, 34, her family, and the hardships they’re facing thanks to the ongoing Obama-Reid recession.

Poor Ms. Burbank wears a “frayed robe.” She’s only able to provide “meager lunch box offerings” for her kids to take to school, “just one of many painful struggles that the mother of three encounters every day while living under the weight of long-term unemployment and threats of foreclosure, hunger and loss.”

The story maintains that Tera and her husband “epitomize the dreadful economic situation these days in Nevada.”

According to the story, the pair “have been out of work for more than a year. They live off unemployment and student loans. Bills go unpaid and minor spats escalate into tense threats of divorce. Their daughters are performing poorly at school, and guidance counselors and teachers blame stress.”

The story also notes that Tera is a high-school drop-out from California who got married, had kids, then got divorced. She moved to Las Vegas in 2004 at the height of Nevada’s building boom, but was nevertheless having trouble paying her bills when she met another construction worker, John Clark, 24, in 2007.

The two hooked up and bought a house in May of 2009 – the same month they married – in an upper-middle class neighborhood in Green Valley. They reportedly bought it in John’s name because her credit sucked. And for some reason, despite the pair earning a combined annual income of $75,000, they were unable to put doors on the children’s bedrooms and instead use sheets for curtains.

Five months later, Burbank lost her job; ditto Clark the following month. In 2010, the couple reportedly “earned” $38,000, “mostly on unemployment.” They also racked up $6,700 worth of credit card debt and another $22,000 in student loans for nursing classes for Clark and accounting classes for Burbank.

The stress has reportedly resulted in poor little Tera getting “chest pains” and not having any patience with her kids. The oldest daughter, 14, is flunking in school and Clark has threatened to leave Burbank “three times in the past year, including the week before Valentine’s Day.”

Like I said, a real tear-jerker. Boo-hoo. Boo-hoo. Boo-hoo. Hand me a hanky.

Now would you like to know the rest of the story?

OK, but first, it’s important to click here and look at the photos that accompanied the AP story. As you’ll see later, some of them are worth a thousand words.

Tera Burbank, by the way, is actually Teralee Burbank. And according to the Clark County Election Department, she and her husband are both registered Democrats – a fact that will also prove more relevant later.

But here’s something else of interest we got from the Election Department: There’s a third voter, Cherrie L. Spencer, a non-partisan, who is also registered at their (address deleted on 3/10/11 a 5:16 pm at Ms. Burbank’s request) address. Hmmm. We’ll get back to that.

What really got me interested in this Tera Burbank sob story was a series of emails I received over the weekend from someone who personally knows the woman. We’ll call him “Mr. X” to protect his anonymity at his request. Here are some excerpts compiled from what he sent me in response to the AP story…

“There are many photos associated with this story, as it’s now all over the place. See if you can get the AP version with about 20 photos. You have to see all the photos. Can you say ‘white trash’? Find them, you won’t believe it. All those sheets on windows; anyone can go to Wal-Mart for $20 to get drapes. The house is a mess.

“That’s their new Toyota SUV in front of the house, as I have seen the cars. This is why unemployment should be stopped. Instead the lame reporter makes this woman a national representative of what is wrong with Vegas and the USA; as if Tera Burbank and her family are the victim when in reality we who are paying for this and are being taken advantage of.

“Think about it. They drive an expensive car. They’re being given $38,000 per year to take a vacation for two years, plus $22,000 in student loans they’ll most likely never pay back. Credit cards they won’t likely pay back. My guess is that Tera has had additional income as well, and received additional services and benefits at no charge. She has more than likely not paid taxes on any of those things, which brings her ‘real income’ to a MUCH higher figure.

“Where has all the money mysteriously gone? Her children are having a tough time in school, yet she and her husband are at home full time. The house is a mess, yet she and her husband are at home the whole time. Tera and her husband are the problem! People like this abuse the system. Yet this somehow escaped the author.”

A pretty damning assessment of somebody the media would love for us to empathize with. But don’t worry, it gets better.

I’m told that Tera’s aunt lives with the family. Maybe that’s who Cherrie Spencer is? In any event, that’s another household income that surely is putting the combined total well over $50,000 a year. Many families of six get by on less than that.

And what more can we learn from those photos?

First, yeah, these people are slobs. My mom would rightly characterize their home as a proverbial pig sty. Sorry, but folks who are too lazy to pick up their stuff even knowing a reporter and a photographer are coming over probably possess a similarly lazy work ethic. No wonder no one wants to hire them.

Secondly, recall that the family is supposedly facing “hunger.”

Really? ‘Cause it sure looks to me in one of those photos that Tera’s shopping at high-priced Smith’s rather than a discount supermarket like Food-4-Less. And I wonder if she’s getting food stamps? Sure sounds like she qualifies.

Oh, and I wonder how many more groceries she could purchase to sate the family’s “hunger” if she traded in that expensive cell phone (I can’t tell; but it might even be an iPhone) she’s photographed using for a much cheaper land line from Ma Bell?

By the way, John and Tera are both construction workers. You mean to tell me that between them neither knows how to hang a door? Or has a friend in the construction industry who does?

I’m guessing they’re using sheets for doors, not because they can’t afford doors, but because….well, they’re lazy, low-class, white trash who take no pride in the condition of their home. But again, that’s just a guess.

And speaking of the home, the AP story says Tera and her husband face “threats of foreclosure.” Which means, of course, they aren’t making their mortgage payments. Which means, of course, they’re living in the house for free. Which means, of course, they should have several hundred dollars “extra” a month for things like, you know, food and stuff.

But let’s get back to the home purchase. The story says Tera and John bought the house in May of 2009. You remember May 2009. Unemployment in Las Vegas was continuing to skyrocket, ESPECIALLY in the construction industry, where unemployment was approaching 50 percent. Indeed, there was, with the exception of completing the Cosmopolitan and CityCenter, virtually no significant Strip construction business on the horizon.

This was no secret. It was in all the papers. And we know Tera reads the papers…which I’ll get to in a minute.

So why, pray tell, did two construction workers in Las Vegas decide that May 2009 was a smart time to buy an 1,800 square foot, 4 bedroom house? What in the world were they thinking?

Also, Mr. X believes, but can’t confirm, that John bought his expensive new Toyota SUV after they closed on the house. But even if he bought it before buying the house they couldn’t afford, that’s another unnecessary household expense sucking up money that otherwise could be used to buy, you know, baloney sandwiches for the kids to take to school and stuff.

It all sounds so…irresponsible.

Then again, Clark is only 24 years old…and we already know that Tera, a divorced high school dropout, hasn’t exactly been known for making wise life choices; including borrowing money to go back to college when she has a house payment, a car payment and three children rather than picking up the Help Wanted section in the newspaper and seriously looking for a job….ANY job.

Oh, yeah. That’s right. I almost forgot about that newspaper thing.

Yes, Tera does read the paper. In fact, not only does she read it, she finds time between doing interviews for this AP story, not working, not cleaning the house, going to school, fighting with her kids and husband, shopping at Smith’s, talking on her cell phone and whining about her sorry lot in life, to post comments about newspaper stories online, I’m assuming using that expensive laptop computer shown in those photos.

In fact, on February 3, 2011, Tera commentated on a Las Vegas Sun story about the fight between Harry Reid and Senate Republicans over a possible government shutdown.

“a nice fat cut to the nation defense funds, ala the wars in afganistan, would certainly help right the financial ship, yet no one seems to want to discuss that,” Teralee Burbank wrote on the paper’s website the next day at 8:44 a.m., I’m assuming shortly after sending her kids off to school with yet another “meager lunch.”

Nice grammar, too. If she’s helping her kids with their English homework, no wonder they’re flunking in school.

One day later, at 2:50 in the afternoon, Tera took time off from her busy job non-hunting schedule to weigh in on another Las Vegas Sun story; this one about a political organization founded by Karl Rove which was coming to Rep. Joe Heck’s defense in response to a “media blitz” that had been launched by Democrats against the freshman Republican.

A conservative named Richard Hopkins posted the following comment in response to the story:

“Any astute observer can see that it is the liberals who are willing to attack anyone and everyone who will not capitulate to their radical socialist agenda. Then they attack the defenders of the people who they originally attacked. So, let’s see now, the libs attack Heck. Rove defends Heck. The libs then attack Rove. And Rome burns while the libs are fiddling.”

To which the Teralee Burbank responded:

“Way to use played out talking points, Hopkins, you sound like a fox news sound bite. Joe Heck is on record saying he voted against mandated cervical cancer vaccines for young women because of the cost to the insurance companies, rather than being concerned for the safety of young women who die regularly as a result of cervical cancer. When he was asked about it during a debate last year, he flat out lied. Fortunately Titus had the transcripts from that vote and called him out on it. Needless to say, Joe had no response. Even John Ralston was speechless. So while you continue to see how many times you can use communist, socialist, liberalist, obamaist or whatever other new catch phrase the likes of Rove and the GOP can dream up in your postings, I will be working dilligently to educate myself about the real motives of the people who run for office. Joe Hecks motive is obviously in line with the record profit making insurance companies.”

Are you starting to get the FULL Tera Burbank picture now?

OK, one more. Here’s a Jittery.com post by Ms. Burbank on February 14th. That would be Valentine’s Day and, reportedly, just one week after her ten-years-younger stud-muffin Ashton Kutcher-wannabe husband threatened to kick her to the curb for the third time in the past year.

“joe heck will be at gvhs at 5 tonite (2/2/11) for a town hall mtg. anyone who wants to show up to support us while we call him out on his recent vote to repeal healthcare reform and question his voting record that protects insurance companiress rather then struggling neadans would be welcomed allies!!”

So she doesn’t have time to look for a freaking job, but she has time to organize a protest against Congressman Heck?!! And we’re all supposed to feel sorry for this lazy, sorry-*ssed, bleeding heart liberal slob? I don’t think so.

By the way, did I mention that I drove by the house over the weekend and noticed that Tera’s car in the driveway was adorned with Rory Reid and Dina Titus stickers?

Do I feel sorry for Teralee Burbank? Hell, no. I feel sorry for her kids. Their mom is an uneducated, misguided liberal activist who thinks the world owes her something. She’s made, and continues to make, lousy choices in life and expects us not only to sympathize with her mistakes, but to subsidize them.

“Two and a Half Men” celebrity Charlie Sheen, the silver-spoon son of a liberal Hollywood actor, has discovered Twitter and is now busy sharing his deep, philosophical Dalai Lama-like insights on the human condition. Last week, he tweeted his latest slogan which he says “Applies to everything where an excuse now sits. Try it. U won’t be wrong. Ever.”

“PLAN BETTER.”

Does it apply to Tera Burbank? In the immortal words of Sarah Palin, you betcha!!

I mean, how pathetic of a loser do you have to be to be chastised by the likes of whacked-out, alcoholic, drug-addict Charlie Sheen? Or to paraphrase the immortal words of Melvin Udall in “As Good As It Gets,” go sell woe-is-me someplace else, Tera; we’re all stocked up here.