January 8, 2015
Bill Mattos, Editor and Publisher
Leroy Pyle, Webmaster
The Farsider is an independent publication that is not
affiliated with the San Jose Police Benevolent
Assn. The SJPBA has allowed the Farsider to be included on its web site solely
for the convenience
of the retired San Jose Police community. The content of this newsletter does
not represent or reflect
the views of the San Jose Police Benevolent Association's Board of Directors or
Service for NYPD Officer Wenjian Liu
NYPD Officer Wenjian Liu's funeral services occurred
this morning. You can view the taped segments on the
website below. Thank you to Officers Ashley Weager,
Wakana Okuma and Brian Asuelo for representing San Jose
at the services in New York Today. Rest in peace Brother
Liu, our hearts are heavy and our thoughts for all of
NYPD brothers and sisters in blue are constant...
HERE for funeral coverage
For those of you who want to donate to NYPD Officer
Ramos and Liu's families, you can. Send your check
directly to 'Patrolmen's Benevolent Association' at 125
Broad Street, 11th Floor New York, NY 10004-2400 or drop
off a check and make it to the SJPOA for forwarding.
THE TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS OF THE CITY AND SJPD
Staffing seems to be getting bleaker than bleak at our
Resignations, Retirements Puts San Jose Police
Department Staffing Below 900 Officers
HERE to watch the video or read a transcription of
the text below…
Area Newscast — Jan. 5, 2015
The new year is off to a rough start for the
understaffed San Jose Police Department. New figures
reveal a large number of officers left the force
recently, including some key members of the police
The recent departures indicate things may only get
tougher both for short-term and long-term staffing at
Police union officials said since the beginning of
December, six officers retired and eight resigned from
San Jose police now currently have 894 active full-duty
cops -- not counting officers on disability or limited
duty. The department once boasted a staff that once
topped 1,400 officers.
Union leaders said the most devastating loss from the
recent departures are two police academy drill
instructors who officially quit on Friday in the midst
of an ongoing academy class.
"The best and the brightest officers go out to our
academies to train them," Police Officers Association
President Paul Kelly said. "If we can't even keep 'them'
here at the police department -- what's next?"
The police department confirmed the loss of officers,
but said the two instructors were not responsible for
leading the current academy class.
New Mayor Sam Liccardo, who made police staffing a
priority in his campaign, said he was disappointed, but
"We've got work to do on both ensuring that we can get
enough officers in the academy that are going to be able
to help us staff up, and to ensure we create
compensation structures that will attract those officers
to the academy," Liccardo said.
• • • • •
This item from today's paper is a byproduct of the
staffing problem outlined above...
Police Unit Dissolved
—Temporary move will shift officers to needed patrols,
News — Jan. 8, 2015
SAN JOSE — Officers in the Metro special-enforcement
unit, a crown jewel of the San Jose Police Department
and one of its last vestiges of proactive policing, will
be reassigned to backfill the struggling agency’s street
patrols under plans announced internally this week.
Officials say the move is intended to be temporary,
starting Feb. 1 and lasting until mid- to late March,
when the department hopes new cops will complete their
field training and be available to fill the void.
Metro is currently staffed by four sergeants and 23
officers, just a sliver of its size when formed in the
late 1990s by merging the narcotics and street-crimes
teams. It became a prized assignment that tackled
everything from drugs, prostitution, high-risk warrants
and gang crimes. For much of the past few years, the
unit focused primarily on gang issues until the
department revived its dedicated gang-suppression team
in fall 2013.
Jose Police’s Metro unit has focused on gang
crime. The group is being disbanded for a short time.
Essentially, whatever crime was spiking in the city,
Metro was often the unit dispatched to bring it under
Officer Albert Morales, a police spokesman, said while
Metro officers will now be responding to 911 and other
emergency calls, commanders will retain the flexibility
to tap into their expertise as events warrant.
“The way we look at it, they will be going out to
patrol, but they will be utilized as a resource as
well,” Morales said. “They’re wearing another hat, but
that’s become our reality now.”
Still, the dissolution of the unit, however temporary,
resonates symbolically among the rank-and-file, given
its elite status within the department and also its
value as a recruiting tool, showcasing the kind of
policing opportunities San Jose offered in contrast to
the predominantly suburban agencies in Santa Clara
“Metro is one of the last few proactive units that could
tackle ongoing problems,” said Officer James Gonzales,
vice president of the San Jose Police Officers’
Association, which has strongly contested political
policies it contends led directly to an officer exodus.
“This is the start of a trend of San Jose not being able
to police itself.”
The move is also a continuation of the department’s
struggles to field a patrol force of 492 officers,
despite being about 50 people short, with the rest made
up in overtime shifts. Other divisions have been called
on to contribute shifts, including detectives and
SJPD currently has 1,006 sworn officers, more than 100
less than its authorized strength. And only 894 can
actually hit the street after accounting for disability,
modified duty, military leave and those still in the
police academy or in field training. A confluence of
baby boomer retirements and early resignations — spurred
in part by political struggles over pension and
disability benefits — have left the department nearly 30
percent smaller than it was in 2008, when a crashing
economy prompted a wave of austerity measures.
Even as SJPD aims to bring back Metro in the spring, it
could be diminished with tentative plans to keep a
sergeant and seven officers in patrol, according to a
department source not authorized to publicly comment on
Morales said a restoration would be determined in March
after an evaluation of available manpower.
“The key issue here is resignations, retirements and
academy classes and what our numbers look like at the
end of March,” he said. “The idea is we want this to be
temporary because we realize the need for specialized
units to be out there doing proactive work.”
~ ~ ~
And this is how NBC Bay Area covered the same story
about the demise of the Metro Unit…
HERE to watch the video or read the text of the
Shakeup Announced for San Jose Police Department
Robert Handa — NBC Bay Area
Starting Feb. 1, the agency's entire Metro Unit will be
reassigned to patrol temporarily.
The move essentially dissolved the department's Metro
Unit, which includes 23 officers and four sergeants.
Metro officers are a group of specially trained
personnel who deal with gangs and undercover operations,
including prostitution stings.
"We're talking about 400 narcotics investigations a
year," said Sgt. Paul Kelly, president for the Police
Officers Association. "That's what we're losing."
Forty percent of the unit's cases deal with gangs. Last
year, the unit made 600 arrests, and confiscated 30
The shakeup is meant to bolster the department's
understaffed patrol units.
At this point the plan is to restore a reduced Metro
Unit reduced by seven officers and one sergeant in
"There is no 'untouchable.'
There is no untouchable unit or bureau that we've looked
at," Assistant Police Chief Eddie Garcia said.
NBC Bay Area also has learned the department is now
talking with the California Highway Patrol to possibly
contract out some duties of traffic enforcement.
"We're looking at every option possible in order to
assist us in maintaining our staffing levels to be able
to do our core service," Garcia said. "So we're talking
with several people, several organizations to see what
it is they can do and offer to help us."
The police union said working with the CHP is not a
"We do not have enough officers to police this city, but
supplementing with something like the CHP is not really
a long-term solution because these are people who don't
know the neighborhoods -- don't know the crime," Police
Officers Association Vice President James Gonzales said.
• • • • •
“(Liccardo) just made the beginning a little harder on
himself,” according to this editorial from last Sunday’s
Ring Out Reed, Ring in Liccardo
Editorial — Mercury News — Jan. 4, 2015
Chuck Reed was the right mayor for San Jose at the time.
He dealt with wrenching budget cuts to close deficits
that had dogged the city for a decade, and residents
supported him. His approval rating was consistently high
and voters easily passed all of his reform measures.
But Reed’s legacy — the way he’ll be remembered in five
or 10 years — depends largely on his successor’s ability
to improve city services without going back to spending
patterns that pushed mountains of debt onto future
This is the portfolio that has landed with a thud on the
desk of new Mayor Sam Liccardo.
Liccardo can find a middle way for this polarized city,
but he has made a rocky start at building trust. He
needs to overcome it with outreach and by including
people who did not support him in helping to develop his
This will be difficult because the police union and
other labor leaders who bitterly opposed his election
are disinclined to help him succeed. But dealing with
that is how political skill is measured. The early moves
that have given his opponents ammunition were his rush
to appoint Margie Matthews as an interim council
representative for District 4 and his selection of
senior staff members who are seen as anti-labor.
On the Matthews appointment, the issue is the process.
While fully legal, it was clearly a rush to get the
former District 4 representative on board quickly rather
than risk leaving the seat vacant through the spring
budget decisions. A special election will be held in
March and a runoff in June to complete the term of
Kansen Chu, who was elected to the Assembly.
We’re glad Matthews is on the council, in part because
she understands the art of compromise. Her voting record
on the council was very pro-labor, but she believes in
sustainable budgeting. It’s a balance we hope will be
contagious. But there’s no question Liccardo’s
maneuvering for the appointment irked opponents.
His staff choices are more complicated. He needs a staff
that he knows and trusts. But it’s important to include
dissident voices representing views and constituencies
that might otherwise be overlooked — at the mayor’s
political peril. The flash points among Liccardo’s
initial hires are Chief of Staff Jim Reed, who was
public policy director for the San Jose Silicon Valley
Chamber of Commerce and is a Republican city councilman
in Scotts Valley; and former District 1 Councilman Pete
Constant, a conservative Republican who will be a
part-time senior adviser to Liccardo on pensions and
We think Jim Reed, no relation to Chuck, will be a good
chief of staff. He’s personable, politically savvy — not
an ideologue — and a solid manager.
But the perception Liccardo has to overcome is that the
Chamber is running the mayor’s office.
As to Constant — he knows pension issues inside out, but
on the council he was an outspoken opponent of union
views, particularly antagonizing the police union. We
hope his value as staff to Liccardo outweighs that
The pressure is on Liccardo, but it’s also on his
opponents, who have shown no collaborative inclination.
Dissenting council members boycotted the meeting at
which Matthews was appointed.
Oh, that’s mature. And the police union already has
announced it won’t negotiate with the city until next
summer, making it impossible to get a settlement on
pension and disability reform on a 2015 ballot.
Liccardo is a moderate Democrat whose advisers include
card-carrying liberals like former Mayor Susan Hammer,
and he is a listener. He can unite the city. He knew
this job meant crossing a political minefield. He just
made the beginning a little harder on himself.
The new San Jose mayor has made a rocky start at
building bridges, but he can bring together this
politically polarized city with inclusive planning for
• • • •
Pardon us if we don't act surprised at this pick. Can
you spell r-u-b-b-e-r-s-t-a-m-p?
Selected for Vice Mayor
—Councilwoman, mayor agree on key policy issues—
News — Jan. 8, 2015
SAN JOSE — She came in fifth in the June mayor’s race,
but two-term Councilwoman Rose Herrera will soon become
the second in command at City Hall. Newly sworn-in Mayor
Sam Liccardo on Wednesday named Herrera as his pick for
vice mayor, which obs ervers said was a logical choice
given her alignment with Liccardo and former Mayor Chuck
Reed on key issues. “Policy-wise, Liccardo and Herrera
have seen eye to eye,” said Garrick Percival, an
assistant political science professor at San Jose State.
“On the big issue that defined his campaign — public
safety and policing — they share very similar
positions.” In a statement, Liccardo said Herrera brings
“passion and commitment” to the community and her new
role. “From her service to our country as a member of
the U.S. Air Force to her leadership on economic
development and transportation issues, Rose has the
experience needed as we focus on working together to
make San Jose a safer, smarter city,” he said. Under the
city charter, the City Council must confirm the
appointment at its second meeting of the year. Percival
added that symbolically it may have been a consideration
to appoint a female to succeed former Vice Mayor Madison
Nguyen, who was termed out and replaced by Councilwoman
Tam Nguyen, who isn’t related to her, in District 7.
Nguyen was a vocal critic of the former vice mayor but
has high hopes for Herrera. “I think it is a good idea
and she will do well,” he said, because she has
experience as a member in the midst of her second term.
Herrera was elected in 2008 to serve District 8, which
includes East San Jose and Evergreen. She is a native of
the area and attended Overfelt High School and received
degrees from Santa Clara University as well as serving
in the Air Force.
She has advocated for women’s issues and is a founding
member of the Bay Area Military Women’s Collaborative
and League of California Cities Women’s Caucus. She
cites accomplishments such as securing funds for east
side highway projects, preserving funds for light rail
service to Eastridge as well as keeping programs and
staff at Lake Cunningham Regional Skate Park. “Now is
the time for everyone to work together,” reads her
statement, “to collaborate across traditional boundaries
and, like the mayor, that’s what I intend to do.”
However, San Jose Police Officers Association President
Paul Kelly said that by appointing another ally like
Herrera, the new mayor’s “actions don’t match his
rhetoric of trying to bridge the divide between city
leaders and city workers.”
The following excerpts are from the letter Gary Johnson
sent in last week. Several readers responded with tax
information he was seeking (see below)…
I seem to remember a blurb in the Farsider about a
retiree pension preservation program in conjunction with
filing taxes. I think it had something to do with
medical payments, premiums or something.
Do you remember this? I’ve been searching through the
Archives, but I am obviously not remembering enough to
complete a competent search (might have something to do
with being a lieutenant, or something).
Responding to Gary were Nick Battaglia, Dan Katz, Ron
Webster, George Holser, Craig Shuey, Jim Roach, Joe
Wicker and possibly one or two others who responded to
Gary only without a cc to us.
~ ~ ~
Nick Battaglia and Dan Katz each sent Gary this Mail
Call item from the April 2, 2014 Farsider…
CJ (Craig Johnson) contacted me the other day to pass on
some tax information that Adonna (Amoroso) shared at the
last P&F Retirees' lunch meeting. I was unaware that the
Pension Protection Act of 2006 allows a retired public
safety officer to exclude up to $3000 of their pension
distributions that are directly paid (deducted) for
healthcare and accident insurance premiums. My tax guy,
as well as CJ's, were both unaware of this rule and
amended returns are being prepared. The rule is spelled
out in IRS Publication 575 — the section titled,
"Insurance Premiums for Retired Public Safety Officers"
My thanks to Adonna.
For confirmation, I ran Dan's email past Patti Cripe
(Rodger's wife) — a CPA who prepares tax refunds for
several retired San Jose cops. She immediately wrote
back and said, "Yes, it is correct. That is why I ask
for the last paycheck stub to determine how much each
retired person paid on his or her own behalf for health
~ ~ ~
From George Holser
How the heck you doing?
Was just reading the Farsider and saw your entry.
You probably have already received a ton of e-mails, but
just in case, I might have the info you are looking for.
Attached is an article I cut out of the City of San Jose
Retirement Newsletter from March of 2008. It has to do
with deducting retiree medical premiums the city takes
out of our checks on your Tax Return.
first started I did not take the deduction, but now with
Turbo Tax that I have been using for many years it
actually asks about any medical premiums and if you are
a retired public safety officer. I take the deduction.
Been doing it for the past 2 or 3 years with no problem.
I do recall someone talking about it in The Farsider a
few years ago that they took the deduction and I believe
got audited or something and had to provide
I also attached a two page memo from 2008 regarding the
same information. Hope this helps and that all is well
HERE for the memo.
~ ~ ~
From Ron Webster
Bill, regarding Gary Johnson's question about a tax
benefit/deduction surrounding medical insurance
premiums, reference my note to you published in the
January 7, 2009 Farsider. It deals with being able to
deduct up to $3,000 in out of pocket medical insurance
premiums for retired public safety employees.
The $3,000 tax deduction for medical insurance premiums
for retired public safety employees is explained in the
Pension Protection Act of 2006.
(Gary, say Hi to Norv for me. I used to see him in and
around Susanville when I lived at Lake Almanor after
Ed. — Click
to access the Farsider referenced by Ron, then scroll
down to the Mail Call column.
~ ~ ~
From Craig Shuey
Signed by President Bush. Allows public safety personnel
to take income tax deductions for certain things, like
Long Term Care, for example; there are also other
deductions. Read carefully though as there are strict
requirements for the deductions.
~ ~ ~
From Jim Roach
The pension protection act of 2006 allows a public
safety officer to exclude up to $3000 of their pension
distributions that are directly paid (deducted) for
healthcare and accident insurance premiums.
The rule is spelled out in IRS publication 575, the
section titled: "Insurance Premiums for retired public
safety officers" (pp.5-6).
I am going to advise my tax preparer of this this year
and see what happens.
Happy New Year!
Jim Roach #2057, Grass Valley
~ ~ ~
From Joe Wicker
About Gary Johnson's letter in last week's Farsider, I
believe he's asking about the $3,000 exemption that
retired public safety officers are entitled to take for
their medical insurance premiums. I've been taking this
exemption for a number of years. Many tax preparers are
unaware of this benefit, so I thought I would send along
the IRS link to Publication 575 so others can refer to
it and pass it along to their tax person. I emailed Gary
and sent him the info. After you click on the link,
click on the specific section, "Insurance premiums for
retired public safety officers."
Hope this helps.
JANUARY VANGUARD NOW ON-LINE
HERE to download it to your desktop…
FOLLOWING THE WHITE HAT
Bill and his crew have been assigned to work the
Indianapolis at Denver AFC divisional playoff game at
Mile High Stadium this coming Sunday. It’s scheduled to
air at 1:40 p.m. PST on CBS.
Denver? No roof? January? Hope our in-house NFL referee
remembers to pack his gloves, long johns and mink
the rest of this coming weekend’s schedule…
Do You Know NFL Referee Signals?
Feeling pretty smug about your football knowledge? Prove
it by taking this 12-question quiz about referee
signals. But be aware that it’s harder than you might
HERE to start.
David Byers suggested we search the Internet for (and
publish if possible) an editorial titled “Thank you,
cops” that appeared in the Jan. 2, 2015 edition of The
Carmel Pine Cone, a small newspaper that serves Clint
Eastwood’s neighborhood (you get the idea). It took us
all of 2 minutes to locate the following…
In a Sacramento courtroom a couple of weeks ago, before
a judge started hearing arguments about whether Cal Am
should be allowed to start drilling a test well in
Marina, there was something the judge had to do: He had
to sentence a gang member for murder.
Which meant that while high-priced attorneys from Cal
Am, the Marina Coast Water District and the coastal
commission chatted and waited to argue the legal
minutiae of the Monterey Peninsula’s water supply, right
next to them, three stern-faced and heavily armed
bailiffs stood guard over the shackled killer, and
family members of his victim waited for their turn to
tell the court how their loved one’s death had shattered
lives and ruined the hopes of a now-fatherless
The moment provided a jarring contrast between what
seems important in Carmel and Pebble Beach, and things
of actual importance that go on every day in less
privileged parts of this country.
The scene also provided a lesson that should never be
far from the nation’s mind as it debates whether our
legal system’s purpose is to protect law-abiding
citizens from criminals, or whether it actually fosters
racism and encourages racist cops to abuse, and even
kill, people of color whenever they have the chance.
There’s no debate that crime happens. In 2013, despite a
steady decline in crime across the nation dating back to
the 1990s, there were still 1,163,146 violent crimes in
the United States, according to statistics from Eric
Holder’s Department of Justice. That number includes
14,196 murders, 79,770 rapes, 345,031 robberies and
724,149 aggravated assaults — all in one year. There
were also 8,632,512 property crimes reported to
authorities during 2013, the DOJ says.
And there can’t be any question that police,
prosecutors, judges and prisons are needed to deal with
the people who commit all those crimes. Without law
enforcement, God only knows how many murders and rapes
there’d be. It takes a lot of cops to keep crime to the
levels we have, much less investigate all those crimes
and bring as many of the perpetrators as possible to
Meanwhile, it’s equally inescapable that among all the
thousands of police officers, sheriff ’s deputies, park
rangers and FBI agents in this country, some will be bad
— people who will do everything, from fabricate
evidence, to commit their own felonies.
But while we’re focusing all our attention on the
possible misdeeds of a few police officers, it’s
important not to forget that most police officers are
honest and hardworking, and that we really need them.
And who needs them most of all? The people in the
nation’s poor communities, where most crimes are
What happened to Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and
Eric Garner in New York was tragic, but those incidents
were no more significant that the 14,000 or so people
murdered in the United States last year — and certainly
no more significant than the thousands more who would
have been murdered if the police weren’t there to
Cops need oversight and should be punished the same as
anyone when they break the law. But as 2015 begins, the
message for police everywhere from the citizens they
serve should be, “We’re watching what you do. And thank
you for doing it.”
THE BEST OF THE LATE NITE JOKES
(Doesn’t include the reruns from the previous week)
Joe Biden went to Brazil in an effort to try and repair
America's relationship with their government. Biden
said, “It's great to be here in the Amazon. I've always
wanted to see where all the books come from.”
Democratic Senator Harry Reid is expected to make a full
recovery after he was exercising with a resistance band
that snapped, causing him to fall. The good news is he's
fine. The bad news is there's no video of it.
The Jets are expected to name a new coach this week, and
the leading candidate is reportedly former Buffalo Bills
coach Doug Marrone. A lot of people are upset about the
news — mostly Doug Marrone.
Kanye West teamed up with Paul McCartney on his recently
released single, “Only One.” When asked what it was like
working with a music legend and pioneer, Kanye said,
“I'm sure he was pretty intimidated.”
The newly elected congressmen and women from the midterm
elections were sworn in today. This Congress will be the
most diverse ever, with 104 women, 46 blacks, 12
Asian-Americans, and two Native Americans. Even the
dolls on the “It's a Small World” Disney ride said, “Not
That’s right, 104 female lawmakers. In other words,
there's going to be a lot of filibusters that go like
this: “You know what you did.”
A Miami judge issued Florida's first gay marriage
license yesterday, which makes it the 36th state to
legally perform gay marriages. Of course, most Florida
residents are too old to understand what that means.
They'll say, “Well, I think all marriages should be gay
The Girl Scouts announced that they're adding three new
cookies this year, which include Rah-Rah Raisins and two
gluten-free flavors. Even Jehovah’s Witnesses said, “If
they ring the doorbell, pretend we're not home."
Tonight is our best show of 2015. If you have tickets to
tomorrow's show, I feel sorry for you. It's all downhill
At the Cowboys football game Chris Christie was hugging
Jerry Jones. It was right after Jones said "Let's get
some hot wings."
Plans are underway to build an NFL stadium in Los
Angeles. That's good news because it's been at least a
decade since L.A. had a sports team not to care about.
General Mills has announced that they're making a new
flavor of Cheerios made from quinoa. And at the bottom
there's a special prize — Cheerios not made with quinoa.
One of the new gadgets at the Consumer Electronics Show
is a belt that tells the person wearing it when it's
time to lose weight. Another device is a pair of jeans
that says, "Hey, try a salad."
A new study has found that watching Fox News can make
you more conservative and watching MSNBC can make you
more liberal. And watching CNN can make you think that
no plane has ever safely reached its destination.
Mark Zuckerberg has an ambition to read something new
every two weeks. First up on Zuckerberg's reading list —
all your private Facebook messages.
Scientists have made a pill that tricks you into
thinking your body is full. Unfortunately, it's filled
with mashed potatoes and has 8,500 calories.
Today is January 5th. I still have quite a lot of
last-minute shopping to do.
Here's the problem I have. You've got to start taking
down your Christmas decorations. Whenever I take the
tree down, I can't re-tangle the lights the way they
Kim Jong Un's sister got married. That sounds like
another Seth Rogen movie, doesn't it?
Instead of reading vows at the wedding ceremony, they
read hacked Sony emails.
Well, the holidays are over and the jolly fat man is
gone. I'm talking about Rex Ryan, coach of the Jets.
The Knicks have a wonderful promotion. Any person
attending a game who can sink a shot from half court
gets to start for the Knicks.
We have new Baseball Hall of Fame guys going in. There
are two great honors if you're a baseball player.
Getting elected to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown is
one, and owning a mediocre steakhouse is the other.
Today was opening day for the new Congress in
Washington. And Vice President Joe Biden swore in the
new batch of White House fence jumpers.
We have a new and now Republican-controlled Congress
starting today. The 114th Congress convened today in our
nation's capital. I thought Congress got canceled after
last season. Their ratings were terrible.
Congress has an approval rating that's very, very low.
Their approval rating is 15 percent. You know you're in
trouble when people like you less than they like
Jennifer Lopez movies.
A total of 71 lawmakers in the new Congress are
freshmen. Their parents helped them move in over the
Here in California today, they broke ground on the
construction of a high-speed bullet train that will
allow people to travel from L.A. to San Francisco in
less than three hours. Until it's built we'll have to
settle for flying there in 90 minutes.
Sportscaster Jim Rome has angered marching bands across
the country after he called them “dorks” on Twitter.
Marching bands are crafting a reply, but it’s taking
them forever to spell it out on the field.
While vacationing in Hawaii this weekend, actor Rob Lowe
used a jet ski to help rescue passengers on a sailboat
that had run aground. And “Creepy” Rob Lowe just watched
through his binoculars.
Lindsay Lohan was recently diagnosed with a rare
mosquito-transmitted disease called Chikungunya. And the
mosquito was diagnosed with alcohol poisoning.
WEEKLY SNOPES URBAN LEGEND UPDATE AS OF JAN. 3, 2015
The facts behind the legends, information and
misinformation that has or may show up in your inbox
• Our round-up of the 25
urban legends that circulated most widely in 2014.
Eminem give a real interview in the movie The
Interview in which he announced he was gay?
• Did Dr.
Laura Schlessinger adopt ten pit bulls from a
shelter and immediately have them euthanized?
• Was Singer
Bobby Shmurda stabbed to death at Rikers Island?
Life Savers candies so named because the inventor's
daughter died from choking on a mint?
• Was singer
Michael Jackson the biological father of Bruno Mars?
phishing scam is targeting GMail and Google+ users.
• Did a Brooklyn
Chipotle location refuse service to eight uniformed
DMX arrested in December 2014 for running a
WalMart funding Al Sharpton?
Hugh Hefner pass away on 28 December 2014?
virus is being spread via e-mails about a parking
violation tickets issued in another city.
• Warning claims
Instagram is about to cancel the accounts of users
who don't follow a list of instructions.
• Were two army chaplains forced to move their wedding
in order to accommodate
President Obama's golf game?
• Did House Whip
Steve Scalise once speak at a white nationalist
• Are gangs painting gun barrels orange to
trick police into believing their weapons are toys?
• Details of the death of 17-year-old
• Photograph shows a rider on a snowless trail at the
Michael Jordan coming out of retirement to play for
the Charlotte Hornets?
• Did former football coach
Lou Holtz write an essay called "Two Americas" about
Val Kilmer playing Tony Soprano in a remake of the
hit HBO series The Sopranos?
• Is the
Obama administration banning donut sprinkles?
• Why January is considered the
'break-up month' for couples.
• Has actor
Dustin Diamond been charged with second-degree
murder for stabbing a man in a bar?
• Actress Donna Douglas of
Beverly Hillbillies fame has passed away.
• Is it
illegal to be fat in Japan?
• Don't forget to visit our
Daily Snopes page for a collection of odd news
stories from around the world!
Worth a Second Look
• Did Bill Cosby buy up the rights to the
Little Rascals comedies in order to keep them off
television because they depict racial stereotypes?
Still Haunting the Inbox
• Check out our
25 Hottest Urban Legends list to keep abreast of
what's circulating in the on-line world.
• Visit our
Top Scams page for a list of schemes commonly used
by crooks to separate the unwary from their money.
THE LIGHTER SIDE & OTHER ODDS AND ENDS
or Full Screen recommended for YouTube videos.
• • • • •
received a strong show of support during a hockey game
at Madison Square Garden the day after the New York
HERE'S a short minute-and-a-half excerpt of the
• • • •
If you thought that the ringing in of 2015 in the Big
Apple was a mega celebration, look at
HOW Manila celebrated the new year from the top of
the tallest building in the Philippines where there is
no ban on fireworks. (2:52)
• • • • •
We’re not normally a big fan of music videos, but this
one that incorporates an amazing Rube Goldberg Machine
is an exception to the rule. The amount of planning and
perfect timing makes
THIS video called “This Too Shall Pass” a must-see.
• • • • •
Talk about “happy feet,” no one could match
THIS guy step-for-step. Not Gene Kelly, not Fred
Astair, not even Michael Jackson. Check him out. (2:31)
• • • • •
One of the
features when the Chicago Bulls play at home is the
"Kiss Cam." Fans keep their eye on one of the giant TV
screens and kiss their partner if the camera zeroes in
on the couple. Keep your eye on the guy in the green
hoodie who is on the phone and
WATCH what happens.
• • • • •
lady in London who was captured on a surveillance camera
needed some petrol for her car, but she forgot which
side the gas cap was on. Watch what happens
NEXT and see if you can keep from laughing. (0:57)
• • • • •
Suske participate in the D-Day landing in Normandy?
Disregarding the fact that he was a toddler on June 5,
1944, his wife thinks that’s him without a helmet
leaning up against the Deuce-and-a-Half. (It’s the 11th
photo in this excellent selection of WWII color photos
from the Denver Post that you can view by clicking
• • • •
Suffer from acrophobia? Skip this item if you do,
HERE and watch this maintenance worker change a
light bulb at the top of a 1500 foot TV tower. (2:07)
• • • • •
shouldn’t be too quick to stereotype the Russians. Check
THIS rendition of “Happy” by the Red Army Choir.
• • • •
a CIA Assassin
According to an email from Dirk Parsons, the CIA had an
opening for an assassin. After all the background
checks, interviews and testing were done, there were
three finalists: two men and a woman.
For the final test, the CIA agents took one of the men
to a large metal door and handed him a gun.
"We must know that you will follow your instructions no
matter what the circumstances. Inside the room you will
find your wife sitting in a chair. Kill her."
The man said, "You can't be serious. I could never shoot
The agent said, "Then you are not the right man for this
job. Take your wife and go home."
The second man was given the same instructions. He took
the gun and went into the room. All was quiet for about
five minutes. Then the man came out with tears in his
eyes and said, "I tried, but I can't kill my wife."
The agent said, "You don't have what it takes, so take
your wife and go home."
Finally, it was the woman's turn. She was given the same
instructions to kill her husband.
She took the gun and went into the room. Shots were
heard one after another. They heard screaming, crashing
and banging on the walls. After a few minutes, all was
quiet. The door opened slowly and there stood the woman,
wiping sweat from her brow.
"The gun was loaded with blanks," she said. "I had to
kill him with the chair.”
• • • • •
You may have seen the 15-20 second TV news snippet of a
windstorm that preceded the Rosebowl Parade last
THIS is the full 90-second video that had people
running for cover and was posted on Wimp.com. (1:30)
• • • • •
Problem: How do you save some deer that are stranded on
a frozen lake? Solution: It’s easy if you have a couple
of Hovercrafts and some rope. Check
THIS out. (2:37)
• • • • •
We have often been impressed by European and South
American public service ads, and
THIS one from Italy serves as an excellent example,
especially when you consider the issue of violence
against women. (3:19)
• • • • •
Mike Thompson wants to know if
THIS is where America is headed? Given what’s been
happening, it seems like a logical question. (1:31)
• • • • •
I’m the first to admit that I don’t understand the
physics of how holographs work, but I do know that they
are very impressive because they fool the eye into
thinking that what appears to be a solid object isn’t
really there. Such a demonstration was on display at
THIS shopping mall in Dubai. (3:47)
• • • • •
Some really old stories are worth highlighting a second
time, and we felt this was one of them...
Dr. Epstein was a renowned physician who earned his
undergraduate, graduate, and medical degrees in his home
town and then left for Manhattan, where he quickly rose
to the top of his field. Soon he was invited to deliver
a significant paper at a conference that,
coincidentally, was held in his home town. As he walked
on stage and placed his papers on the lectern they slid
off onto the floor. And when he bent over to retrieve
them, at precisely the wrong instant, he inadvertently
The microphone amplified his gaff throughout the room
while the sound reverberated down the hall.
He was quite embarrassed but somehow regained his
composure just enough to deliver his paper. As he
concluded, he ignored the resounding applause and raced
out the stage door, never to be seen in his home town
Decades later, when his elderly mother was ill, he
returned to visit her. He reserved a hotel room under
the name of Levy and arrived under cover of darkness.
The desk clerk asked him, "Is this your first visit to
our city, Mr. Levy?"
Dr. Epstein replied, "Well, young man, no, it isn't. I
grew up here and received my education here, but then I
"Why haven't you visited?" asked the desk clerk.
"Actually, I did visit once, many years ago, but an
embarrassing thing happened and since then I've been too
ashamed to return."
The clerk consoled him. "Sir, while I don't have your
life experience, one thing I have learned is that often
what seems embarrassing to me isn't even remembered by
others. I bet that's true of your incident too."
Dr. Epstein replied, "Son, I doubt that's the case with
"Was it a long time ago?"
"Yes, many years."
The clerk asked, "Was it before or after the Epstein
• • • • •
Whether you are a golfer or not, you should consider
THIS inspirational video sent in by Bruce Morton.
It’s about 3-year-old Tommy Morrissey. Although he was
born with only one arm, that didn’t stop him from living
like a normal kid, nor did it keep him from swinging a
golf club that impressed Bubba Watson and Tiger Woods.
Have a look at this hi-def video clip from the Golf
and Bubba Watson
• • • • •
How many of you bowlers have had the opportunity to
witness a perfect game? It can’t have been very often
because there have only been 23 televised perfect 300
THIS was the 24th. (2:12)
• • • • •
Own a dog? Click
HERE if you do and you may learn something useful.
• • • • •
Want to see something seriously amazing? Click
HERE and behold the Zen Art of Stone Stacking (a/k/a
Gravity Glue a/k/a Stone Balancing). Whatever you want
to call it, we think you will agree that it’s amazing.
• • • • •
Our final item for the week comes from Ron Mozley and
THIS contribution in the form of a new country song
dedicated to law enforcement that was posted on YouTube
a few weeks ago. The title is “Walkin’ Behind the Star.”
• • • • •
PIC OF THE WEEK
THE FARSIDER SUBSCRIPTION ROSTER as of 1/8/15
Additions and changes since the last published update
(alphabetical by last name):
Ed Conway — Email change
To receive the email address of anyone on the list -- or
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send your request to
Abram, Fred & Connie
Alvarez, Pat (Campbell)
Babineau, Dave & Cheryl
Bray, Mary Ellen
Brown Jr., Bill
Burroughs, (Bronson) Utta
Carr Jr., John
Carrillo, Jaci Cordes
Clark, Bill (the one who stayed)
Embry (Howsmon), Eva
Foulkes [Duchon], Louise
Gonzalez, D. (formerly D. Avila)
Guido, Jr., Jim
Guido, Sr. Jim
Hare, Caren (Carlisle)
Harnish, Mary (Craven)
Horton, Debbie (McIntyre)
Howsmon (Sr.), Frank
Inami, Steve & Francine
Johnson, Tom & Fran
Klein, Lou Anna
Leonard (Lintern), Lynda
Long (Huntwork), Eunice
Muldrow, Mark "Mo"
Ng, Dr. Jonathan
O'Carroll, Diane (Azzarello)
Perry (Cervantez), Martha
Rappe (Ryman), Bonnie
Reyes (Buell), Cindy
Richter, Darrell & Annette
Schenini (Alvarez), Joanne
Taves, Phil & Paula
Terry, Glenn & Maggie
Vallecilla, Ernie & Peggy
Van Dyck, Lois
Williams [Durham], Lanette
Windisch Jr., Steve