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The Farsider

April 3, 2014

 

Bill Mattos, Editor and Publisher <bilmat@comcast.net>
Leroy Pyle, Webmaster <leroypyle@sjpba.net>

 

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 its membership.



 

THANK YOU

I would like to give a shout out and thank you to those who responded to our family’s financial plight. Mike sent me the photo above a couple of days ago when Trey was having one of his better days.

Thanks again,

Leroy
<lpyle@2ampd.net>

For those who missed last week's Farsider about Leroy's grandson, this is a recap from last Thursday. Donations are still being accepted to help defray the enormous medical costs for Trey's cancer treatment…

~ ~ ~

Leroy's 8-year-old grandson, Trey, is battling a very rare form of lymphoma that affects young children. Trey's father, Mike, lives in close proximity to Leroy above Murphys in Calaveras County. Until Trey became ill, Leroy was teaching him to shoot trap. To say that the grandfather and grandson are very close is an understatement.

Mike has medical insurance that picks up 80 percent of the cost of Trey's treatment, but the weekly chemotherapy and trips to UC Davis Children's Hospital are astronomical in cost and creating a huge financial hardship on the family.

Concerned friends of the Calaveras County community have organized "A Day for Trey" fund-raiser in the small town of Arnold on March 31st with the hope of relieving Trey's folks of some of the financial burden they are facing.

While it's unrealistic to assume any of you who reside outside of Calaveras Co. will attend the fund-raiser, I thought you may want to help out by making a donation to the fund. The "Day for Trey" website makes it possible to donate on-line by credit card or PayPal, and rest assured that all the links are secure. If you would like to make a donation with a check instead, make it payable to "Team Trey" and mail it to:

Team Trey
c/o Ron Cooper
P.O. Box 3149
Arnold, CA 95223
 Ph. 209-795-5475

Please click on the link below. It will take you to the "Day for Trey" website that includes the PayPal and credit card links to make a donation. It also provides details of the March 31st fund-raiser in Arnold that features a Tri-Tip/Chicken dinner as well as info on a gun raffle should you want to take a shot at winning one.

<http://adayfortrey.net/startnow.htm>

On behalf of Leroy and Mike's families, thank you.



 

NBC BAY AREA TRIBUTE PAID TO OUR RETIRING CHAPLAIN

NBC Bay Area did an excellent job of paying tribute to Chaplain Dave Bridgen in this video clip from its March 30th news broadcast. While Dave is turning his primary duties over to Chaplain Jim Becknall, he intends to keep close watch on us retirees as long as he is able. God Bless the man. He is definitely one of a kind.

San Jose Police Chaplain to Retire After 3 Decades: When Dave Bridgen was offered he job of full-time police chaplain for the San Jose Police Department he was told they weren't sure he would be paid every week. He was. And he's been paying them back in good times and bad for the past three decades. (2 Mins.)

<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnNpzLIaazU&sns=em>

You can show your support for Dave's services that span 30 years by supporting his retirement dinner on Thursday, June 5th, at the Hayes Mansion. Registration needs to be completed no later than Friday, April 25th.

Click here
<http://tinyurl.com/lhyosna> to register or make a donation online. Or you can also complete the form below and mail it in with your check or credit card number.

NOTE: To receive an e-mail with just the form below that
you can print, fill out and mail in, send your request to

<bilmat@comcast.net>



 

PENSION NEWS

Craig Shuey, our official monitor of the Sacramento Bee, spotted this article that applies to our pensions and sent us the link...

What’s Next for Public Employee Pensions?



By Teague P. Paterson
Special to The Sacrament Bee — Mar. 30, 2014

Now that a pension-modification measure proposed by San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed will not appear on the November statewide ballot and a court ruling has blocked San Jose from slashing employees’ vested pension rights, opponents of public pensions are falling back on their old, false argument.

It’s a hackneyed line with little truth: Public employee labor unions are not willing to negotiate. That could not be further from the truth.

Across our state, when mayors and department heads have sat down with their employees’ unions to discuss pensions, they have found that common interest prevails over self-interest.

Consider firefighters in Salinas, who agreed to a contract that reduced retirement benefits. Or dispatchers, police assistants and clerical workers in Daly City who now contribute more of their own paychecks to pension accounts.

Police officers in Martinez made a deal to double their own contributions. Firefighters in Benicia and Imperial Beach, as well as miscellaneous city workers in Yorba Linda, compromised on reduced benefits.

Those are a few examples from this current calendar year. During the past several years, beginning when our economy was still in a recession, public workers in nearly 400 municipalities agreed to cost-saving changes including higher employee pension contributions, reduced benefits and delayed pay increases.

According to the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, firefighters, police officers, sanitation workers and other public employees have agreed to nearly 600 different changes to retirement agreements. And they do it without fanfare or headlines.

Even in Reed’s own backyard, the valley water district employees who ensure his water is clean and safe agreed to reduce pension benefits and increase their contributions.


Of course public workers are willing to negotiate. They have more at stake in this conversation than anyone else, and it’s in their best interests to engage in this difficult discussion.

For example, California’s public employees remained a part of the discussion in 2012 when Gov. Jerry Brown proposed a large-scale overhaul of the state’s pension system.

Yes, labor initially opposed the proposals, but once a path was charted labor accepted the changes, which will amount to a reduction of more than $100 billion to retirement and health care benefits earned by public workers during the next three decades.

More recently, the Legislature has taken up the issue of California State Teachers’ Retirement System’s long-term funding needs, and public school teachers throughout the state are engaged. A solution is being crafted to the estimated $71 billion shortfall, and the California Teachers Association agreed that increased contributions from educators must be part of the solution.

Despite labor’s demonstrated willingness, some politicians will continue to manufacture a wedge issue in the hope of improving their political fortunes. They will play a blame game to justify improvident “pension slashing” ventures. That course not only destroys the retirements of middle-class public workers, but it wastes public resources as legal fees mount and opportunities to make deals are missed.

San Jose is a prime example.


City employees there tried to negotiate and offered significant, painful compromises. The city instead charged ahead with a flawed ballot measure that not only cost taxpayers millions in legal fees, but has demoralized and driven out needed city workers. The measure epitomizes the wasted opportunity to bargain solutions and immediately lock in real budget savings.

The hard work that takes place at the bargaining table doesn’t garner news headlines. Political rhetoric, lawsuits, ballot measures and the resulting fallout do.

Public employees in California are loyal and hard-working. They make modest incomes in service to their communities. Not only do they earn less than their counterparts in the private sector, when it comes time to retire, they do so with an annual pension averaging just $31,000. The majority retire on less than that, below $18,000 annually.

Many, including our teachers, firefighters and police, do not receive Social Security. Whatever the next steps might be to address changes to California’s public pension systems, our state’s public workers have demonstrated they will be active, clear-eyed and productive participants in that discussion. Hopefully, this time their efforts will not go unheralded.

After all, they have the most at stake.

~ ~ ~

Teague P. Paterson, a partner of the San Jose-based firm Beeson, Tayer and Bodine, counsels labor organizations in pension and retirement matters.


• • • • •


The Sac Bee seems to have more of an interest in the pension issue than the Mercury News. Here is a second article that captured Craig Shuey's attention…

Public Pension Reform Unlikely, But Problem Isn’t Going Away



By Dan Walters <dwalters@sacbee.com>
Sacramento Bee — March 31, 2014

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed’s chances of enacting a comprehensive public pension reform ballot measure were scant even before Attorney General Kamala Harris gave it an unfriendly official summary.

He faced the essential dilemma of all would-be pension reformers: They have no natural allies among the political interest groups that might put up the many millions of dollars a successful ballot measure drive would require, but must contend with public employee unions – foes with bottomless wells of campaign money.

When Harris’ office issued a summary that characterized the proposal in negative terms closely paralleling the unions’ position, and Reed couldn’t persuade a judge to alter it, he backed off.

While Reed says he may try again for 2016, there’s no reason to believe he would be any more successful then. Pension reform that substantially goes beyond the largely superficial changes made by Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature a couple of years ago is not doable anytime soon.

That doesn’t mean, of course, that the problem vanishes. But it’s mostly one affecting San Jose and other cities because they devote such large portions of their budgets to high-salaried police and firefighters with the highest pension benefits.

Cities are being forced to set aside ever-higher amounts for police and fire pensions in trust funds and since they have little ability to raise revenues, they must either cut other services or run deficits.

Three cities have already been driven into bankruptcy, in large measure because of their hefty pension payments, and several others are teetering on the brink of insolvency.

Moody’s Investors Services, a major credit-rating firm, says the suspension of Reed’s measure is a “credit negative” for California’s local governments due to rapidly growing retirement costs “with few tools to address them.”

In other words, even if local governments aren’t driven into bankruptcy by their escalating pension costs, they’ll likely face higher costs for borrowing as their credit ratings suffer.

The true costs of future retirement obligations have been masked by traditional government accounting, which doesn’t count them as bond-like debts.

However, Moody’s says they are, and the Governmental Accounting Standards Board last week refused to back down from its 2012 decree that they must be reported as debts on government balance sheets.

“Among other improvements, net pension liabilities will be reported on the balance sheet, providing citizens and other users of these financial reports with a clearer picture of the size and nature of the financial obligations to current and former employees for past services rendered,” former GASB Chairman Robert H. Attmore said when the decree was published in 2012.

Perhaps when voters see mounting pension debts in black and white, it will make a difference.

 

WEEKLY POLL

 

   

 

Last Week's Poll Results



For the most recent Rasmussen Reports releases, click here:
<http://www.rasmussenreports.com/older_content/home/top_stories/most_recent_articles>



 

MAIL CALL

March 28th

Hi Bill,

Remember a couple of issues ago I presented a few ideas regarding the minimum wage and how they might save a lot of time and chatter if there was a law that simply tied the minimum wage to the cost of living index? Your comment was something like good luck getting anyone to agree to it.
 
Well, I had previously sent one of my ideas to Senator Diane Feinstein (an excerpt from her response appears below). I have written her numerous times in the past and can testify that she reads everything. Most of the time I receive a general letter in response, but on several occasions I have received specific replies. Sometimes on certain issues we simply agree to disagree, which is fine by me. At least I know she is reading and considering my input. As for getting anything of substance back from Barbara Boxer, forget it. All I ever got from her was the standard form letters she sends to everybody.

Senator Feinstein wrote:


"I am pleased to let you know that I have co-sponsored Senator Tom Harkin's (D-IA) bill to raise the minimum wage to $10.10. On November 19, 2013, Senator Harkin introduced the "Minimum Wage Fairness Act" (S. 1737), which would raise the federal minimum wage to $8.20 on the date it became law,  and then raise the minimum wage to $9.15 and $10.10 after each year of enactment respectively. Finally, after the third year of enactment, the minimum wage would be indexed to increases in inflation. On November 20, 2013, S. 1737 was expedited through the Senate Committee process and now awaits consideration by the full Senate."

Did my idea have any influence on the matter. Maybe, but probably not. Millions of ideas are floating around, but at least I received a response.

Hope all is well,

Dave
(Scannell)
<silent.eagle46@yahoo.com>

Hi Dave. It's likely that you failed to receive a personal reply from Boxer because you pissed her off by referring to her as "Ma'am." Big mistake.
 

• • • • •

 

April 2nd

Hi Bill,
 
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" (pp. 5-6).

My thanks to Adonna.
 
Dan Katz
<andjay2@aol.com>

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 care."

 

• • • • •

 

April 2nd

Bill,

In the obits of Tuesday's Merc was an old time Sheriff's sergeant who was probably there when you were with the S/O: John Bagatella, a/k/a "Baggy." Local services to be held on Friday in Santa Clara.

Bob
(Moir) <robillard1045@gmail.com>

Robillard was right; I recall working with John in the Jail and later during my short stint in the Bureau just before I swapped uniforms and moved next door to the SJPD. This is the April 1st obituary Bob was referring to…

John A. Bagatella



Nov. 30, 1926 ~ March 28, 2014
Resident of Santa Cruz

John A. Bagatella was born to a Santa Clara Valley farming family on November 30, 1926, and born into eternal life on March 28, 2014 in Santa Cruz, California.

John worked on the family farm for many years before serving his country in the United States Coast Guard. After returning, he became a Santa Clara County Sheriff, rising to the rank of sergeant. Upon his retirement from law enforcement in1983, he returned to full time farming and ranching in the Santa Clara Valley and Fairfield area.

John belonged to AMSLAV, was a stakeholder in Napredak Hall in San Jose and belonged to S.A.C.O. in Watsonville. He enjoyed socializing with friends and family, always willing to engage in conversation with anybody. He loved hunting and fishing, traveling the world and was proud of taking 18 trips to Croatia in the last 19 years.

John was preceded in death by his father, Frank Bagatella; mother, Helen (Kovacic) Bagatella; brother, George Bagatella and long time companion, Twoana Gross. He was survived by many cousins in the United States, Austria and Croatia.

Visitation will be held at Mehl’s Colonial Chapel on Thursday, April 3rd 3-9:00 p.m. with the rosary recited at 7:00 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Clare Parish 941 Lexington St, Santa Clara, CA on Friday, April 4th at 1:00 p.m. with burial to follow at Santa Clara Mission Cemetery, 490 Lincoln St, Santa Clara, CA.


 

RETIREES' ASSN. NEWSLETTER AVAILABLE ONLINE

Click on the link below to download the Billy & Spanner to your desktop,
then double-click the icon to open the newsletter for viewing…

<http://www.gaylonn.com/assoc_2007/newsletters/current.pdf>



 

THE BEST OF THE LATE NITE JOKES
     
March 26 through April 1

Intelligence officials say they had a hard time predicting Russia’s invasion because Vladimir Putin doesn’t own a cellphone or use the Internet due to fear of being tracked. You can tell Putin doesn’t spend much time online. When he says “LOL,” he means “Look out, Latvia.”

That’s right, Putin doesn’t have a cellphone. And just like everyone else without a cellphone, he won't stop bragging about it.

Ukraine said it has finished withdrawing the last of its troops from Crimea, so the split is now final. Well, they're not calling it a split. They’re calling it a "conscious uncoupling."

Today Pope Francis had to fire a German bishop known as the “Bling Bishop” after he spent over $43 million to renovate his house. Pope Francis was nice enough to describe it as a "conscious unbishopping."

Mayor Rob Ford is running for re-election in Toronto, and last night's first debate was about public transportation. Ford said it's important to preserve the city's bus and subway stations. Then he said, “I rely on those things. I’m way too drunk to drive myself.”

President Obama visited with Pope Francis today, and during the meeting the president gave Pope Francis some seeds used in the White House garden. Then he said, “Don't plant these where anyone can see them. They're straight from Denver. ”

Joan Rivers is on the show tonight. This is her first appearance on the show in 25 years. Or roughly 43 faces.

The movie “Noah” comes out this weekend. It follows the story of a family trying to survive God's wrath on a giant boat for months. Or as that's more commonly known, a Carnival Cruise.

“Noah” tells the story of a man who takes on a massive project that no one believes in. Or as Obama put it, "Been there."

At March Madness, Dayton beat Stanford to advance to the Elite Eight. Stanford students haven't been this disappointed since they didn't get into Harvard.

The Philadelphia 76ers lost their 26th straight game last night to tie an NBA record. Yeah, they only TIED the record. Man, those guys can't win anything.

You know the 76ers don't even have cheerleaders? They have "grief counselors."

The March Madness Final Four was set last night with Connecticut taking on Florida, and Wisconsin taking on Kentucky. Meanwhile, Duke will be taking on a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.

Connecticut beat Michigan State, the team that President Obama had picked to win the whole tournament. It completely busted his bracket. Which explains why today Connecticut got a fruit basket from Vladimir Putin.

California is having to drive 30 million salmon to the ocean because this year’s drought has dried up the rivers that normally get them there. Unfortunately, to make the salmon comfortable, the truckers had to drive against traffic.

Today the federal government unveiled new safety guidelines that will require all new cars to have rearview cameras by 2018. Rearview cameras — or as that was called in our station wagon growing up, "Jimmy."

Officials in Finland say the Russian army is now conducting drills on its border. Or as Vladimir Putin calls that, “window shopping.”

The White House says it’s surpassed its goal for people enrolled in Obamacare. It’s amazing what you can achieve when you make something mandatory and fine people if they don't do it, and keep extending the deadline for months.

If you still haven’t enrolled, you might have to pay a penalty called the “individual shared responsibility payment,” which is 1 percent of your salary. Then Americans said, “Good thing I don’t have a job.”

U.N. experts are saying that climate change could start threatening the world's supply of fruits and vegetables. Then Americans said, “OK, let us know when it starts affecting Twinkies and Hot Pockets.”

One of President Obama's secret service agents is in trouble now after getting drunk and passing out in a hotel hallway. In his defense, it's spring break! He was wearing a helmet with a beer on either side. That was a bad idea.

The first lady is in China. During her trip, Michelle Obama fed panda bears. Like most people the first lady feeds, the bears politely ate the bamboo and then had a cheeseburger the minute she left.

In an interview, former vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan said he does not have a racist bone in his body. However, he admitted he has three sexist bones and his spine is homophobic.

In a speech, Pope Francis criticized the Mafia and urged its members to repent. Which is why now every morning the Pope makes his assistant start the Popemobile.

President Obama was at the Vatican today. He had his first meeting with Pope Francis. It was a casual meeting. They spoke privately for about an hour and grabbed lunch at the Cheesecake Factory.

It's traditional for world leaders to exchange gifts when they meet for the first time. The Pope gave Obama his book and two medallions. The president gave him seeds from the vegetable garden. The Pope said, "Great, my favorite."

Lululemon is the company that makes yoga pants that are so tight they cut off circulation to the part of your brain that decides how much money is OK to spend on yoga pants.

A lot of schools are banning the yoga pants because they're causing male students to go through puberty prematurely.

It's great to be here in Dallas for the Final Four. Of course, in Texas the Final Four refers to the number of Democrats in the Legislature.

I will try my hardest ever to give you people a great show. You know why? Because I know you're all armed.

Today is opening day for Major League Baseball. By the way, just an hour ago the Houston Astros were mathematically eliminated.

Sports is not the only thing you have in this town. Dallas is home to many incredible art museums. And while I'm here I plan to drive by all of them.

Hello, Dallas! This is our second night here. Dallas is known for its strip clubs so last night I visited one. It was great. I got to meet all the Dallas Cowboys in person.

Southwest Airlines is headquartered in Dallas. In honor of this being their headquarters, the show will be delayed for two hours.

Dallas is the largest city in America that is not near a large body of water. That explains the city's original motto: "Whose bright idea was this?"


The Dallas Public Library displays one of the original copies of the Declaration of Independence — also the only copy stained with barbecue sauce.

It's not every night that we get a great audience. Last night, we had an ugly crowd. Halfway through the show, they voted to join Russia.

Vladimir Putin was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize and two weeks later he invaded Crimea. So here's what the United States did. They tossed him out of the G-8 meetings. Really? I mean, that's like being told you can't go to the Daytime Emmys.

President Obama went to the G-8 meetings. He's filling in for Dennis Rodman.

First lady Michelle Obama is in China right now. Today she was busy doing some official business. She placed a wreath on the grave of General Tso, the creator of spicy chicken.

It's baseball's opening day. This will be the first time the New York Yankees will be playing without the services of their relief ace Mariano Rivera since World War II.

I can hardly wait to get to Yankee Stadium to see their newest $200 million disappointment.

The new movie "Noah" is a blockbuster but a lot of people say it's not accurate. I thought it was accurate, especially the part when the ark hits the iceberg.

Last week the Internet turned 25 years old. I always thought the Internet was invented by that Bill Applegate guy, but it was not.

The Yankees open up tonight. They have a lot of lineup changes. Alex Rodriguez is gone, and Robinson Cano too. And the great Mariano Rivera is gone. He's now the closer at Westchester Volvo.

The Mets lost yesterday. They had a tough season last year and the year before that. They've had a tough century, come to think of it.

The population in New York City has grown by a quarter of a million people in the last 10 years. And you know what else? Most of those people are talk-show hosts.

Here's how crowded it is in New York City. Today a guy gave me $200 in cash to take a later elevator.

In Colorado a big convention is going on for five days. It's expected to bring in thousands of people, and it's devoted to one of my favorite things: balloons. Yes, the World Balloon Convention is going on in Denver. And I'm stuck here!

I can't believe the World Balloon Convention is in Denver. What could the people of Colorado possibly have that would suddenly make them transfixed by balloons?

Do you think when we're not looking, animals make balloon people?

(Guest host Drew Carey): I'm so very excited to be on "The Late Late Show" because growing up I wanted to be a talk-show host, but success got in the way.

Craig called me and said, "You want to host the show?" And I said, "You've got a show?" I was shocked.

I saw "Noah" this weekend. Not as good as the book.

Keith Richards is writing a children's book. I think it's called "Green Eggs and Whiskey." Or "Horton Hears a Hallucination."

A group of Secret Service agents went to Amsterdam ahead of President Obama's visit, but three of them were sent home after they stayed out all night drinking and one of them passed out in the hotel’s hallway. I always thought Secret Service agents wore sunglasses to look intimidating. Turns out they're just hung over.

The NFL made a big announcement yesterday that will greatly impact how players celebrate in the end zone. The league has banned players from dunking over the goal post. If I want to watch a sport without dunking, I'll watch the WNBA.

Toronto held the first mayoral debate of 2014 tonight. Rob Ford faced four challengers. When Rob Ford ran for mayor in 2010, his slogan was "Stop the gravy train." Then he realized he loves gravy. And you need a train to get it there.

This is the difference between our countries. None of the other candidates specifically mentioned drugs. They let Mayor Ford say over and over again that he's the only candidate with a proven track record. He's also the only candidate with a proven crack record.

We are minutes away from April Fools' Day. So don't forget to turn your friends' clocks back an hour.

April Fools' Day sneaks up on you. But if you're up now while your husband or wife or kids or parents are asleep, you have the upper hand. It's almost like they're asking you to do something to them.

I want to wish a happy birthday to Batman. Yesterday was the 75th anniversary of the first time Batman appeared in a comic book. He spent a quiet evening at home watching Netflix with Robin.

Americans have been given another month to sign up for Obamacare as long as they check a box on the website saying they tried to sign up before the original deadline. It’s expected to be answered as truthfully as boxes that say “Yes, I am 18.”

This week Diddy announced he’s going back to his old nickname of Puff Daddy. But your dad will probably just keep calling him “Kanye.”

A New Jersey man who was released last week after 15 years in prison for robbing a shoe store was arrested the next day for robbing the exact same store. He learned a valuable lesson. Next time, steal both shoes at the same time.

Pope Francis and President Obama met for the first time today and prayed together. Said Obama: “Lord, please help me accept the things I cannot change, which is everything.”

Today the U.N. approved a resolution calling Russia’s annexation of Crimea illegal. For those of you who don't know what a U.N. resolution is, it’s about as powerful as a negative Yelp review.

A British tech company has debuted new technology that lets clothing store mannequins talk about the outfit they are displaying. Said the inventor, “The idea came to me in a nightmare.”

After discovering a new dwarf planet orbiting the sun beyond Pluto, scientists have named it “2012 VP113” or “Biden” for short. Scientists say they chose the name because the planet, like Biden, is pretty far out there.

The Secret Service arrested a man today after he tried to scale a fence at the White House. They reportedly said to the man, “Sorry, but you still have two more years, Mr. President.”

Today was opening day for Major League Baseball. Which means we’re only 17 months away from the World Series.

A new study on unemployment shows that it is now harder to get a job at Wal-Mart than to get accepted at Harvard. Of course, it’s a lot easier if your dad went to Wal-Mart.

The official presidential candidate for the Ukrainian Internet Party is a man in a Darth Vader costume. Not to be confused with the president of Russia, who is Darth Vader in a man costume.

The Department of Agriculture is encouraging grandparents to read their grandchildren bedtime stories about nutrition. Stories like “Goodnight Kale,” “James and the Giant Organic Peach,” and “The Little Engine That Could, Thanks to His High-Fiber Diet.”

Tiger Woods announced that he won’t play in the Masters because he’s recovering from back surgery. His doctors have told him to avoid swinging — and also golfing.

During a show put on for China’s Fashion Week, three different models fell on the runway — proving it’s really hard to walk and make clothes at the same time.



 

NO ONE IS OWED A LIVING BY THE GOVERNMENT


I thought I would share this item I received from a friend who lives in northern Michigan. It was authored by a county emergency manager in the western part of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan following a recent severe snowstorm...

The Mining Journal, Marquette, MI

Weather Bulletin

Up here in the Northern part of Michigan we just recovered from a historic event — I might even say a "Weather Event" of "Biblical Proportions" — with a major blizzard of up to 44 inches of snow and winds up to 90 mph that broke trees in half, knocked down utility poles, stranded hundreds of motorists in lethal snow banks, closed ALL roads, isolated scores of communities and cut power to tens of thousands.

Obama did not come. FEMA did nothing. No one howled for the government. No one blamed the government. No one even uttered an expletive on TV. Neither Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton visited. Our mayors did not blame Obama or anyone else. Our governor did not blame Obama or anyone else, either. CNN, ABC, CBS, FOX, or NBC did not visit, or even report on this category 5 snowstorm.
                 

Nobody demanded $2,000 debit cards. No one asked for a FEMA Trailer House. No one looted. Nobody — I mean nobody — demanded that the government do something. Nobody expected the government to do anything, either. No Larry King. No Bill O'Rielly. No Oprah. No Chris Mathews. No Rachel Maddow. And no Geraldo Rivera. No Sean Penn. No Barbara Streisand. No Brad Pitt. No Hollywood types were to be found.          

Nope, we just melted the snow for water. Sent out caravans of SUVs to pluck people out of snow engulfed cars. The truck drivers pulled people out of snow banks and didn't ask for a penny. Local restaurants made food, and the police and fire departments delivered it to the snow bound families. Other families took in stranded people, many of whom were total strangers.



We fired up wood stoves, broke out coal oil lanterns or Coleman lanterns. We put on an extra layers of clothes because up here it is "Work or Die." We did not wait for some affirmative action government to get us out of a mess created by being immobilized by a welfare program that trades votes for "sittin' at home" checks.
                 
Even though a  Category 5 blizzard of this scale is not usual, we know it can happen and how to deal with it ourselves.


                 I hope this gets passed on. Maybe, just maybe, some people will get the message that the world does not owe them a living.
                

 

THE FARSIDER TIP OF THE WEEK

McDonald's Big Mac Secret Special Sauce recipe:


•  1/4 cup Kraft Miracle Whip
•  1/4 cup standard mayonnaise
•  2 tablespoons, heaping, Wishbone deluxe French salad dressing
•  1/2 tablespoon Heinz sweet relish
•  2 teaspoons, heaping, Vlasic dill pickle relish (Heinz dill relish also works)
•  1 teaspoon sugar
•  1 teaspoon dried, minced onion
•  1 teaspoon white vinegar
•  1 teaspoon ketchup
•  1/8 teaspoon salt

Mix everything very well in a small container and make sure there are no streaks. Microwave 25 seconds, then stir well again. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour before using to allow all of the flavors to "meld." Makes nearly 1 cup, enough for about 8 Big Macs.


 

WEEKLY SNOPES URBAN LEGEND UPDATE AS OF MARCH 29, 2014
 

The facts behind the legends, information and
misinformation that has or may show up in your inbox

New Articles

• Will an unusual planetary alignment on 4 April 2014 make people on Earth weigh less? <
www.snopes.com/humor/iftrue/zerogday.asp>

• Malicious code is loaded onto computers via court notice fraud.
<http://www.snopes.com/crime/fraud/courtnotice.asp>

• The IRS does not contact taxpayers by phone to demand that overdue taxes be settled via prepaid debit card or wire transfers.
<http://www.snopes.com/fraud/taxes/prepaid.asp>

• Has NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon announced he is in a relationship with another male driver?
<http://www.snopes.com/politics/satire/jeffgordon.asp>

• Does quitting "cold turkey" result in the skins of addicts in withdrawal resembling that of plucked turkeys?
<http://www.snopes.com/language/phrases/coldturkey.asp>

• A cuckolded husband presented his wife with the head of her lover.
<http://www.snopes.com/horrors/gruesome/headless.asp>

• Imitation see-through skirts: The "current fashion rage in Japan," or a digital hoax?
<http://www.snopes.com/photos/risque/skirts.asp>

• Warning about razor blades discovered glued to playground equipment in a public park.
<http://www.snopes.com/horrors/parental/playground.asp>

• Conspiracy theory claims the U.S. Navy diverted missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 to a secret Navy base and captured it.
<http://www.snopes.com/politics/conspiracy/malaysiacapture.asp>

• Don't forget to visit our Daily Snopes page for a collection of odd news stories from around the world!
<http://www.snopes.com/daily/>


Worth a Second Look

• A stunned animal dressed up for a photo gains revenge on his tormentors.
<http://www.snopes.com/critters/malice/kangaroo.asp>


Still Haunting the Inbox

• Check out our 25 Hottest Urban Legends list to keep abreast of what's circulating in the on-line world.
<http://www.snopes.com/info/top25uls.asp>


Fraud Afoot

• Visit our Top Scams page for a list of schemes commonly used by crooks to separate the unwary from their money.
<http://www.snopes.com/fraud/topscams.asp>


 

THE LIGHTER SIDE & OTHER ODDS AND ENDS

 



Large or Full Screen menu selection preferred for YouTube videos.

 

Welcome back to the Critter Corner...


This little two-legged Boxer named "Duncan Lou Who" is one remarkable animal. Watch him as he enjoys his first romp on the beach. (2 Mins.)

<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xaM-xXgl4Bs>


• • • • •


When it comes to ruling the roost, which species dominates, felines or canines? The answer can be found in this 3-minute compilation video titled…



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovWqEtVVUFs>


• • • • •


Say hi to the winner of this week's cutest couple: Emma and Cinnamon. This short video shows that they are indeed the best of friends. (2 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZmIkHvGEfs>


• • • • •


I thought this clip of a kitten riding on the back of a tortoise was so cute that I wanted to be able to replicate the experience, but I didn't want to have to be responsible for taking care of two critters. (1 Min.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjZqZWbmXK4>


That posed a dilemma, so I went to the pound and adopted a kitten, then swung by Fry's on the way home and bought a Roomba. Problem solved. (1 Min.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7fsOzsHAPw>


• • • • •


Watch this cat for a few moments and see if you can diagnose why it insists on punching paper. Virtually everything made of paper. Perhaps his name is Rocky and he loves working out. (3 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44AA84GxYK0#t=90>


• • • • •


Give me one of these RC cars and I would be willing to be a cowboy on a round-up for the day. Without one, forget it. (3 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tatNqy-juR4>


• • • • •


This is either the smartest squirrel we've ever seen, or the hungriest. Watch what it has to go through in order to grab a meal. Perhaps the U.S. wouldn't have an obesity problem if everyone who was about to patronize a fast-food joint would first have to run through an obstacle course. Just sayin'. (1 Min.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6w46VzyRyo>


• • • • •
 

Pop quiz: What do French Bulldog puppies have in common with Turtles? Watch this 1-minute video for the answer.



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0-Sv6YnxEc>


• • • • •
 

As this week's final Critter Clip, how can you not smile when you see a baby elephant named Navann experience its first outing accompanied by banjo music. Check out this clip sent in by Stan Miller. (4 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bu_E2f0mQmI>



 

The Critters are now back in the barn…


If you are not familiar with the story of Ted Williams the homeless man (not the iconic baseball player), you should take a few minutes and watch this uplifting story. It comes in two segments: First, he is introduced to a national YouTube audience in Jan. 2011 by a reporter from the Columbus Dispatch. (2 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jaGLDKBE8Ho>

And this is what happened a few days after the video above went viral with millions of views. (12 Mins.)




<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BWs0WbMMng>


• • • • •


This mudslide caught by a camera crew in British Columbia in 2012 pales in comparison to the one that devastated a community in Snohomish County, Washington that was responsible for taking the lives of over two dozen people, but it will give you a rough idea of what a large slide looks and sounds like. (3 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1cCs-S5EKc>


Speaking of the Washington mudslide, this link we received from Russ Jones will show you the devastation that has so far (as we go to press) resulted in 27 confirmed deaths. The ABC News site contains several before and after aerial photos of the mudslide you can view by sliding your mouse on a couple, and by clicking on others. They graphically show just how devastating the event was, not unlike some of the photos after Mt. St. Helens erupted.



<http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-26/washington-mudslide/5346460>


• • • • •


As much as we hate to admit it, this professional welfare recipient makes a good case for living on the public dole. What if someone gave you a million dollars? (8 Mins.)



<http://safeshare.tv/w/csrqsTAmSx>


• • • • •


Along somewhat similar lines, this is a reminder to beware of panhandlers, especially if they are Romanian gypsies who are able to rake in $180 an hour with some help from their kids. Have a look at this KCRA TV news report received from Alice Murphy. (2 Mins.)



<http://tinyurl.com/mkbnfbm>


• • • • •


London seems to have its own version of magician Chris Angel. He calls himself "Dynamo." Check out this clip received from Dick Tush. (2 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G06xdAEYcjM>


• • • • •


You may have noticed that the "magic trick" above had Pepsi Max as a sponsor. Here's another illusion about a rigged bus shelter that indicates Pepsi Max may have its eyes on capturing the soft drink market in London. (2 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Go9rf9GmYpM>


• • • • •


So what can happen on a Russian highway when a truck carrying dozens of high-pressure gas cylinders is involved in an accident and spills its load? Watch this, and continue watching at 2:19 when the video freezes for a few moments as the clip runs for a full 3 minutes and 50 seconds. Look closely in the picture grab below and you can see the truck driver running for his life moments after the fire starts. (4 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FG1LGKieTxY>


• • • • •


Speaking of fire, this is footage of last week's inferno of an apartment building under construction in Houston you may have seen on the news in which a ladder truck saved the life of a construction worker who was trapped in the fire. But this is the full uncut version not shown by most TV stations. We suggest you mute the volume if you don't want to hear one of the excited onlookers make continuous references to God. (2 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cg9PWSHL4Vg>


• • • • •


One would think that the government would mandate placing a warning sticker on this toy lightsaber. Then again, the kid's blue shirt might identify him as a Democrat. If so, his Democratic dad may give the kid permission to use the toy on red-shirted Republicans. Whatever the case, the clip is only 12 seconds long and worth a look…



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M26RufAG1yw>


• • • • •


Who says you can't tell a story in one minute, like this one about a little drama queen riding in the backseat of her mother's car that gets stopped by a British motor officer? (1 Min.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGnfKnfY6EM>


• • • • •

 

Then there's the story of Little Bruce… 

Little Bruce and Jenny are only 10 years old, but they know they are in love.

One day they decide that they want to get married, so Bruce goes to Jenny's father to ask him for her hand.

Bruce bravely walks up to him and says, "Mr. Smith, me and Jenny are in love and I want to ask you for her hand in marriage."

Thinking that this was just the cutest thing, Mr. Smith replies, "Well Bruce, you are only 10. Where will you two live?"

Without even taking a moment to think about it, Bruce replies, "In Jenny's room. It's bigger than mine, and we can both fit there nicely."

Mr. Smith says with a huge grin, "Okay, then how will you live? You're not old enough to get a job. You'll need to support Jenny."

Again, Bruce instantly replies, "Our allowance, Jenny makes five bucks a week and I make 10 bucks a week. That's 60 bucks a month, so that should do us just fine."

Mr. Smith is impressed. Bruce has put a lot o thought into this.

"Well Bruce, it seems like you have everything figured out. I just have one more question. What will you do if the two of you should have little children of your own?"

Bruce just shrugs his shoulders and says, "Well, we've been lucky so far."

Mr. Smith no longer thinks the little bastard is adorable.

 

• • • • •


This clip of falling dominoes has drawn over 16 million views. Take a few minutes to watch it and you will see why. (4 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ARM42-eorzE>


• • • • •


This may be the coolest wedding reception ever. Then again, when the groom (Lin-Manuel Miranda) is an American composer, lyricist and actor, it probably isn't that difficult to surprise the bride with a lavish performance like this, not only by the groom and his father, but lots of others who were in on the surprise. (5 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgZ4ZTTfKO8>


• • • • •
 

We chose as this week's closer this short Greek film. It is very profound, and we suggest you take a couple of minutes and watch the production because you might have already lived the experience, or will in the future. It's titled "What is that?" (5 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U08lAYIdZlE>


• • • • •




C'ya



Pic of the Week

It has been determined that ACORN has resurfaced under
a different name. As a result, a major effort is underway by
Republicans to ensure that the dead don't vote in November.


 
   

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