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The Farsider

June 21
, 2012


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.



The POA sent out a number of Membership Alerts this past week. One that had links to 24 California law enforcement agencies interested in hiring laterals was targeted to active personnel. These were the other alerts...

"Nearly 100 SJPD Resignations — a Model for Other Cities to Follow?"

June 14th


~ ~ ~

"The Hits Keep Coming: Letter to POA President Jim Unland from the Dep. Director of Employee Relations." (Clicking on the link will download a .pdf file to your desktop. Double-click it to view the letter.)

June 15th



~ ~ ~


"There is no way in good conscience that I could recommend your department to anyone..."

June 18th



~ ~ ~


"Where are Our Officers Disappearing To?"

June 20th





President Jim Spence talks about the Retirees' Assn. dues increase and other important factors relating to the passage of Measure B in the 'President's Notes' column of the June issue of the Billy & Spanner. To download the newsletter, click on the Association's website link below, then on the download link under the Calendar of Events on the right side of the home page. You can also sign up to attend the Association's Aug. barbecue while you are on the website.




Paul Salerno wrote and said, "Read it and weep. Even liberal national publications like Time magazine are against us." Included in Paul's email was this link that will bring up the article to which he is referring:



• • • • •

Will the POA court challenge against the City prevail or fail? Best guess at this point: It's a crapshoot. This article from the June 14th e-newsletter of the Fraternal Order of Police touches on that question. The only thing that is known for sure is that states and cities all over the nation are keeping a close eye on what happens in San Diego and here in San Jose...

Public-Employee Pensions Face a Rollback in California

By Elliot Spagat — Associated Press

Reported as an E-News Update by the
National Executive Board of the
Fraternal Order of Police (FOP)

SAN DIEGO (AP) — For years, companies have been chipping away at workers’ pensions. Now, two California cities may help pave the way for governments to follow suit.

Voters in San Diego and San Jose, the nation’s 8th- and 10th-largest cities, overwhelmingly approved ballot measures last week to roll back municipal retirement benefits — and not just for future hires, but for current employees.

From coast to coast, the pensions of current public employees have long been generally considered untouchable. But now, some politicians are saying those obligations are trumped by the need to provide for the public’s health and safety.

The two California cases could put that argument to the test in a legal battle that could resonate in cash-strapped state capitols and city halls across the country. Lawsuits have already been filed in both cities.

“Other states are going to have to pay attention,” said Amy Monahan, a law professor at University of Minnesota.

The court battles are playing out as lawmakers across the U.S. grapple with ballooning pension obligations that increasingly threaten schools, police, health clinics and other basic services.

State and local governments may have $3 trillion in unfunded pension liabilities, and seven states and six large cities will be unable to cover their obligations beyond 2020, Northwestern University finance professor Joshua Rauh estimated last year.

In San Jose, current employees face salary cuts of up to 16 percent to fund the city’s pension plan. If they choose, they can instead accept a lower benefit and see the current retirement age of 55 raised to 57 for police officers and firefighters, and to 62 for other employees.

The voter-approved measure in San Diego imposes a six-year freeze on the pay levels used to determine pension benefits for current employees, a move that is expected to save nearly $1 billion over 30 years. Public employee unions have sued to block the measure, saying City Hall failed to negotiate the ballot’s wording as required by state law.

Legal experts expect the cities to argue that their obligations to provide basic services such as police protection and garbage removal override promises made to employees.

In San Diego, the city’s payments to its retirement fund soared from $43 million in 1999 to $231.2 million this year, equal to 20 percent of the operating budget. At the same time, the 1.3 million residents saw roads deteriorate and libraries cut hours. For a while, fire stations had to share engines and trucks. The city has cut its workforce 14 percent since 2005.

San Jose’s pension payments jumped from $73 million in 2001 to $245 million this year, or 27 percent of its operating budget. Four libraries and a police station that were built over the past decade have never even opened because the city cannot afford to operate them. The city of 960,000 cut its workforce 27 percent over the past 10 years.

“It’s a problem that threatens our ability to remain a city and provide services to our people,” said Mayor Chuck Reed. “It’s huge dollar amounts and has a huge impact on services.”

Unions representing police officers and firefighters in San Jose claimed in lawsuits filed last week in state court that the measure violates their vested rights.

“What they’ve done in San Jose is patently unlawful under existing court precedent,” said Steve Kreisberg, national collective bargaining director for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. “We know of no other places where this has survived legal scrutiny. There is no justification for essentially seizing the property of employees.”

Michael Lotito, a San Francisco labor lawyer who has represented governments, predicted that dire fiscal straits may carry weight with judges.

“It’s a horrible, horrible story for the taxpayer. But worse off the city is, the more they have to lay off, the stronger legal argument they have,” he said.

The cities are also expected to argue that they are not stripping workers of anything they already earned, only changing what they will earn in the future.

“You don’t have a vested right to keep having your salary increased,” said San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith.

The University of Minnesota’s Monahan said some state courts have recognized that distinction, but not in California, where she said the state courts have held since the 1940s that benefits granted on the first day of employment are protected.

Private companies, whose pensions are governed by federal law, have been whittling away at current employees’ retirement benefits for years. Pensions for state and local government workers are covered by state laws, and those benefits have been left alone for the most part.

Rhode Island has gone further than any other state to cut pensions for current workers under legislation approved last year, and opponents have vowed to challenge it in court, said David Draine, senior researcher at the Pew Center on the States. Other states have fended off legal challenges to the relatively modest step of eliminating pension increases for inflation.

“This is an area that remains legally unsettled,” Draine said.

City Councilman Carl DeMaio, a chief backer of the San Diego measure who is staking his mayoral bid on a pension overhaul, said he has fielded scores of calls from government officials nationwide interested in copycat measures. He predicted the legal challenges in San Diego will fail.

“We’re showing the way,” he said. “We’re offering a model — at least one model.”




Results from last week's poll...

For the full scope of state and national polling by Scott Rasmussen, click on this link:

For the most recent releases, click here:



June 14th


Rex Newburn and I worked together as a two-man car (Mids B-15), which was most of the East Side back in the '60s. We became very good friends and I was sorry to read that he passed away.

I was a West Valley recruit and rode with him every Friday and Saturday night for two years until I graduated from college. He used to let me carry a little .25 caliber automatic tucked away behind my belt (college recruits we're not allowed to carry firearms). He treated me like a regular partner; I wrote reports and made arrests.

Rex was a loner. He had few friends outside of the police department, not even girlfriends. He once tried to have a girlfriend, but it went sour and he never tried again. His social life was comprised mainly of watching football games on television and reading police related publications. His residence off Meridian was a one-bedroom apartment with absolutely no furniture except for a bed, sofa, TV and a filing cabinet. That was the way he wanted it. I tried to involve him in some activities, but after a couple years I gave up. He had no known vices and was a man true to his word, always very frank with me and extremely critical of what he felt were fools in the police administration. It could be argued that we had more than our share back then.

The biggest disappointment in Rex's life came when he was turned down by the FBI. Before he came to California he was a Washington state trooper. When I first became an SJPD officer he bought me my revolver. But after I got married we drifted apart.

He wanted to become a member of the H-Cars, but he felt he wouldn't make it because of what he perceived was his lack of social skills. He admired Terry Boone, Dick Frechette, Gordon Sherman, John Kracht and others who were members of the unit.

Rex was a very competent polygraph examiner and read everything he could find to be the best police officer he could be.

He truly was one of a kind.


• • • • •


June 14th


Rex was standing behind me at a Safeway store on Tuesday, June 1st. We chatted in line and again in the parking lot. I asked if he planned to attend the Keith Kelley BBQ. He said he wasn't a joiner and that he couldn't remember most of his friends because he had Alzheimer's. But he was sharp enough to say that his fondest memories were of the good times "back in the day" when police work was fun and not as political. He looked like the Rex that I remember from the '80s and '90s when he ran District T.

My first recollection of Rex goes back to when I saw him pushing a funny looking chair out into the hallway of the Juvenile Unit. When I asked "Who are you and what's with the funny chair?" he said "I am Sgt. Newburn and that's my chair." I didn't inquire further, but I later learned that he was who he said he was and that the chair was indeed his, but I still wondered why anyone would have such a funny chair. I eventually learned that the chair was related to his work as a polygraph examiner.

I can almost see Rex today with his "lie box" and his funny chair at the pearly gates and making it clear to St. Peter that "nobody is going to slip by on my shift."


• • • • •

This is from the mother of Tony Bulygo, whose letter appeared in last week's Mail Call column...

June 14th

Hi Bill,

Always enjoy spending time reading your excellent newsletter. I also like to share it with my son and daughter-in-law, obviously.
Your statement about my retirement having taken place "several years ago" was nice. Actually, it will have been 24 years ago in a few months. I am doing very well and still have many hobbies. I'm still driving my 40th Edition Mustang, Pony emblems and all, plus its spotless competition orange color and license plate that reads BN2AL50. The vehicle makes a statement for me all by itself.
Regarding Rex Newburn: Yes, I knew the sergeant. I first met him when he would come in to Records to retrieve copies of reports or look for information from the paper files we kept there. When he dictated reports from the field you could expect them to be professional in every way.
Rex was the Records Sergent for a couple of shifts, if not more. He seemed to be a loner and a quiet, serious man, but he had a good sense of humor who knew the rule book, and I don't think he ever strayed from it. Above all, he was absolutely fair and a good listener.

Rest in peace, Rex.   
Corinne J. Bulygo, SJPD #11N


• • • • •


June 14th

Rex was my sergeant when I was a young officer working District 4. He always took care of his officers and appreciated hard work. No patrol sergeant knew their respective district like Rex. The mold was broken after he retired. I have some great stories about Rex, but they would be best told in a private setting of us in blue. He always had my respect and I will miss him.

Thanks Rex, and enjoy your new District. You earned it.


Ret'd. Capt. Jack Farmer #1857


• • • • •


June 15th


I have tended to remain silent on the Retirement issues and the Gov. Walker recall election because I can do little or nothing to change what has happened, and will happen in the future.

First on our retirement issues: When I started on the San Jose PD in Nov. 1962, I started at a monthly salary of $476 per month ($2.97 per hour). Not anything to get excited about, but it was a living wage for a single male just finishing college at San Jose State. After about six months we got a raise of $13.00 per month. I was now up to $489.00 ($3.05 per hour). The raise was "benevolently" given to us by the City Council and the City Manager, without negotiations. Shortly after that raise the POA was established and began to negotiate contracts with the City. As a result, our pay and benefits began to improve, and we began to actually receive a living wage and benefits. We still were paid less than garbage collectors and plumbers because they had stronger unions that negotiated better salaries and benefits. I didn't want to change professions simply because they made more than we did, but I often questioned why we were so less appreciated than those other professions. I can't tell you how many times citizens would tell me, "I'm glad there are people like you willing to be police officers because I could never do your job and take the risks." We worked all shifts, long hours, holidays and spent many of our days off in court testifying against those we arrested or cited. While we were given some compensation for our overtime, most of us would rather have had the time off on those holidays and days off.

When we retired, we were granted 75 percent of our salary if we had worked a full 30 years, plus a COLA of a percentage based on the cost of living increase each year. For several years we received 1 percent or less because the cost of living was calculated to be much less than the 3 percent. If the cost of living exceeded 3 percent, we still received only 3% and "banked" the percentage of the actual cost of living that exceeded the 3 percent. Eventually we received an automatic 3 percent COLA each year regardless of the actual cost of living. I guess the City grew tired of the need to make calculations for each employee every year.

Now, because the City has found itself in financial difficulties, it would love to take away the entire COLA for a minimum of 5 years or more. I consider my retirement compensation to be fair for the 30+ years that I served the City and have no complaints, but I can't believe that Mayor Reed and the City Council would push Measure B and manipulate the public into passing it by saying the City cannot survive financially without taking away many of the salary and benefits that the POA worked so hard to negotiate and obtain for its members.

If I was a new employee with 1-2 years of service, I would be looking to leave San Jose and apply to cities that understand that a contractual agreement is something that you must honor. To fail to meet and confer and arbitrarily take away salary and benefits is a form of theft. Hopefully, the courts will not let Measure B stand and will rule that the City must return to the negotiating table and meet and confer in good faith.

On the issue of the Wisconsin recall election,  Gov. Walker was trying to get government employees to pay a percentage of the costs of their retirement and health benefits. State employees in Wisconsin, unlike San Jose city employees, paid nothing for their benefits. To ask them to pay a part of the costs so that the State of Wisconsin could maintain services without raising taxes did not seem to be unreasonable. The fact that they paid nothing for their benefits has gotten lost or forgotten in the debate. When employees are unreasonable and refuse to negotiate in good faith like those in Wisconsin, I completely support Gov. Walker and would have voted against the recall.

While I am a staunch conservative, I still support common sense when it comes to logical and fair negotiations. Wisconsin employees were not being logical or fair. Instead, they acted like spoiled children who wanted to do little or nothing for their weekly allowances.

Bill Mallett

Thanks for your comments, Bill. As I understand it, the conversion of the COLA "banking system" to a flat automatic 3 percent COLA each year without regard to the actual cost-of-living was based on the accumulation of the retirees' COLA credits that were in the bank. During the years when the cost-of-living was above 3 percent, anything in excess of that percentage was placed in the "bank" with the understanding that in years where the cost-of-living was less than 3 percent, the retiree would be able to make a withdrawal from the "bank" and continue to receive his or her 3 percent COLA.

As the years rolled by, the total amount of the retirees' credits in the "bank" continued to grow. This proved to be a negative for the City because those accumulated credits had to be listed as an asset liability by the City. Former POA President Carm Grande or one of our other past POA presidents could probably pinpoint the year the conversion from the "banking system" to a flat 3 percent COLA took place, and whether it was proposed by the City or the POA. Regardless of which side initiated the proposal, the conversion was made, and I have heard from several sources over the past few months — but haven't confirmed — that when the City Council voted for the flat, automatic 3 percent COLA, then-Councilmember Chuck Reed voted for it.


• • • • •


June 19th


The ageless adage "Virtue has no reward" surely applies to the current relationship between the City of San Jose and its past, present and future employees.

San Jose had been recognized by all levels of review, be they public or private, for its outstanding position as an All American City for many years. It was an ideal place to live, raise your children and be employed in the many facets of historical and progressive industries. Unfortunately, it appears to have lost its way, primarily attributable to the narrow and selfish standards established by the majority of the City's elected officials. Placing the blame on its employees for the current shortfall in adequate funding is without fact.

I was personally involved for many years as the SJPOA President as well as the elected Police Trustee with the delegated responsibility of administering the Police and Fire Retirement Fund.

Never during any negotiations was the City forced to accept any or all of the individually negotiated items. After many hours of arduous negotiations between representatives from both sides, a tentative agreement was presented to the City Council to be accepted or denied.

The recent tone of explanation which comes forth from the current Mayor's Office would make one believe they had no choice, which is entirely without basis and brings up the issue of Binding Arbitration.

Police and Fire Department employees had no alternative but to place the issue of Binding Arbitration on the ballot in 1979 because responsible negotiations were left wanting between the City and the two employee groups. Its implementation did not see the employee groups seeking resolution through that process. We immediately determined that the best use of Binding Arbitration was to use it seldom, or not at all.

City leadership soon saw that to not agree would force the labor groups to use Binding Arbitration, and then blame any loss of the contentious issue(s) on the arbitrator, not on the City representatives. This approach ultimately resulted in Measure W on last year's ballot, which resulted in the erosion of responsible provisions written into the original Binding Arbitration measure.

In all of the dialog over the past two years nothing has been mentioned about the management of the fund before the City adopted the Cortex provisions for restructuring the Trustee Managers. It has never been mentioned that the Police and Fire Retirement Fund had attained recognition over several years by the system's actuaries for being 100 percent funded. This meant that there were sufficient funds to pay off all obligations to those who were retired and those still employed. The management of the fund at that time was headed by a classified City employee who had been originally hired as an analyst, but eventually worked his way to the top. His professional reputation was known country-wide, and he was certainly not nearly as controversial as the most recent Retirement Services Director.

Investment managers from around the country actively competed to be selected as a San Jose Fund Manager because of the credible, responsible and professional manner in which the fund was managed.

The world's financial downturn over the past several years is clearly responsible for the shortfall of adequate funds to pay for the benefits which had been negotiated and agreed to by all parties involved.

A much greater effort should have been taken by the Mayor's Office in seeking various methods of addressing the legally obtained retirement benefits and compensation. It would appear obvious that the San Jose Mayor was taking a destructive course as no other local governmental agency replicated his position or direction. Even San Francisco, while being led by an appointed Mayor at the time, was able to address his city's financial concerns without it being castigated in their local newspaper.

San Jose's most obvious mistake which showed a lack of decision-making principles was the decision to take Binding Arbitration and the reduction of retirement benefits to the voters via a public ballot. This approach will surely tie the hands of all future City Administrators and elected officials. I can well imagine the screaming from the Mayor's office if a predecessor City Council had performed so inadequately and he would not have been able to seek his own solution. I feel that most future leaders will likely be a little smarter and be able to resolve municipal problems in a more constructive manner.

San Jose has had numerous downsides over the years made by previous administrators and elected officials, such as the loss of 60 million dollars in 1984. The panic resolution was seeing the bonds held at that time being sold at discount. If they had been held for 6 more months there would have been significant appreciation.

Another questionable decision was the construction of the dysfunctionally designed new downtown City Hall, especially when you consider that the glass dome designed for the top of the building now sits in the City Hall ground level area, and that it is periodically cleaned by a $500,000 mechanical window washer.

There are many other examples of questionable decision-making by elected officials and administrators, but the point has been made that we are all participants in good and questionable decisions, and finger pointing is an irresponsible approach in any management style.

Those who say local labor groups have favorite elected officials whom they consider empathetic to their issues is historically untrue. This is so far from the truth as the City labor groups were one of the largest backers of term limits for the City's elected officials. City labor groups also supported a strong mayor position on the city council. I guess we can probably regret that endorsement now as we are reaping the returns on that successful issue.

It was brought to the attention of the Mayor, City Manager and all Council persons on what the fallout would be if they continued on the road to a passed ballot measure resulting in the reduction of compensation and benefits for City employees. They paid no heed as if all persons affected would continue to support their little thought through proposal. San Jose has always been able to provide the necessary services to its residents because the employees were committed to the City and its needs.

The San Jose Police Dept. never attained more than a 1.6 police officers per one thousand population ratio in its history. That was when the sworn staff numbered close to 1500 officers. And that was for a city of 1 million residents within a city boundary of 180 square miles. San Francisco has a ratio of 2.5 officers per thousand population amounting to 2000 police officers for a city population of 750,000 residents within a city boundary of 35 square miles.

There is no doubt about the inevitable outcome. Burglaries are on the increase with little to no follow-up because the Dept.has been decimated. The Vice Unit has been disbanded, so those crimes will certainly increase as the predators of society become more active when they know they can go undetected. Blaming the card clubs for any increase in vice-type crimes isn't going to work this time as the purveyors of vice can now operate in all sections of the city. Gang-related murders are increasing. Graffiti is rampant in all areas of the City, reflecting a deteriorating lifestyle of the residents.

When the Mayor decides to supplement the reduced police staff, where is he going to find the level of recruit the residents want and need? It will take decades to replace the lost experience and quality of the police officers the City has enjoyed since 1849. Training costs will quickly reduce any perceived savings as the benefits and compensation are now inadequate in this area of very expensive living standards, and those hired will surely be looking for a more positive environment once they have been appropriately trained. Look at what is occurring today: Many well trained officers are being solicited to join the ranks of other well functioning police agencies that will quickly benefit from the savings of hiring experienced San Jose police officers as laterals. Police Training in the state is the function of the California Commission on Police Officer Standards and Training, which results in statewide training standards so any POST-trained officer possesses a certificate recognized by any police agency in California.

In conclusion, I wish to address the primary issue which resulted in the deterioration of the standards by which a well functioning City is evaluated: I believe the issue of addressing the cost associated with current retirement compensation is appropriate as we have all experienced the result of a declining economy and its broad affects. A more responsible collective approach in attempting to determine a resolution acceptable to all should have been attempted by the elected and appointed leaders of the City. More effort should have been expended in communicating with its employees and less effort exerted in maintaining a continual dialogue with the local media. It is obvious that the City has been and continues to be far more interested in using the media to support its actions, whereas City employees are and have always been more concerned with the welfare of the citizens they serve.

More common sense on the part of the decision makers would have served everyone with a more positive result.
Carm J. Grande (Ret.)



Mike Thompson sent us a link to a San Francisco Chronicle article about the dust-up between the Oakland PD and the Occupy protesters last October. This was the first paragraph of the June 15th article:

Report: Oakland Cops were ill-prepared for Occupy

The Oakland Police Department was understaffed and insufficiently prepared last fall to confront Occupy Oakland protesters who tried to reoccupy the City Hall camp that officers had cleared that morning, according to a report commissioned by the city.

The full article can be viewed by clicking on this link...

In his email, Mike speculated, but couldn't confirm, that the "Frazier Group" mentioned throughout the article that prepared the report commissioned by Oakland, and former SJPD Dep. Chief Tom Frazier who took over the reins of the Baltimore (MD) Police Dept. after he left the SJPD, were one in the same. A quick search using Google showed that they were. This is a screen grab photo of Tom's website. To view it full size, click on the link under the image.




Once in a while — fortunately a long, long while — a story like this pops up in the paper. Today's local section included the following...

Ex-San Jose Officer Given House Arrest in Sex Case with Teens

By Eric Kurhi
Mercury News — June 21, 2012

A former San Jose officer was sentenced Wednesday to eight months of home arrest, three years of probation and a lifetime of being registered a sex offender after being convicted of sex acts with two teenage boys.

Patrick D'Arrigo, 44, faced a maximum sentence of three years and eight months in prison for two counts stemming from sexual encounters with a 15-year-old and a 17-year-old at his Gilroy home in 2008.

Stuart Scott, the Santa Clara County deputy district attorney who prosecuted the case, said he "argued very aggressively for significant incarceration." He said that while he would have liked to see D'Arrigo locked up, Superior Court Judge Kenneth Shapero "gave a very well thought out, articulated explanation" of why he was not handing out jail time that involved "balancing the totality of the circumstances."

"Ultimately it's the discretion of the court, and I'm certainly not going to question his authority," he said. "We just disagree."

Scott said that though the acts were consensual, jail time is in order because of D'Arrigo's standing as a police officer.

"This is a guy who is different than other defendants, unlike someone who has no obligations, he put on a uniform, raised his right hand and swore an oath to protect and defend," he said. "He needs to be held to a higher standard, and that involves significant incarceration."

San Jose police officer Patrick D'Arrigo leaves
a Santa Clara County courthouse after his
arraignment in San Jose, Calif., Friday,
Sept. 2, 2011. (AP File Photo/Paul Sakuma)

However, Scott said that D'Arrigo has already suffered "great penalties," as he has lost his job, lost his pension and will have to register as a sex offender his entire life.

D'Arrigo's attorney Brian Madden said late Wednesday that his client took responsibility for his actions and regrets them very deeply. He added that a report from a psychologist, a probation report and the judge all agreed that he is at low risk of reoffending.

"On the facts of this case, the court's sentence was completely justified and appropriate," he said.

According to grand jury transcripts, the teens testified that they had met the longtime campus officer at Leland High School in 2008 when D'Arrigo responded to a "Men Seeking Men" ad placed on Craigslist.

The record states that he partied with a group of teens at his Gilroy home, watching movies and giving them rum and sodas. He then engaged in sexual acts with two of them, and according to the transcripts, later gave the boys gift cards.

In March, D'Arrigo pleaded no contest to one count of lewd and lascivious acts on a minor age 14 or 15 and one count of oral copulation with a minor.

D'Arrigo was placed on administrative leave in August after his arrest and resigned from the police department in February.

Contact Eric Kurhi at 408-920-5852.



It's not easy navigating through the paper's website to find the salary data base for all City of San Jose employees and retirees, but we found it. And it's there for any member of the public with basic computer skils who wants to see what you are drawing each month. But be patient if you decide to pull up the data base as it may take a few moments to load...





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

New Articles

• Photograph purportedly shows sharks at the bottom of an escalator after the collapse of a shark tank.

• Did a truck stop in Bogalusa, Louisiana, refuse service to a National Guard member in uniform?

• Does Monsanto-developed corn contain toxins that protect against insects and are harmful to humans?

• Did Microsoft founder Bill Gates create a list of 'Rules Kids Won't Learn in School'?

• Should an American flag be burned once it has touched the ground?

• Video purportedly shows a levitating car developed by Volkswagen in China.

• Does eating gum thrown on the ground cause birds to die?

• Did Oscar Wilde say that "it's very healthy to spend time alone"?

• Did Clint Eastwood narrate an anti-Obama 'Halftime in America' television spot?

• Warning that kiwi fruit from China contains dangerous growth hormones.

• Photographs purportedly show the aftermath of a car fire caused by a GPS device.

• Don't forget to visit our Daily Snopes page for a collection of odd news stories from around the world!

Worth a Second Look

• Are there libraries sinking into the ground because architects failed to account for the weight of the books?

Still Haunting the Inbox

• Check out our 25 Hottest Urban Legends list to keep abreast of what's circulating in the on-line world.

Fraud Afoot

• Visit our Top Scams page for a list of schemes commonly used by crooks to separate the unwary from their money.



Remember to click on the "Large Player" icon on the YouTube control panel in the lower right-hand corner of the video when you watch the first clip. If you do, all other YouTube videos should default to the same setting throughout the rest of your session at the computer. If your Internet connection is fast enough, you can click on the Full Screen icon instead.

• • • • •

Remember how we used to make model airplanes out of balsa wood and glue? Have a look at how the hobby has evolved. (6 Mins.)


• • • • •

Bruce Morton says the story of his life can be summed up in this clip from Norway that runs less than a minute. (35 Secs.)


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Can this iPhone app (brought to our attention by Bill Leavy) have practical uses beyond recording and reporting on the activities of New York City cops? (2 Mins.)


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This clip of a Russian amusement park ride received from Bert Kelsey is described as being "incredibly scary." Hogwash. Seems to us that it would only be scary if the people standing on both sides of you pigged out the Russian equivalent of beans and tortillas prior to getting on the ride. (3 Mins.)


• • • • •


The Power of a Badge

A group of DEA officers stopped at a ranch in Texas and approached an old rancher. The supervising agent said, "We need to inspect your ranch for illegally grown drugs," he said.

The rancher replied, "Okay, but don't go in that field over there," as he pointed to the field in question.

The supervising agent verbally exploded and said, "Mister, I have the authority of the Federal Government with me!" Pointing to the badge clipped to his belt, he said, "See this freakin' badge? It  means I can go anywhere I wish. On any land! No questions asked or answers given! Have I made myself clear? Do you understand me?

The rancher nodded politely, apologized, and went about his chores.

A short time later, the old rancher heard loud screams. He looked up and saw the supervising agent being chased by a big Santa Gertrudis bull. The agent was literally running for his life.

The huge bull was gaining ground on the terrified agent with every step, and it appeared that he would be trampled or gored before he reached safety.

The rancher threw down his tools, ran to the fence and yelled at the top of his lungs, "Your badge. Show him your freakin' badge!"

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Did you know that it takes a week to make a major league baseball? True. The process is as complicated as it is interesting. Have a look. (5 Mins.)


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Are you a "hoonigan?"  If you are not sure what a hoonigan is, watch this clip sent in by Dirk Parsons. (2 Mins.)


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See how far you can work your way through these puns before your first groan. (Mine came after the third one.) The list is titled "Punography" and was sent in by Stan Miler.

• I changed my iPod name to Titanic. It's syncing now.

• When chemists die, they barium.

• Jokes about German sausage are the wurst.

• A soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.

• I know a guy who's addicted to brake fluid. He says he can stop any time.

• How does Moses make his tea? Hebrews it.

• I stayed up all night to see where the sun went. Than it dawned on me.

• This girl said she recognized me from the vegetarian club, but I'd never met herbivore.

• I'm reading a book about anti-gravity and can't put it down.

• I starred in a theatrical performance about puns. It was a play on words.

• They told me I had type A blood, but it was a Type-O.

• Then there's the story about the dyslexic man who walked into a bra.

• PMS jokes aren't funny, period.

• So why were the Indians here first? They had reservations.

• I didn't pay much attention when my class took a trip to the Coca-Cola factory. Sure hope there's no pop quiz .

• Newsflash: The Energizer Bunny has been arrested and charged with battery.

• I didn't like my beard at first. Then it grew on me.

• How do you make holy water? You boil the hell out of it.

• Did you hear about the cross-eyed teacher who lost her job because she couldn't control her pupils?

• When you get a bladder infection urine trouble.

• What does a clock do when it's hungry? It goes back four seconds.

• I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger and bigger. Then it hit me!

• Broken pencils are pointless.

• I tried to catch some fog, but I mist.

• What do you call a dinosaur with an extensive vocabulary? A thesaurus.

• England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool.

• I used to be a banker, but then I lost interest.

• I dropped out of communism class because of lousy Marx.

• All the toilets in New York's police stations have been stolen. Police have nothing to go on.

• I got a job at a bakery because I kneaded dough.

• Haunted French pancakes give me the crepes.

• Velcro. What a rip off.

• Police report that a cartoonist was found dead in his home. Details are sketchy.

• Venison for dinner? Oh deer.

• The earthquake in Washington, D.C. was obviously government's fault.

• I used to think I was indecisive. Now I'm not so sure .

• Be kind to your dentist. He has fillings, too.

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Pic of the Week

How many of you guys recall the day in 1969 when the TAC Squad was
called out after the  SJPD received a report of a feral cat on the loose?


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