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The Farsider

September 4, 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.


 

PENSION NEWS

Nada



POA UPDATES



Aug. 29th

Our Department is in the news, again. Click here to read the Mercury News' story on our Chief's decision to return the recently acquired Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle (MRAP). (Ed. — The story appears in the Trials & Tribulations column below.)

The story's first sentence pretty much sums up the event."Amid a national furor over police militarization, the San Jose Police Department has decided to get rid of a 15-ton armored vehicle it received earlier this year from a federal military surplus program."

The story went on to say, "In San Jose, the MRAP, designed to withstand improvised explosive devices used against U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, has been in an undisclosed storage garage in the city. It was being outfitted for street use when police brass -- already facing criticism for their recent purchase of a drone -- decided it wasn't worth the potential damage to the department's image and community relationships."

Our Department spokeswoman, Sgt. Heather Randol, very succinctly explained our Department's need for the vehicle."It was acquired to provide protection to our bomb unit members. We are the regional bomb facility. We are a resource in the county and statewide."

The Chief sent out an email explaining his decision to return the vehicle. Click
HERE to see the email.

"After obtaining the MRAP, physically inspecting it, gaining input from various stakeholders, understanding the community perceptions of such a vehicle, evaluating the infrequency of potential use of such a vehicle, the option that other law enforcement agencies have obtained like vehicles and the fact that the SJPD could potentially utilize similar equipment from other law enforcement agencies, we have reconsidered our position on actually having an MRAP. We will be decommissioning the MRAP from our fleet and will be returning it to the Defense Logistical Agency."

Interestingly, Redwood City also obtained a similar vehicle. Their Mayor, Jeff Gee, was questioned by a citizen about the militarization issue and the Mayor defended his City's possession of such equipment. Click
HERE to see the email (it's worth the read).

"We live in an increasingly more complex world than ever before. The Active Shooter exercise at Roosevelt School this past summer, was a stark reminder about the potential realities we face everywhere.   This exercise was to prepare our public safety organizations to respond in the event of a shooter on one of our school campuses - an all too real situation given the events seen across our country."

"I hope and pray that we never have to see this vehicle deployed. However, if the violence of the world reaches Redwood City, I want our public safety organizations to have the tools that they feel they need to protect lives."

Is it any wonder why our Department has lost so many of its officers to Redwood City? We applaud Mayor Gee's strong support of his public safety personnel.

Click
HERE to watch this video of a modern day gunfight with police.

Jim Unland <president@sjpoa.com>
John Robb
<vicepresident@sjpoa.com>

• • • • •
 



Aug 30th

The Stakes are Huge

Raul Peralez needs your help and without it San Jose will be stuck with Don Gagliardi, who wrote the ballot argument in support of Measure B.  Here is a link to contribute to fellow police officer Peralez's City Council campaign.

Raul finished 1st in the June primary.  His opponent, Don Gagliardi is supported by Sam Liccardo, Chuck Reed, and the Mercury News.  Raul has received the endorsement of two of those three candidates who also ran in the June primary, with the third, Kathy Sutherland, remaining neutral in the race.  

Raul has picked up numerous new endorsements since his primary win including several who had endorsed Kathy Sutherland.  Here is a partial list of those who have endorsed Raul since the primary:

State Senator Jim Beall
State Senator Jerry Hill
Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski
Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez
Santa Clara County Supervisor Ken Yeager
Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith
Cupertino Mayor Gilbert Wong
Campbell City Councilmember Evan Low
Mountain View City Councilmember Margaret Abe-Koga
Former State Assemblymember Joe Coto
Former Milpitas Mayor Bob Livengood
League of Conservation Voters of Santa Clara County
Sierra Club, Loma Prieta Chapter

In addition, these elected officials and organizations endorsed Kathy Sutherland in June and now have switched their endorsement to Raul Peralez:

San José City Councilmember Donald Rocha
Margaret Abe-Koga, Councilmember City of Mountain View
Dr. Jeffrey Lease, San Jose-Evergreen Community College Trustee
Roma Dawson, City of San José Arts Commission
Former San José City Councilmember Nancy Pyle
DAWN - Democratic Activists for Women Now
Silicon Valley Asian Pacific American Democratic Club
Silicon Valley Democratic Club

Raul will face a relentless attack from Gagliardi and his supporters and Raul will need the resources to fight back.  Make a contribution now of $25, $50, $100 or more to help turn San Jose in a New Direction.  Go to this link and help your colleague now.

DONATE HERE

 Here are the two notable endorsements Raul's opponent has picked up since coming in second place in the June primary:

San Jose Councilmember Sam Liccardo
Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen

Don't let a Liccardo/Rosen friendly lawyer take this seat.  Raul can win but he needs our support.  Please make a contribution now, you must act or one of the architects of Measure B, one of the signors of the ballot argument that has destroyed our Department will be the next Councilmember representing downtown San Jose.  You can't afford that risk.

Jim Unland <president@sjpoa.com>
John Robb
<vicepresident@sjpoa.com>


 

THE TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS OF THE CITY AND SJPD

It would be difficult to accuse the Mercury news of being subtle in drawing attention to this Aug. 29th story about the so-called militarization of municipal police departments in general and the SJPD in particular.

The Redwood City Police Department debuted its new armored vehicle, identical to the one San Jose police are returning to the military, at the city’s Fourth of July parade. Redwood City police plan to keep theirs.

By Robert Salonga <rsalonga@mercurynews.com>
Mercury News — Aug. 29, 2014

SAN JOSE — Amid a national furor over police militarization, the San Jose Police Department has decided to get rid of a 15-ton armored vehicle it received earlier this year from a federal military surplus program.

San Jose’s move comes right on the heels of similar plans by the city of Davis to jettison its mine-resistant, ambush-protected troop transport, or MRAP. Among the handful of other Bay Area agencies that own the hulking transports, Redwood City, South San Francisco and Antioch are standing by them.

In San Jose, the MRAP, designed to withstand improvised explosive devices used against U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, has been in an undisclosed storage garage in the city. It was being outfitted for street use when police brass — already facing criticism for their recent purchase of a drone — decided it wasn’t worth the potential damage to the department’s image and community relationships.

San Jose police spokeswoman Sgt. Heather Randol said internal department conversations about forfeiting the MRAP were already happening before the vehicles gained wide notoriety during the civil unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, where local police deployed them for crowd control and sparked a national conversation over their use on American streets.

“We’ve been going through the analysis process,” Randol said. “It is a useful tool, but we realize it could be viewed by the community as the militarization of SJPD. It could create a divide, and we want the community’s trust.”

The decision to give back the vehicle is the second such move in Northern California this week: Tuesday night, the Davis City Council ordered their police chief to get rid of his department’s MRAP.

“Symbol matters. We are a species that uses symbol, and this symbolizes the most destructive force on the planet, which is the U.S. military,” Mayor Pro Tem Robb Davis said at the Davis council meeting.

He added that “this piece of equipment, because of its powerful symbolism, will hurt” trust between police and residents.

Several agencies in the Bay Area have some form of armored transport, but only a handful have an MRAP, with San Jose the only Santa Clara County city to have one. The vehicle, standing about 10 feet tall, dwarfs most fortified vehicles used by police, such as the more commonly used Bearcat.

In addition to its size, the MRAP is designed to withstand the kinds of roadside bombs that killed scores of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. San Jose got the half-million dollar vehicle, manufactured by BEA Systems and known as a Caiman, for free through the Pentagon’s 1033 program, which donates surplus equipment to law-enforcement agencies.

“It was acquired to provide protection to our bomb unit members,” Randol said. “We are the regional bomb facility. We are a resource in the county and statewide.”

Micaela Davis, an attorney with the ACLU of Northern California, credited police leaders for the decision but took issue with how it came and went with little public oversight, echoing protests from the organization over the department’s acquisition, also earlier this year, of an unmanned aerial vehicle that is currently shelved pending the formation of a use policy and community input.

“The department should be commended for responding to concerns,” Davis said of San Jose. “But it brings up questions about whether it was needed in the first place. It’s why public hearings should be required on the front end.”

The pending return of the MRAP is unpopular with much of the rank and file at SJPD, who are backed by Sgt. Jim Unland, president of the San Jose Police Officers’ Association.

“This was politically expedient. I don’t know why you wouldn’t want the best equipment for your officers,” he said. “You can’t predict the hazards and dangers that will come in 10 or 20 years.”

He noted the integration of military equipment in police work is long-standing.

“Helicopters were primarily a military vehicle. So are AR’s (rifles), and so are the tactical vests and helmets we wear,” Unland said. “Those come from military usage, have been incorporated in law enforcement, and save lives. If there are issues of trust with the community, explain the use, and create a firm policy of when we can use it and when we can’t.”

But LaDoris Cordell, the city’s Independent Police Auditor and a retired judge, said community trust in police is threatened by the show of might that such an armored vehicle projects.

“SJPD, if it is to continue its efforts to build trust with the communities it serves, must not go down the path of militarization,” she said.

In Redwood City, spokesman Malcolm Smith said police leaders are keeping those sensitivities in mind as they write guidelines for the transport’s use, though it has already been rolled out for a major event — the city’s Fourth of July celebration.

South San Francisco says its MRAP has already come in handy.

“It has a horrible public perception, but in reality, this is designed just to protect the occupants,” said Lt. Michael Remedios, SWAT commander for the South San Francisco Police Department.

 

Officer Matt O’Connor sits inside the Navistar Maxx Pro used
by South San Francisco police. Like many police departments
across the United States, the South San Francisco Police
Department has acquired an armored military vehicle. The
tactical vehicles have caused an uproar in many communities.

Remedios said the vehicle can bring police and emergency personnel closer to a hostile scene to give immediate help to victims without waiting for an area to be secured. He also highlighted its ability to traverse broken streets and downed power lines after a disaster.

He also contended that the imposing nature of the vehicle can prevent violence. On three occasions since his department got the MRAP in October, South San Francisco police used it to serve high-risk search warrants.

“It looks intimidating,” Remedios said. “If we roll out to an armed-and-dangerous person’s house, they’re less likely to engage police officers.”
 

• • • • •
 

Don't let it be said that Macris and Mattos didn't try to warn the Police Administration about upcoming controversies regarding the militarization of equipment and drone surveillance when these two Cops-a-Field cartoons appeared in the SJPD Insider thirty years ago in the mid 1980s.

  

MAIL CALL

We queried our in-house NFL referee about his opening schedule this week and received this reply…



Aug. 31st

Hi Bill,

My opening game is New Orleans at Atlanta on Sept 7 at 10:00 a.m., which will be televised in the Bay Area on Fox.

I have a bye week in week 2, after which I will work the Baltimore at Cleveland game on Sunday, Sept 21.

On Sunday, Sept. 28th, my crew and I will be in London to work the Miami and Oakland game.

Will update you when I learn more.

Bill (Leavy)
<mwc127@earthlink.net>

• • • • • 
 

Sept. 3rd

Bill,

Not sure if you have seen this before, but with a son and two nephews in the military, and with everything going on the world right now, I found it moving and relevant.

Steve D'Arcy
<sdarcy@csus.edu>

Clicking
HERE will take you to the 3-minute video Steve sent in. The mantra "We Must Fight" certainly seems pertinent given what's going on with ISIS.

 

• • • • •


Readers of the Mercury News are expressing their views about the SJPD in letters to the editor. Here are three that appeared this week. (One is from the daughter of a deceased San Jose officer: either Art or Dan Campos).

Paramilitary Behaviors by Police Heighten Fear

Letter to the Editor
Mercury News — Aug. 31, 2014

Although the San Jose Police Officers Association and the rank and file find the return of the MRAP (mine-resistant, ambush-protected troop transport) unpopular (Page 1A, Aug. 29), the rights of the people to a transparent government and a law enforcement agency that serves the public good is critical today. We cannot allow police officers’ fear of the public to reach such an extreme that they are focused more on self-protection than public service. To do so will place this community in peril of establishing paramilitary response to the people as they exercise their constitutional rights.

People of color and the mentally disabled already experience this treatment as “ experiments” in escalated police responses that too often result in unjustified police violence and civilian deaths. Too many local communities already fear the police, with justification. And the rest of the community should realize unchecked police fears resulting in their adopting paramilitary behaviors creates the real potential to expand and escalate community unrest and loss of life.

Delorme McKee-Stovall, San Jose

~ ~ ~
 

Liccardo Will Move San Jose Forward

Letter to the Editor
Mercury News — Sept. 1, 2014

Pete Campbell’s and Carm Grande’s statements (Letters, Aug. 25) offer no solution and seem to perpetuate a negative campaign. My late father was a San Jose policeman. I have always believed all law enforcement deserve the best.

My husband is a member of Local 405 and his union has done much to provide for members. Carm, Sam Liccardo is not forming a new SJPD. Reform was needed, and with a better economy, no one more than Sam wants to reattain the department’s glory. Pete, because Dave Cortese is supported by the union does not make him unworthy of a vote.

Both are good men in public service, doing something most of us won’t, run for public office. I support Sam Liccardo and volunteer. I believe he will move San Jose forward. Go to,
www.samliccardo.com. Read it and vote for him Nov. 4.

Rebecca Campos, Campbell

~ ~ ~
 

Decision to Return Military Vehicle Wise

Letter to the Editor
Mercury News — Sept. 3, 2014

The administration of the San Jose Police Department should be commended for their bold and courageous decision to return the MRAP vehicle.

I believe that law and order begins by maintaining order. The interrelationships between law enforcement officers and the public they serve are major factors in this regard. Disappointment of the “rank and file” is perhaps understandable in view of the “macho image” such impressive military equipment affords. However, the reasoning of the San Jose Police Officers Association, that an MRAP is somehow equivalent to helicopters, assault rifles, helmets and vests, is a specious argument (SJPD would not be permitted the use of bazookas and RPGs). If an MRAP is an appropriate response in a civil action, I would much prefer the deployment of the National Guard, whose discipline, control and military authority are well established. I am proud that the SJPD values community advocacy over antagonism.

Henry Richards, Los Gatos


 

THE LATEST BILLY & SPANNER IS NOW AVAILABLE ON-LINE
 



Click HERE to download it to your desktop.


 

NEW VANGUARD IS ALSO ON-LINE



Hard copies are in the mail and will arrive shortly.
To view the Sept. edition of the eVanguard on-line, click
HERE.

  
 

NEW SJPD HISTORY BOOK TO BE AVAILABLE ON MONDAY, SEPT. 22nd

John Carr Jr. and Jarrod Nunes — both sons of retired San Jose cops — have put together an excellent book that details the history of the SJPD. This is the third such publication in the past 31 years. The first was the SJPD Commemorative Album that was published in 1983. It was followed 20 years later by a second similar book: "San Jose Police Department 1849-2003: A History of Excellence." This third book provides a more comprehensive and updated history of the Dept. from 1849 through the present. We had the opportunity to review its content before it went to press and can highly recommend its purchase for anyone who has worn the SJPD badge. If you don't buy a copy for yourself, get one for your kids and their offspring.

All sales will benefit the SJPD Historical Society. It will go on sale on Monday, Sept. 22nd, and be available at most book stores as well as on-line at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other on-line book sellers. You can also shave 5 percent off the $21.95 cost by purchasing the book at the POA Office when it becomes available in a couple of weeks.

 

CORTESE FOR MAYOR FUNDRAISER


 

ANNOUNCING CRIA's ANNUAL GOLF TOURNAMENT

—Northern California Robbery Investigators' Association—


 

CAN BUYING HOOTCH AFTER HOURS QUALIFY AS A SECOND STRIKE?

It pains us to air SJPD's dirty laundry, but news is news, and there is no reason we can see why those of you who live out of the area and are unaware of this story should escape the embarrassment of acknowledging that a "bad apple" has fallen from the tree. In addition to a rape charge, the officer has now been charged with buying a bottle of vodka after 2 a.m. It's such a heinous crime that it made the front page of the Local Section of yesterday's Mercury News and was covered by the four major TV news outlets on Wednesday night.

Officer in Rape Case Faces New Charge

—Cop is arraigned in illegal after-hours purchase of booze—

By Tracey Kaplan <tkaplan@mercurynews.com>
Mercury News — Sept. 3, 2014

SAN JOSE — The San Jose police officer accused of rape was charged Tuesday with a new crime — storming out of the Gilroy Safeway with a bottle of vodka about 2:30 a.m. in violation of a state law that bans the sale or purchase of alcohol between 2 and 6 a.m. Officer Geoffrey Graves faces one misdemeanor count of violating that law, but he was not charged with theft because a grocery store cashier said he left $20 at the check stand, apparently enough to cover the cost. The incident occurred May 25, though it did not surface publicly until Tuesday when Graves was arraigned.

The new charge comes while Graves is free on $100,000 bail and on paid administrative leave for the Sept. 22 alleged rape of an undocumented woman he first encountered during a disturbance call. He faces up to eight years in prison if he is convicted. However, experts say prosecutors could add a gun enhancement because he was armed at the time of the alleged sexual assault, potentially extending his maximum sentence to life in prison. The Safeway incident was captured by the store’s surveillance cameras, law enforcement sources said.

A customer is seen approaching the check stand with a bottle of liquor about 2:30 a.m., talking briefly to a cashier, throwing down some money and stalking out. In an interview with police, the cashier said he told the customer he couldn’t sell him the alcohol. It is not uncommon for such incidents to be knocked down to an infraction punishable by a fine. But if Graves’ rape case goes to trial, the prosecution may be able to introduce the matter as character evidence — in particular, of his alleged disdain for the law. Graves, who did not enter a plea Tuesday, is due back in court Oct. 16 on the alcohol charge. His preliminary hearing on the rape charge is set for Oct. 1 but may be continued until later this year.

 

THE BEST OF THE LATE NITE JOKES
     
Aug. 26th through Sept. 2nd

How about the Emmy Awards last night? Almost every show on TV was nominated for an Emmy, and once again I'd just like to say it's an honor to be ignored by your peers.

Did the Emmy Awards seem like a long show? I felt like Sophia Vergara's dress. I could hardly stay up.

President Obama watched the Emmys and said the U.S. would be out of the Emmys by 2017.

Over the weekend in California — a big one, a 6.0 earthquake. It was so powerful that Lindsey Lohan was driving on the right side of the road.

You can now buy a pack of beer containing 99 cans. A 99-can pack of beer. Who says America has lost its competitive edge?

In Washington state you can now smoke weed. But they have something I've never heard of. It's weed soda. It is the opposite of diet soda, if you think about it. A minute ago I was just thirsty. Now I'm starving. Weed soda!

Burger King is moving to Canada. they bought the doughnut place, Tim Horton's. Financed by Warren Buffett, burger king will be moving to Canada to avoid paying taxes. Hearing about it, president Obama immediately took away Buffett's medal of freedom.

It's Labor Day weekend. Labor Day, of course, is a holiday where people take three days off from being unemployed.

It's Labor Day weekend — time to put up your Christmas decorations.

Chinese authorities have seized 30,000 tons of what? Chicken feet. Because they're tainted. Well, there goes my cookout.

Is there really a difference between tainted chicken feet and non-tainted chicken feet? It's negligible.

How many of you have kids heading off to college? Well, don't you worry, because that liberal arts degree, that thing is a license to print money.

What an awful day today. It's 90 and insufferable. No, wait a minute. That's me.

Here's how hot it is. I got on the subway this morning and I saw a rat eating a Dove Bar.

Dr. Phil is 64 years old today. People want to know what to get Dr. Phil. I say if you want to get him something, how about a medical degree?

Last night was the 66th annual Emmy Awards. An night of which all of television makes beautiful, sweet love to itself.

The Emmys are typically on Sunday night. But they moved them to Monday for the first time for 38 years. One reason is the VMAs were scheduled for Sunday night on MTV. For those of you too young to know, music videos are something MTV used to play before it turned into a network for pregnant teenagers.

The VMAs are a chance for all of the former Disney stars to show up with their new tongue piercings.

A rare copy of Action Comics No. 1, which was the first published appearance of Superman, just sold on eBay for $3.2 million. That's a lot of disposable income. To buy a comic about Superman, you have to be as rich as Batman. I think that means Superman wins, right?

Apple is secretly developing a new product rumored to be the largest iPad they've ever made. It's said to be 12.9 inches across, and it will be the first iPad that folds out into a full-size bed.

I just spent a lot of money getting the small iPad and now there's a big iPad I'm also going to get. They come with a pre-shattered screen for that cool, broken-in look.

An iPad that's 12.9 inches — it doesn't sound big, but it is big. And it's going to make those people that take pictures with their iPad look even more ridiculous.

According to a report from the United Nations, the damage from global warming could be irreversible. It's clear we need to do something. We need to give the Earth the ice bucket challenge.

You know, it's hard to believe. But it's almost time for a new season of "Dancing with the Stars." According to TMZ, the producers have a dream list. I have my dream for the next "Dancing with the stars." His name is Rob Ford, Toronto mayor.

If Rob Ford doesn't win re-election, I'm going to try to book him to perform at our office holiday party.

According to an anthropologist from the University of Hawaii, who spent years studying this, Hello Kitty is not actually a cat. I hope the anthropologist was studying other stuff, too.

The anthropologist said she was preparing for a museum exhibit and according to the company that makes Hello Kitty, she is not a cat. She is a cartoon character. And a little girl. But not a cat. That makes as much sense as Hasbro announcing that Mr. Potato Head wasn't a potato.

Hello Kitty is a cat. I don't know why they would take that position. Maybe there's a translation issue.

I had a relaxing Labor Day weekend. It was a big weekend at the barbecue grill. I made Italian sausage with peppers and onions. And I ate and I ate. The object of Labor Day is to eat so much that I feel like I'm going into labor.

Nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence and other female stars were leaked online over the weekend. I think you can tell how good or bad a person you are based on how many seconds you wait to Google Jennifer Lawrence nude after hearing the news. Anything under 60, you're going to hell.

Early reports suggest that the culprits obtained photos by hacking into the Internet cloud through Apple's iPhone app. Apple is denying that. They're claiming hackers broke in by finding out email passwords. I think the CEO of Apple should be forced to apologize in the nude.

Next week they're expected to announce a new iPhone with a virtual wallet. Apple is believed to be partnering with American Express. The wallet would replace having to carry credit cards around. You can lose your naked pictures and all your money in one easy step.

Welcome to The Tonight Show. I'm your host, former iCloud user Jimmy Fallon.

Over the weekend a hacker got into Apple’s iCloud and leaked nude photos of a number of celebrities, including Jennifer Lawrence and Kim Kardashian. Jennifer wants to sue the hacker for damages, while Kim wants to pay the hacker for his trouble.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz has invited President Obama to play golf on the U.S.-Mexico border. Cruz thought it was a funny way to point out problems the president hasn't fixed yet. While Obama said, “So are we playing or not?”

A woman in Mexico claims that she turned 127 years old over the weekend. She says she’s still pretty happy, but worried that she's still single and almost in her 130s.

It's rumored that next week the new iPhone is going to come out. It's going to come with a larger screen, more memory, and it can leak celebrity photos twice as fast.

A spokesperson for Jennifer Lawrence, one of the people who had nude photos leaked, is calling her nude leaked photos a violation of privacy. Meanwhile Kim Kardashian is calling her nude leaked photos "stuff I was going to release next week."

The man who released the nude photos of celebrities is admitting he's on the run. However, he's been given asylum by a shadowy group known only as “guys.”

Over the weekend the White House chef married an MSNBC news anchor. Or as Fox News reported it, "Person who serves the president marries person who serves the president."

It's Labor Day. How do we celebrate? Immigrant working. It's the day we say "Thank you" to the typical American worker. So, "Gracias."

It's a big holiday today. President Obama spent the day golfing. Then he remembered it was a holiday.

The weather is changing in L.A. It is hot here. How hot is it? Just yesterday, the cloud started raining nude celebrities.

In case you haven't heard, there are nude celebrities all over the Internet. I never thought I'd see the day. Someone hacked "the cloud." The cloud is something I don't really understand. It's like whatever language Honey Boo Boo speaks.

I'm telling you, Hollywood hasn't been rocked like this since the great kale shortage.

Do you read People magazine? Neither do I. But they released exclusive pictures of Angelina Jolie's wedding dress. I don't know about you, but I find it refreshing that people still get excited about pictures of celebrities wearing clothes.

Justin Bieber was arrested and charged with assault after his vehicle hit a mini-van. On the plus side, it was the first hit he's had in a while.

Happy birthday to Keanu Reeves. He turned 50 years old today. He announced his next movie, "Bill and Ted's Excellent Prostate Exam."

In Los Angeles we got our first Dunkin' Donuts shop. I can think of one reason why Dunkin' Donuts might not be successful here. It's the people of Los Angeles. They'll say, "Do you have kale doughnuts?" "Is it organic?" "Were these doughnuts raised humanely?"

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie finally got married during a secret ceremony at a chateau in France. They said their vows surrounded by 100 of their closest children.

Today is Keanu Reeves’ 50th birthday. And it’s a good thing, too. Any lower than that and the bus explodes.

Reports say that several of the world’s leading kale farms are running out of seeds after the recent increase in demand for the vegetable. I guess they can’t grow it as fast as we can throw it in the garbage.

 

WEEKLY SNOPES URBAN LEGEND UPDATE AS OF AUG. 23, 2014

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

New Articles

• Facebook appeals calls for justice for a young girl
injured in a playground incident.

• Is notorious mom Casey Anthony
pregnant with twins?

• Rumor claims most of the $100 million raised from ALS '
Ice Bucket Challenge' donations won't go to ALS-related research and services.

• Has rapper
Tupac Shakur, thought to have been killed in 1996, come out of hiding?

• Brouhaha over Zara clothiers offering children's pajamas resembling
concentration camp uniforms.

• Does a video show a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup
infested with maggots?

• Are
undocumented immigrants allowed to fly on US airlines with no identification?

• Will McDonald's
Happy Meal boxes come with Ouija boards?

• Has a nail polish been developed that can detect the presence of
date rape drugs?

• Will AMC's
Breaking Bad be returning with new episodes?

• Does Starbucks'
Pumpkin Spice Latte contain dangerous toxins?

• Were a bevy of
tax increases quietly imposed upon Americans in July 2014 due to the Affordable Care Act?

• Has the CDC intentionally suppressed reports of
vaccine-related cases of autism from reaching the public?

• Did President Obama break precedent by
declining to attend the funeral of General Harold Greene and failing to send any administration officials to the ceremony?

• Does the use of cellular phones pose a danger of touching off
explosions at gas stations?

• Was
George Zimmerman arrested while visiting Ferguson, Missouri?

• Did the governor of Iowa charter a flight to summarily return
124 undocumented children to Honduras?

• Contrary to social media reports,
Sylvester Stallone has not been killed in a car accident in Australia.

• Was a man in Ireland killed by the bite of a deadly
redback spider?

• Photographs show
Muslims praying in the streets of New York City.

• 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 a bank once accept and cash a
check written on the side of a cow?


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.

 

THE LIGHTER SIDE & OTHER ODDS AND ENDS



Large or Full Screen recommended for YouTube videos.


• • • • •


Of all the Blue Angels videos we have included in the Farsider over the years, this one from Paul Salerno rates near the top of the chart. It was posted on YouTube just two weeks ago and takes you inside the cockpit with one of the Blues in the two-man F/A 18 Hornet. When you see the passenger show his pearly whites, it means he and the pilot are pulling several G's. Enjoy the
RIDE and try not to grit your own teeth. (4 Mins.)




• • • • •


We were very impressed with
THIS stunt by the Red Bull Sky Dive Team until we realized he was wearing a parachute. (3 Mins.)




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This recently posted video received from Steve Postier shows 15 rockets launched by Hamas being intercepted at once by the Iron Dome. That brings up a question we've been wondering about for some time: How can that little helmet worn by many of the men in Israel protect them from a rocket that manages to get through? Click
HERE. (2 Mins.)




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Want to see what a "demilitarized" police force can look like? Watch this Powerline Blog video sent in by Bill Leavy of Muslims in support of Hamas chasing British cops down the street as the protestors chant "Free, free Palestine." And keep in mind that the London cops have been dealing with this for some time as the video was first posted on YouTube in April 2010. Our NFL ref says Bill Brown would turn over in his grave if he was to see this, and we agree 100 percent. Click
HERE to view it. (10 Mins.)

 

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It's a man-on-man tug-of-war pitting Canada against the U.S. with the Canuck on the left in the dark green cammies. Place your bets on who wins, then click
HERE to see if you can collect your winnings or have to pay up. (3 Mins.)




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Speaking of tug-of-wars, see if you can
PICK the winner between a modified John Deere drag tractor and an 1800s era steam tractor. (4 Mins.)

 

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Did you know you can make a working gun from Lego blocks? True. You can also make magazines that hold plastic pellets that will allow you to fire the gun. Watch
THIS if we have piqued your interest. (2 Mins.)

There are several books available on Amazon that show you how to construct these and other guns. Clicking HERE should take you to the appropriate page.
 

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Are you familiar with the mystery of the "Slithering Rocks?" There is an area in Death Valley called Racetrack Playa that has puzzled visitors for hundreds of years. The area gets its name from the large flat stones that mysteriously ‘race’ around this barren dry lake bed. The rocks, some weighing as much as 600 pounds, slither across the ground leaving snake-like grooves in the hard, dry stone. Some of the trails left by the moving rocks are thousands of feet long. Well, it looks like the mystery of how they move has finally been solved. If you are interested, watch
THIS video.




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We found this excerpt from a
NOVA program of interest. It's a first-person account of what it's like to live in an underwater habitat for two weeks. Give it a look and you may finding it interesting as well. (4 Mins.)




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How can you tell this little tyke is going to grow up and be a man and not a woman? Answer: By how he
REACTS to a TV remote control. (2 Mins.)




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Have you ever heard of "Combat Juggling?" Neither have we, but it seems to draw a huge crowd. See if you can
FIGURE out how the combatants score a point. (9 Mins.)




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We have no doubt that this elephant will eventually master the art of ribbon twirling. Whether it can develop the
ABILITY to leap off the ground like the Olympic athlete below is another question. (Disregard the title of the clip; the poster apparently doesn't know the difference between a ribbon and a hula hoop.) (3 Mins.)




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Why is it that elephants get all the notoriety over their long memories? If I was a King of the Beast I might feel slighted. Check out
THIS short video received from Don Hale. (1 Min.)




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Here's another one of those irresistible duckling rescue
VIDEOS that will no doubt result in good karma for the rescuer, if not a seat next to St. Peter himself. (2 Mins.)




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Tired of playing with your cat or dog using a laser pointer? Here's a
SOLUTION: Tape it to your pet's head and let the critter play with itself. (1 Min.)



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Meet Igor, one of the luckiest dogs in the world.
WATCH what his owners did for him when they took a trip abroad and had to leave him home. (3 Mins.)




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If you've never seen a puppy that can catch a ball with its paws, watch
THIS clip and you'll be able to say you have. (1 Min.)




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All baseball fans should appreciate watching this 35-second clip, especially those who follow the Oakland A's. It's not every day you see a ball team turn a
TRIPLE play.




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Here's another excellent Go-Pro production. If the guy was on a motorcycle it would be called "canyon carving," although the same term may apply to jet skis. Does he risk bouncing off one of Lake Powell's canyon walls at high speed? You bet. HAVE a look. (2 Mins.)




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You may not want to watch this 18-second clip if you suffer from acrophobia (a fear of heights). Question: Are these three kids who posed for a selfie atop a Hong Kong skyscraper certifiably 51-50? You make the call. It makes us wonder how many wannabe YouTube stars have died or been seriously injured in an attempt to become an
INTERNET celebrity.




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We agree that the U.S. has lost (or is losing) its war on drugs, and that one of the reasons is a lack of public education. Perhaps it's time once again that the American public
FAMILIARIZE itself with Canada's anti-drug message in which spiders on drugs were used as an example of how destructive a doper's lifestyle can be. (2 Mins.)




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What kind of an act has amazed this judge on a Chinese talent show? It was a magical ballet performance. Click HERE to watch the video sent in by Alice Murphy and see if it amazes you, too. (5 Mins.)




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Think back to when you were a kid. Were you a hotshot with a yo-yo? Sure, you could "Walk the Dog," "Go Around the World," maybe even "Rock the Cradle." Compared to this six-year-old, however, you were a Zero. Watch
THIS. (4 Mins.)




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What happens when you attach a waterproof GoPro camera to the back of a dog that loves water?
THIS is what happens. (35 Secs.)




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If you are planning on hiring an outfit to help move your household furnishings, check out THESE guys. Dirk Parsons says they seem to know what they are doing. (1 Min.)

Dirk also suggests hiring this guy if all you want to do is load your bike in the back of a pick-up. THIS 15-second clip will show you why.

And last but not least, Dirk recommends you hire the guy in THIS clip who can balance a motorcycle on his head if you want to load it on top of a bus. (2 Mins.)




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Say what you want about the Amish, but they sure do know how to raise a barn. And they are fast, too.
WATCH them raise this barn in 3 minutes and 30 seconds.




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Behold the greatest invention yet from a man who was ahead of his time. Find that hard to believe? Watch
THIS clip. (2 Mins.)




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This week's Tip of the Week deals with soda cans that have been shaken. Here's a simple way to ensure that they don't spray when you pop the top. Have a
LOOK. (3 Mins.)




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John Wayne (1907-1979) made a number of short films during his life in which he expressed his love and admiration for America. We can recall presenting two of them here in the Farsider over the past half-dozen years or so, but this video sent in by Steve Postier is one we have not seen until now, even though it was posted on YouTube in 2010. Given the impact that Hollywood movie stars have on the American psyche, the
COUNTRY could sure use more like men like The Duke today. (3 Mins.)




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We thought we had kept up with all the popular flash mob videos over the past few years, but here's one we somehow overlooked. It took place in Copenhagen's central railroad station and was comprised of the Copenhagen Philharmonic playing Ravel's Bolero. (Think Bo Derek in "10," guys).
ENJOY. (5 Mins.)




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This final video is very profound and should be seen by every elderly person who has lost a friend and/or loved one. Seriously. It's about five men whose average age is 81. The short video is another one of those Asian public service videos sponsored by a Chinese corporation, in this case the TC Bank of Taiwan. Trust us, it will be WELL WORTH three minutes of your time.




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C'ya



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