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The Farsider

September 11, 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.


 

PBA MEETS NEXT WEDNESDAY

POA Hall
Bar opens at 5:00
Dinner at 6:00 or thereabouts


 

POA UPDATES



Sept. 10th

Click on the links below to watch the full reports.

San Jose Passes Security Camera Registry Program (ABC Channel 7 News)



Click HERE to view.

~ ~ ~

San Jose City Council OKs Video Surveillance (NBC Bay Area)



Click HERE to view.

 

PENSION NEWS

This editorial from today's paper is a wobbler in that it could fit this column or the Trials and Tribulations section that follows. We chose to insert it here because it brings up Measure B and urges mayoral candidate Sam Liccardo to continue his support of the pension issue. The editorial doubles as a thinly disguised campaign ad for Liccardo.

Police Hiring, Innovation Both Needed

Editorial — Mercury News — Sept. 11, 2014

It was refreshing to see unanimous approval Tuesday of San Jose City Councilman (and mayoral candidate) Sam Liccardo’s proposal to let residents with security cameras register them with police in case a crime occurs nearby and the video might help solve it.

Liccardo first suggested this in January after security cameras helped nab a serial arsonist who had terrorized a downtown neighborhood. The initial reaction was Big Brother blowback: People thought — and some may still think — it meant officers could just tap into the cameras any time. The registry just gives residents a place to voluntarily log camera locations so that officers know whom to ask about the possibility of video instead of having to canvas whole blocks. It makes sense even for a fully staffed department.

That long term practicality should be the litmus test for judging Liccardo’s public safety proposals.

A former Santa Clara County prosecutor, Liccardo is running on a platform of innovative crime fighting, from better use of data to allocate patrols to simple strategies like the camera registry.

City unions and others who support Liccardo’s opponent, Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese, dismiss this as a distraction from low police staffing levels they blame on Measure B, the 2012 pension reform measure that Liccardo supported.

Every public safety debate in San Jose today comes back to Measure B, which was an attempt to rein in mushrooming, unsustainable pension costs that had caused layoffs in even the police department. Much of the law is mired in litigation, and we believe the next mayor, whomever it is, will negotiate a settlement. One reason we recommend Liccardo for the job is that we trust him to do this without selling out the longterm financial interests of the city that the measure was intended to guard.

Taking advantage of security cameras and rebuilding the police force are not either-or propositions. Liccardo’s proposals can help the short-handed department in the interim, but they also can provide a basis for more efficient policing in the future.

The tension between the police union and the council majority over Measure B has made it far more difficult to rebuild the police force.

The union rejects even offers of no-strings-attached pay increases for things like bilingual ability that could help retain and recruit officers. It is holding out for an overall resolution of Measure B.

Liccardo dismisses the measure’s effects on current staffing, but there’s no question that it has led officers to resign and makes it difficult to recruit qualified replacements.

So a negotiated settlement next year is critical — but it has to be negotiated by an advocate for fiscal sustainability like Liccardo, not by the unions’ candidate.

And if, by the way, that advocate has common sense ideas for making law enforcement and crime prevention more efficient, so much the better.

 


THE TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS OF THE CITY AND SJPD

This story from last Friday's paper stemmed from a press release issued by the POA a few hours after we went to press with last week's Farsider. It doesn't bode well for bringing the SJPD up to strength anytime soon. What makes this story as interesting as the article itself are the nearly 200 readers' responses. To read their comments, click HERE, then scroll down to the bottom of the story.

Another Small Cop Academy

—Second straight class of 29 recruits shows staffing woes not going away anytime soon—

By Robert Salonga <rsalonga@mercurynews.com>
Mercury News — Sept. 5, 2014

SAN JOSE — The San Jose Police Department’s next academy will have just 29 cadets for the second straight class, imperiling already-conservative hiring plans leaders hoped would offset an exodus of retiring and resigning officers amid a long-running political battle over pay and pension reform.

Historically, police training staff aimed at fielding 60 prospective officers, factoring that at least 10 will wash out during the six-month academy or during post-graduation field training. The current academy class that also entered with 29 now stands at 23 heading toward a November graduation.

The sworn staff at SJPD stands at just over 1,000, down from more than 1,400 six years ago when officers were laid off or started leaving as the city tightened its budget in the throes of recession, followed by the union-opposed Measure B, which Mayor Chuck Reed spearheaded to rein in spiraling pension costs by reducing what proponents deemed unaffordable retirement benefits.

“To say we’re in free fall would be an understatement,” said Officer James Gonzales, board member of the San Jose Police Officers’ Association.

He noted that so far this year, 54 officers have resigned from the force — usually for other police jobs — 30 have retired, 60 are in the process of retiring and more are retirement-eligible in January. Some of the retirements were long anticipated as baby boomer hires reached their eligibility; less forecast was the resignation rate for middle-career officers. For each of the past three years, at least 100 total officers have departed.

That has been modestly offset by the academies, which resumed in fall 2012 after a three-year hiatus. But after that first class graduated 43 officers, the retention rate has been abysmal: only 13 of the 50 graduating officers in the next class — the first to fall under the reduced benefits — are still on the force.

Proponents of the pension reform have blamed the police union for scaring off more qualified recruits from signing on to further its political objectives.

“They’re working to make things appear as bad as possible in order to bolster their argument that voters should pick their people for City Council and mayor,” said Reed, one of four council members who will be termed out this year.

He contends the city has never attracted more than 43 recruits in an academy and that the switch this year from two to three academies called for smaller class sizes. He said Chief Larry Esquivel reported to him that 35 recruits would be the ideal academy size.

“So with three classes, you get more in total over the course of the year but you don’t get as many in each class,” Reed said. “I’m happy to have 29 officers; I’d like to have more.”

The stance is reframing of sorts by Reed, who in April called the 29 recruit count an aberration and said he expected candidate numbers to bounce back to their historical levels. Gonzales calls that view a “smoke screen,” arguing that three smaller recruit classes, with current poor retention rates, will likely yield the same number of officers as two larger classes.

Meanwhile, police brass, tasked with trying to cover the city amid all the haranguing, finds itself forcing more and more officers to work overtime, often out of their assignments, to bolster an undermanned patrol force. Police spokesman Officer Albert Morales said the small academy class should also be seen as proof the Police Department is maintaining its standards in the face of dwindling applications.

“We understand and the public understands that we are at a competitive disadvantage. People understand they can go elsewhere and make more money,” Morales said. “We’d love to get more, but if 29 is what comes to the surface, we owe it to the city to choose the best possible candidates.”

 

• • • • •


We're including this story because it's an addendum of sorts to the recent shooting (perhaps "suicide by cop") of the 19-year-old white female who brandished what looked like a handgun but was in fact a cordless drill that had been painted black.

Man Alleges Intimidation by Officers

—Refused to give up phone—

By Robert Salonga <rsalonga@mercurynews.com>
Mercury News — Sept. 6, 2014

SAN JOSE — A San Jose resident who was one of several people recording the aftermath of an officer-involved shooting in South San Jose last month is alleging he was intimidated and threatened with detainment for refusing to surrender his cellphone or delete the images he took.

The allegations are contained in an Aug. 21 internal-affairs complaint filed by Andrew Payne and comes as the issue of recording police performing their duties in public has gained national attention in light of the civil unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.

Earlier this summer, the U.S. Su­preme Court ruled in Riley v. California that warrant-less searches and seizures of cellphones and their contents during an arrest were unconstitutional.

Because Payne was not under arrest at the time he said police demanded his cellphone, it is clearer that the officers were wrong, said Margaret Russell, a constitutional law professor at Santa Clara University.

“They can’t seize and search cellphones of criminal suspects, so they definitely can’t do that to someone in the street,” she said.

Police declined to comment on the complaint, citing the ongoing internal- affairs investigation, which can take up to one year to complete. An internal police bulletin was sent out in July on the heels of the Riley decision to inform all sworn staff about the new search-and-seizure rules. Payne said he was out for a jog the morning of Aug. 14 when he came upon the scene where San Jose police, responding to a 911 call involving a weapons threat, shot and killed a 19-year-old San Jose woman near Blossom Hill Road and Playa del Rey. He said he was one of several people taking pictures and recording video with their cellphones who were approached by officers at the scene asking if anyone had witnessed the police encounter.

But unlike some of the other people, Payne said he refused to hand over his phone for officers to search or give them his personal information. He said he was approached a few minutes later by Sgt. Teresa Jeglum, who is the sole officer named in his complaint. Payne said Jeglum asked him if he was taking pictures, and when he answered affirmatively, told him to clear them from his phone.

“She told me, ‘You either need to delete those photos or I’m confiscating your cellphone,’ ” Payne said. “I told her she couldn’t do that, and then she reached to grab my phone.”

He said he later relented to officers’ requests for his personal information after they asked him if he wanted to go to police headquarters.

“They threatened to detain me if I didn’t give them my info,” Payne said.

Payne said he spoke with a lieutenant after the encounter and said he just wanted an apology. He said he got a call from Jeglum, but instead of an apology, he got an assertion that she was trying to protect her officers. That didn’t hold water with Payne, who said he was singled out.



San Jose police investigators work at the scene of an officer-involved fatal
shooting on Blossom Hill Road and Playa Del Rey in San Jose on Aug. 14.
Some residents captured images of the incident on their cellphones.

“There were 20 people there with cellphones, and they harassed me when I didn’t cooperate,” he said.

Payne filed his police complaint with the city’s Independent Police Auditor, which then forwarded it to SJPD’s internal-affairs division.

LaDoris Cordell, the IPA and a retired judge, said the SJPD duty manual makes clear that as long as they are not interfering with police duties, citizens are free to record officers working in public view.

“Police officers everywhere are subject to increasing scrutiny by the public in light of recent officer-involved shootings around the country. The result is that policing and cellphone recordings by the public are the new norm,” Cordell said. “They are here to stay.”

Russell noted that anecdotes about clashes between citizens and police over cellphone recordings have been on the rise nationally. She said what might need some judicial clarity is what constitutes police interference when it comes to recording.

“People may record even if embarrasses or angers or upsets the police officer,” she said. “But what does it mean to interfere with performance of a police officer?”

Ultimately, the issue could be control of the recordings, since some police departments across the country have long had dashboard cameras in patrol cars and more agencies are implementing body-worn cameras, including SJPD. Cordell said the added cameras from the public only work toward increased police transparency.

“It is my hope that police officers will not simply accept, but welcome these recordings by the public,” she said. “If they do, it will be a major step toward building trust between the community and the police.”

Payne said he hails from a family of law enforcement officers — his father is a lieutenant with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office — and says they’re all firmly behind him.

“I’m totally for police officers,” Payne said. “But I’m also for civil rights.”
 

 

MAIL CALL

Sept. 5th

Bill:

Many years ago, I, as an area Lt., found myself involved in what was thought to be active shooters on the upper floor of the DeAnza Hotel on W. Santa Clara St. As the scene evolved, officers' attempting to divert traffic were clearly in the line of fire with absolutely no protection. I immediately contacted an armored car company (maybe Brinks) and asked for the use of one of their armored vehicles to be used to provide some protection for our officers at the scene. They refused, saying that their vehicles, while armored, would not withstand rifle fire.

After the case was resolved and the "shooters" were found to be drunks throwing cherry bombs out of an upper floor window, I wrote one of my "flaming" memos, pointing out the need for an armored vehicle, and that we as a department owed it to our officers and the citizens to provide protection should we encounter such situations in the future.

My memo made it to the round file, of course, with the same rationalization being put forth today by the Dept. leaders and politicians regarding the use of the MRAP that has received so much attention lately.

Unfortunately, when a need for such an armored vehicle arises and none are available, people can die. That need, of course, arises so infrequently that the police leadership, politicians and a retired judge (Cordell) prefer to roll the dice and express their regrets to those families of the injured or killed. I have heard the hackneyed phrase "They are in our hearts and prayers" so often that I find it nauseating. I really would like a peaceful world. No murders. No mayhem. No criminals who kill with bombs. But it's not to be.

So much for the free (from the Federal government) MRAP that was sacrificed for political correctness.

God bless the San Jose Police Dept. It will need it!

Phil Norton, SJPD Ret.
<ponorton2008@gmail.com>

Ed. — This incident occurred after Phil served two terms as President of the SJPOA (1970-71).
 

• • • • •


Sharon (Young) Lansdowne sent in a video that shows where in the Middle East her son, Mike, lives and works. While we found the video of interest, we had some questions about the subject ("Kaust") and needed to be reminded just where in the Middle East Mike and his family lived, what he does for a living and how long they have been living abroad? The video is followed by Mike's reply to our email, which you may want to read prior to viewing the
VIDEO.

Hi Bill,

KAUST is “King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.” It’s a Research University that just celebrated 5 years of existence on the Red Sea, about 60 miles north of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The campus area is 14 square miles, but the actual university is very small. My daughter, wife and I have been here 4 years and are part of a community of ~3,200 people, with ~650 students, 150 Professors and about 125 Research Scientist. The rest are comprised of staff like me and their families.

KAUST is a graduate research university of science and technology. the purpose of which is to push scientific understanding and develop new technologies. Computational sciences and simulations are a big part of what we do here. I lead a small team within the IT department providing campus-wide technical support for the campus' scientific users and the computational simulation communities.

The video my mom provided in the link was filmed using a “Go-Pro” HD video camera mounted on a gimbal to a 4-rotor remote controlled copter called a DJI 450. It is piloted through “Oculus Rift” Virtual Reality Goggles. The operator of the copter flies it through the Go-Pro lens. This brand and model of copter is used for projects that require the inspection of remote or impossible to reach areas. A  DJI 450 was recently used to inspect the sinkhole at the Corvette Museum as well as buildings in Napa after the earthquake. It’s just a drone, but the Oculus Rift control technology is pretty neat. I want one..

This
PAGE provides some very good photos of the campus. I mostly hang out at the Golf Club. Bill Gates was here a couple of months ago investigating our Desert Agriculture Center that was once called “Plant Stress Genomics”

Regards,

Mike Young
<jecasmi@gmail.com>


 

NOW IS THE TIME FOR ACTION



Sept. 5th

Dear Members,

After suffering 8 long years of broken promises and foolish actions that have decimated the police and fire departments we served so faithfully and purposefully harmed retirees, actives and San Jose residents, the opportunity to set things right is before us.

Over the next 2 months, the Association will ramp up its efforts to elect a mayor and new city council that will move the city forward and restore public safety in our city. If we do not act, we will be stuck with 8 more years of the same nonsense and mean spirited leadership that we've been forced to endure with the current leadership.

We will be joining forces with San Jose Fire Fighters, Local 230 and the San Jose Police Officers' Association to bring the city's public safety vote to the forefront in these upcoming elections.

We can impact these elections by:

1.  Making monetary contributions: You may visit the hyperlinks below to learn about the union friendly candidates and make a donation to their campaign.

Dave Cortese for Mayor

Raul Peralez for City Council District 3

Paul Fong for City Council District 1

2. Participating in Phone Banking: Phone banking opportunities will be sent out via e-mail as those opportunities approach.

3. Precinct Walking: We will join Local 230 to walk every Monday and Thursday from 0900-1200 in support of Dave Cortese for Mayor and at the same time we will distribute literature for one of the other council candidates mentioned above.  The Precinct Walks will begin on September 8. Interested volunteers can meet at the Local 230 office located at:

425 E. Santa Clara St. Suite # 300
San Jose, CA 95113

Breakfast pastries and coffee will be provided. Lunch will be provided upon your return to the Union Office.

This election is critical to the future of our city and to the well-being of retirees.  Please sign up by sending an e-mail to Jose Guerrero at
<j.guerrero@sjff.org>.

Thanks in advance for your support.

 

AND THEN THERE'S THIS... 

 Sept. 6th 

SJPOA and SJ Fire Local 230 Campaign Kickoff

We are in the home stretch, with only 59 days until the November election. These last two months will be critical. We must elect a Mayor and council members that will stop the war on public safety and restore the police and fire departments to levels that can adequately serve our city.

SJPOA & Fire Local 230 have teamed up and will be conducting precinct walks for Dave Cortese, Raul Peralez and Paul Fong.

Each shift consists of two hours of delivering literature to targeted likely voters. You will be paired up with other POA members in two person teams. Feel free to bring your family, friends and kids. There will be a brief training before the walk and food and drink after.

The volunteer schedule is as follows:

• Beginning Saturday, September 13th and Sunday, September 14th - Weekend Walks will be every Saturday and Sunday 10AM-1PM at the POA Hall, 1151 North Fourth Street, San Jose. Lunch will be provided.

• Beginning Monday, September 15th - Weekday walks will be every Monday and Thursday 5PM-7PM at the POA Hall. Meal Provided.

We can't convey to you enough how much influence a police officer or fire fighter has to a voter. Please come out and help take San Jose in a new direction.

In addition to walking, each candidate needs financial assistance to battle the Chuck Reed and Sam Liccardo money machines that funded Measure B. Some members will have difficulty with schedules making the walks. Others have financial hardships, but every member who is planning on continuing to work here in San Jose should find a way to come out and walk or make a contribution before November 4th.

To help us get a head count for packets and food, please call the POA office at 408-298-1133 or email Nicole at
<nicole@sjpoa.com> to let us know what days you can make it. But always feel free to show up even if you have not RSVP'd.
 
Click on the appropriate links under the logos below to visit their websites and make a donation today.


<http://cortesecampaign.com/>



<http://cortesecampaign.com/>


 

OOPS

For a San Jose cop who is running for a seat on the City Council, this is almost as embarrassing as miss-addressing an x-rated email and accidentally sending it to your family priest. And let's not overlook the Mercury News writer who authored this I.A. item from last Sunday's paper and thought he or she was being cute by coming up with this closing sentence: "His opponent, lawyer Don Gagliardi, passed on a delicious opportunity to bite into him."



Candidate Apologizes for Racy Cupcake Images

Mercury News — Sept. 7, 2014

One of our favorite political pundits, George Will, recently wrote that politics, like physics, must have a theory of everything. He called it the Cupcake Postulate. We’re not sure how, but the theory probably explains why Raul Peralez, a San Jose cop running for San Jose City Council, posted a photo of provocatively decorated cupcakes on his Pinterest social media page.

Good taste requires IA to be delicate here: The cupcakes mimicked the female reproductive organ, baked in various, sugary colors. It was captioned: “Eating out never tasted so good.” Other delicacies depicted on his “Manly Men” Pinterest board included a cake that looked like a thong-clad woman’s posterior and a phallic looking thing wrapped in a tie.

To his credit, Peralez ’fessed up, apologized and quickly removed the entire board posting. He said it was meant for a bachelor’s party, not for public consumption. Still, he’s running for a full-time public office representing the downtown district of America’s 10th largest city!

“As a novice Pinterest user it was a mistake on my part as I thought this Pinterest board was a private message from me to my close friends on the eve of planning a bachelor party,” he wrote in an email to IA. ”I do realize that the words and pictures could be offensive to some people and I sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended.”

His opponent, lawyer Don Gagliardi, passed on a delicious opportunity to bite into him.


 

A FUND-RAISER THAT MEANS FUN FOR THE ENTIRE FAMILY

PAL will be hosting a family festival this coming Saturday. There will be activities for the kids and a beer and wine garden for the adults. The stage will be set up in center field of the big baseball diamond at PAL Stadium, 680 34th St. in San Jose. Bring your lawn chairs and umbrellas and and enjoy the following bands. All proceeds will fund PAL programs.

11:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. D.J.
12:15 to 12:45 p.m. Island Vibes Dance Group (Hawaiian Dance)
12:45 to 1:30 DJ
1:30 to 2:30 Sabrosito
2:30 to 2:50 DJ
2:50 to 4:05 (The Maxx Cabell Jr. Band
4:05 to 4:30 DJ
4:30 to 6:00 Tortilla Soup Band

Click
HERE to buy your tickets today. For more information, contact PAL Chairman Juan Reyes at <paco2649@hotmail.com>

 

NEW SJPD HISTORY BOOK TO BE AVAILABLE ON MONDAY THE 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 and Barnes & Noble. You can also shave 5 percent off the $21.95 cost by purchasing the book at the POA Office.


 

SPEAKING OF NEW BOOKS 

Regular Farsider readers should be familiar with Bill Whittle and his "Firewall" series as we have passed along several of his commentaries in the past. This one we received from Pete Guerin is about Benghazi and was posted on the Internet three months ago, long before the Fox News interview by Bret Baier that aired last week in which he spoke with three of the "contractors" who were on the ground in Benghazi during the attack and were ordered to "stand down." It wasn't until a half-hour after the attack began that they chose to disobey orders and respond anyway. They state they believe Ambassador Stevens' life could have been saved had they been able to respond immediately. Two of them were later in the firefight on the roof of the CIA Annex Bldg. a mile away when Tyrone Woods was killed by a mortar attack. This is the LINK to the Bill Whittle commentary. 10 Mins.)

If you missed and want to see the Bret Baier interview with the three Benghazi survivors that first aired last week, you can watch it HERE. We suspect you will find the interview compelling unless you are among those who believe that the attack on the consulate and the subsequent death of the four Americans was the result of a YouTube video that Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and their minions in the Administration were quick to point to as the cause. (46 Mins.)

"13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi" is hitting the book stores this week. It is based on the accounts of the former Marines and Army Ranger "contractors" who were interviewed by Bret Baier on Fox News.

The book is also available on Amazon in Hardcover, as an Audible Book, an Audible CD and in a Kindle version.
THIS link will take you to the Amazon page with details about the book.


 

THE BEST OF THE LATE NITE JOKES
     
S
ept. 3 through Sept. 9

President Obama will attend a NATO summit in Wales this week with 67 other world leaders. He’s trying to project strength, so the White House says he'll be wearing his toughest shade of tan suit.

President Obama will be at a NATO summit, where he will discuss the recent actions of Vladimir Putin, who wasn't invited. Then Putin said, "Has that ever stop me before?"

There’s another hacking scandal. Home Depot is now investigating the hack of its customers' credit card information. They would have targeted Home Depot employees too, but the hackers couldn't find any.

Los Angeles is considering a new plan to boost the city’s minimum wage to $13.25 an hour. It’s getting huge support across the entire country — of Mexico.

ABC announced that Rosie Perez will join Rosie O’Donnell and Whoopi Goldberg as the new co-hosts of “The View.” Which explains the show's new sponsor: Bose noise-canceling headphones.

Yesterday John Kerry joined five previous secretaries of state at a groundbreaking ceremony for a new diplomacy museum. Sorry, I just fell asleep saying that.

While the diplomacy museum is just a pile of dirt now, pretty soon it'll be even LESS interesting.

Police in California are looking for a thief who has stolen from the same Costco four different times. They say it could take months, or even years to find him — you know, because he's still in the Costco.

Happy Birthday to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who turns 52 years old tomorrow. The star of TLC's show “Cake Boss” is actually making the cake for Chris Christie's birthday party. In fact, I hear he's even making the cake in the shape of Christie's favorite thing: cake.

Of course, it’ll get weird when Chris Christie's family says, "No, no, no, you're supposed to blow the candles out BEFORE you eat it!"

The White House has decided not to send President Obama to campaign in battleground states because his low approval ratings could hurt Democrats. They’re only sending him where he can’t do any damage — or as that’s also known, “The Biden Circuit.”

On Friday President Obama made a surprise visit to Stonehenge on his way back from the NATO summit in Wales. And even crazier — today he made a surprise visit to the White House.

President Obama visited Stonehenge. It was going well until Biden said, “Look at the size of those dominoes.”

The Department of Transportation is considering building a new high-speed train that could get people from D.C. to Baltimore in 15 minutes. It gets you out of Washington in 15 minutes — or as President Obama calls that, “Still not fast enough.”

AMC is coming out with a spin-off of “The Walking Dead” that will show the apocalypse in other parts of the world. It's called “The News.”

Apple announced the iPhone 6 today, which they say has a more durable screen that won't crack or scratch as easily. Or as your kids put it, “Challenge accepted!”

Apple promised less cracking. Then Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said, "Hey, that's my campaign slogan."

Everyone goes through the different stages of buying a new iPhone: The first stage is “I don't need a new phone," followed by “Maybe I'll just check it out in the store,” followed by “Maybe something will happen to my current phone," followed by, “Oh no, it 'fell' in the toilet."

Amazon has cut the price of its Fire smartphone to just 99 cents to compete with the new iPhone. When they heard, even Blackberry said, "At least go out with dignity, man."

Apple plans to launch a mobile wallet to replace credit cards. That's good because if there's one company you want to trust with your money, it's the company that leaked your nude photos.

A glitch in the John Madden NFL game has accidentally created a player who is 1 foot tall. Another glitch accidentally created an NFL player with no criminal record.

Five geckos sent into space as part of an experiment have all died. On the bright side, they were able to save 15 percent on their car insurance.

Amazon has announced that its chief financial officer will retire after 12 years on the job. But the moment Amazon's chief retires he'll recommend another CFO that Amazon might also like.

Over the weekend President Obama visited Stonehenge. Yes, the cold, rigid entity no one can quite figure out said he enjoyed Stonehenge.

It actually rained in Los Angeles today. In response to the rain, Apple's CEO said, "See, all clouds occasionally leak."

Reportedly the identity of Jack the Ripper, who killed five people in London, finally has been revealed. After hearing about it, the commissioner of the NFL suspended him for two games.

I was watching "Sunday Night Football" and I hit the info button on the remote control. It said, "Auditions for 'America's Most Wanted.'"

Today Trump Entertainment Resorts declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Or as Donald Trump described Chapter 11, “back-to-back No. 1's.”

Ray Rice is now being removed from the “Madden 15” video game. A spokesperson said violence against women doesn't belong in “Madden 15.” It belongs in "Grand Theft Auto."

An English-speaking man went into a coma and came out speaking only Mandarin Chinese. It's a true story. On the bright side, now he can find work.

The NFL season kicks off tomorrow night. And then Friday is the start of the Super Bowl pregame show.

A survey showed that 71 percent of Americans do not believe Washington should drop the name of their team — the Redskins. Also, most Americans believe that New York should just drop the Jets altogether.

Apple is sprucing up the iPhone. Tomorrow you can get the new iPhone 6. The iPhone 6 is a lot like President Obama's hair. Every year it's lighter and thinner.

President Obama is back on the job, and he's visiting Estonia. He said he wanted to be there before Russian tanks rolled in.

Rosie O'Donnell is going to be on "The View" and today they announced they hired Rosie Perez. So the show has two Rosies. That's unprecedented in television. I was hoping for another Whoopi.

Evil hackers have figured out how to get photos that are private property and they're selling them. It's a felony. Naked photos of Kim Kardashian were hacked and I thought, Well, she's naked on her driver's license, so how big a deal is that, honestly?

What the hackers do is they collect the naked photos and then they trade them like baseball cards and there's a lot of money. For example, you can get $10 million for a naked Honus Wagner.

Chris Christie has to brush up on foreign policy, so he went to Mexico. Remember when he was in Africa? He was followed by ivory poachers. Now he's in Mexico, and he was taunted by a matador.

Fall is just around the corner. A sure sign that fall is not that far off is the New York Mets have gone into hibernation. Happens every year.

The NFL is back in season. A guy who plays for the Broncos, Wes Welker, has been suspended for four games for taking drugs at the Kentucky Derby. He finished sixth.

The iPhone 6 will be launched on Tuesday. It has an improved memory. It's just the opposite of me.

President Obama is getting tough with that Vladimir Putin. Boy, what a bad guy that guy is, that Vladimir Putin. Obama is really getting tough with him. Now he's wearing a much more aggressive shade of beige.

Prince William and wife Kate are expecting another baby. This is big news — in the year 1614.

Now there will be two royal babies. This guy is going to have to start looking for a job, you know what I mean?

Also from England, it turns out they have now identified Jack the Ripper. They found the DNA off an old white Ford Bronco. Not only that, but they now know the guy was married to Kelly Ripper.

On this date in 1974, Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon. A lot of people think Nixon's trouble was for Watergate, but it was not. It was for wearing a tan suit.

The new iPhone 6 came out today. It's the iPhone 6 because that's how many minutes the battery will last.

At the Apple store, the people waiting in line for the iPhone 6 were trampled by the people waiting for the iPhone 7.

Jack the Ripper, the horrible serial killer in England, never was identified. Well, now they found out who he was. The case was finally solved by CSI: Ripper Unit.

As you remember, Jack the Ripper was arrested and sent to prison for stealing back his sports memorabilia.

Happy birthday to Charlie Sheen. He's 49 today. He went all out today with a huge party, tons of strippers, several arrests. Then somebody told him it was his birthday.

The organizers of New York City's St. Patrick's Day Parade said they are going to lift the ban on gay groups marching. Now the tough part — finding gay people who like parades.

Vladimir Putin said today he hopes to have a Ukrainian peace deal by Friday. He's reached out the olive branch. And if there's no peace deal by Friday, Putin said, "I will crush Ukraine like bug under boot."

It is a sad day for us in the comedy community. We lost Joan Rivers, one of the all-time greats. It is terribly sad. I just hope that when Joan meets the man upstairs, he's wearing something she can insult.

Football's back. Everyone was excited for the big NFL kickoff. John Madden ate an entire side of beef and ran through a brick wall. Then he found out about the kickoff.

Surprisingly, only two teams played tonight, but the Oakland Raiders have already been eliminated from the playoffs.

Happy birthday to Los Angeles. The city was founded on this day in 1781. The land was first discovered by an old prospector who said, "There's Botox in them thar hills. And kale."

It was a terrifying day here in L.A. The City of Angels has been struck by a disaster called "light rain." The mayor of L.A. was considering declaring a state of emergency because thousands of people had to change their outdoor brunch plans.

The rain was terrible in Los Angeles. The rush hour here was crazy. The highways were jammed. Traffic was bumper to bumper and people were driving like idiots all over the place. Then it started to rain.

The rain in L.A. was around an eighth of an inch. That's it, California. The drought is over. Go back to leaving your faucets on all the time. Open up a free car wash. It's over.

Prince William and his bride are expecting her second baby. That's pretty quick for Kate to have a second baby. It's almost as if producing an heir is her job.

The royal couple had to keep Kate's pregnancy secret from the rest of the royal family. And that’s not easy because Prince Charles is all ears.

It's too early to speculate on names, but my money is on "Prince Northwest."

The drug store CVS announced that the corporation is changing itself to CVS Health, and they're no longer selling cigarettes. The CEO estimates the company will lose about $2 billion this year because they're not selling cigarettes. It is part of their customer health focus. But you'll still be able to buy tons of candy in the candy aisle.

Competitors of CVS, like Walgreens and Rite-Aid, have no plans to follow suit. As much as they understand the consequences of smoking they also understand the wonderful consequences of making $2 billion a year.

If CVS really wants to demonstrate a commitment to health and wellness, get rid of the automatic doors. If you can't push a door open you are not allowed to buy a two-liter bottle of Mountain Dew.

We lost a comedy legend today. The great Joan Rivers passed away. She was 81 years old. Besides being a pioneer for women in comedy, Joan was a lucky person because she loved her job so much. She never wanted to stop. And she didn't have to stop because she was so great at it.

Sarah Silverman is on the show. I'm especially glad that Sarah's here tonight. For those of you who don't know, Sarah and I dated during the whole Paris Hilton administration.

We have a very talented musical guest here tonight by the name of Hunter Hayes. He's only 22 years old but has won four Grammy Awards. Hunter plays more than 30 musical instruments. Hunter's parents must have spent a fortune on lessons.

The NFL season kicked off officially tonight. It's that magical time of the year when millions of Americans transition from checking Facebook all day at work to checking their fantasy football lineups all day at work.

From "Fox NFL Sunday," Terry Bradshaw is here with us tonight. Here's here to raise awareness of the little-known sport of football for us.

A new NFL season started last night as the Seattle Seahawks beat the Green Bay Packers. A lot of guys that work here, if you took them to Comic-Con, they would laugh at the superheroes. Yesterday, about 10 of those guys showed up to work wearing Green Bay Packers jerseys.

Starbucks has a new business plan. Starbucks is planning to open about 100 new upscale coffee shops with more expensive coffee. It's for customers who feel that the regular Starbucks prices are too reasonable, I guess.

It's good to see Starbucks sticking with doing what they do best, which is opening more Starbucks.

I watched a lot of football this weekend. I spent about 14 hours on the couch watching other people exercise. How much did I exercise this weekend? Not one second. I'm even thinking about hiring someone to carry me back and forth from the refrigerator to the TV set.

This weekend there were dozens of football games and thousands of car commercials starring Matthew McConaughey driving around in a Lincoln, talking to himself. Is it possible he got high and thought he was doing the second season of "True Detective" alone this time?

It was quite an opening NFL weekend. Dallas quarterback Tony Romo was handing out interceptions like "The Bachelor" hands out roses.

Our former governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, returned today to Sacramento, where they unveiled his official portrait. They do this for all the governors, even the ones who were in "The Expendables."

This weekend a Native American group gathered outside of the Houston-Washington game to protest the Redskins’ nickname. And a group of Cowboys wide receivers gathered outside of the Dallas-San Francisco game because that’s where most of Tony Romo’s passes were landing.

This week President Obama will announce his plans for addressing the threat posed by ISIS extremists in Iraq. It’s an incredibly difficult situation. I think at this point he should just tell Liam Neeson that they have his daughter.

Today is the 48th anniversary of the first episode of "Star Trek." And if you already knew that, it’s probably the only anniversary you have to remember.

 

WEEKLY SNOPES URBAN LEGEND UPDATE AS OF SEPT. 6, 2014

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

New Articles

• How accurate are the
rumors about shooting victim Michael Brown's criminal record?

• Do major cities harbor
rodent populations equivalent to one rat per person?

• Mother names her child 'Le-a,' which she insists be
pronounced 'Ledasha.'

• Shoppers buy food for a woman who was embarrassed over using a
welfare card at a grocery store.

• Photograph snapped during a Korean War
bombing raid shows an image of Jesus in the clouds.

• Will posting a legal notice on your
Facebook wall protect your copyright and privacy rights?

• A nine-year-old girl accidentally shot and killed a
shooting instructor with an Uzi at a gun range in Arizona.

• Photo purports to document injuries to
Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.

• An update on the story of former
Navy SEAL Chris Heben, who drove himself to the hospital after being shot.

• Are eleven passenger
planes missing from an airport in Libya?

• Actress
Betty White has not passed away.

• Has Congress passed a bill to provide
free new cars to welfare recipients?

• Has NASA announced a three-day
world-wide blackout is coming?

• Did escape artist
Harry Houdini die from a ruptured appendix caused by his being punched in the stomach?

• Will McDonald's restaurants be placing Michelle
Obama's image on their drink cups?

• Have some loom bands been
taken off the market due to health concerns?

• Are
London police warning against using the Underground due to an impending terrorist attack?

• Was a
teenager sentenced to 25 years in prison for the prank known as "swatting"?

• Did Barack Obama's status as a
Muslim prevent his wife from traveling with him to Islamic countries?

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


Worth a Second Look

• A
carpet installer pounds a bump flat, then discovers that the family pet is missing.


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.


• • • • •


It's been over a year, so let's start with a refresher course of this life-saving technique produced by the British Heart Foundation. Don't question it, just
WATCH it as it may help you save someone's life. (2 Mins.)




• • • • •


The title of this clip should be "Never throw rocks at German Shepherds," or as an alternate title, "Karma can be a bitch" (pun intended). We don't know what city this occurred in, but the style of dress and headgear worn by some of the people in the video suggests it is either in a Muslim country or a Muslim section of London or Paris. Matters not. It's the result of
THIS clip that's important. (1:30 Mins.)




• • • • •


Speaking of dogs, either
THIS one that appears to be enjoying a spa in China is the happiest and most relaxed canine in the world, or it's dead. And please refrain from sending us any emails that include the word "marinating." (1 Min.)




• • • • •


While Parkour is an invented physical activity for humans, this dog is making a case that canines can be free-runners too. A Ukranian man named Elchaninov Eugene filmed his dog pulling off some incredible
STUNTS that most humans couldn't. (4 Mins.)


This is what it looks
LIKE when humans indulge in the activity of Parkour, also known in some circles as Freerunning. (4 Mins.)




• • • • •


This is an amazing video. It's about a Ram with a GoPro video camera strapped to its back and trained to use its physical attributes to block a private road. When the motorcyclist challenges the Ram, the animal gets mad.
WATCH what happens next. (3 Mins.)




• • • • •


This clip from Bob Kosovilka is dashcam footage of a Russian motorist who got upset with the driver of a small bus and forced him to stop. We don't want to give away the ending, but we will warn you not to piss off Sponge Bob Square Pants and his buddies. Click
HERE and you will see why. (1 Min.)




• • • • •


While we are on the subject of Russian dashcam videos, this short clip proves that timing is everything, especially when it comes to tornadoes. Watch
THIS. (1:30 Mins.)




• • • • •


"Hilarious" is how a dozen Farsider readers described this video about aging. While the clip runs longer than most of those we pass along, all of the readers who sent it in said it was time well spent. Click
HERE to watch and hear this guy's presentation at the 2014 Final Conference on Aging. (15 Mins.)




• • • • •


Lumpy says
THIS is a fully automatic Glock 18C, which is modeled after the popular Glock 17. Yes, he says, it's affordable, but no, you can't personally have one. That, of course, doesn't stop him from wanting one. How 'bout you? (4 Mins.)


• • • • •


This contribution from Chuck Blackmore has to be seen to be believed. It's a segment from the opening ceremonies of the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympics in that took place last month in China and features 500 people dancing in the sky. In fact, the sphere you see in the image below is comprised of many of the dancers. Click
HERE to view this remarkable performance. (8 Mins.)




• • • • •


Speaking of China, this Taiwanese news report received from Alice Murphy illustrates why I always ask for a knife and fork when I eat at a Chinese restaurant. Not so much for the reason outlined here, but because food keeps falling back onto my plate or in my lap when I try to use
CHOPSTICKS. (1 Min.)




• • • • •


Here's a very interesting contribution from Mike Young.

This
LINK is to a map showing global weather conditions. (Look closely and you can see the winds.) You can 'zoom' in on the globe using the 'wheel on your mouse,' and the globe can be turned by placing your cursor on the globe, holding down the left mouse button while moving the mouse in the direction you wish the globe to move.

A left button click on the word 'Earth' at the bottom left of your screen will provide you with more details.




• • • • •


We're sure that most of you, like us, have often wondered what happens when you flip a starfish upside down. To answer that gnawing question we spent hours on a world-wide search and finally found a video that shows what the starfish does. You can
THANK US later. (2 Mins.)




• • • • •


So what do you know about BitCoins? Anything? If you will take a few minutes to watch either or both of the short videos below, you should have a pretty good idea of what the world's most famous digital currency is about.

TEN THINGS You Didn't Know About BitCoin



TOP TEN BitCoin Facts




• • • • •
 

While the rest of us are likely to wind up cruising around on one of those little red electric scooters, Dirk Parsons says he plans to opt for this green 600cc Suzuki-powered MOBILITY SCOOTER that can run the quarter mile in 12 seconds at 107 mph. (3 Mins.)




• • • • •


We're thinking it might be time to rerun
THIS golf safety video for those of you who indulge in the sport since it can be dangerous out there on the golf course. (3 Mins.)




• • • • •


Want to dispel that ugly rumor that you are a "couch potato?" We have the perfect solution. Watch
THIS 30-second clip.




• • • • •


Wait for it, wait for it. We're not referring to the eruption, but to the
SHOCK WAVE that follows. This volcano that blew its top a few weeks ago on Aug. 29th is located in New Guinea and called Mount Tavuvur. You can bet there would have been some puckered rear ends if the people on the boat were to see a pyroclastic flow skimming across the water towards them at 60 mph and their boat was only capable of 55. (1 Min.)




• • • • •


While we are on the topic of Mother Nature's internal gas attacks, was this guy who climbed down to the edge of an exploding volcano nuts? Crazy? Insane? An entire bag of french fries short of a Happy Meal? Or a
COMBINATION of all the above? Yeah, we think so, too. (3 Mins.)




• • • • •


Watch how calm and cool this American mother was as she and her son were seated in a sushi restaurant in Japan in March 2011 when the big 9.0
EARTHQUAKE struck the country. The quake lasted for a little over a minute, but the shaking in the restaurant shook the building for four minutes. An interview with the mother follows this clip. (1:30 Mins.)

 

A reporter from an ABC affiliate picked up on the video that had gone viral and managed to find and interview the mother using Facebook and Skype. Turns out her husband is in the military and stationed in Japan. What are the odds that she is originally from California? Click HERE to listen to what she has to say.




• • • • •


You have all seen pictures of the statue of Christ the Redeemer that overlooks the city of Rio de Janeiro countless times. Thanks to this short video received from Bert Kelsey, you now have the opportunity to accompany two workmen as they
WALK ON TOP of the famous religious statue to make minor repairs. (3 Mins.)




• • • • •


We sometimes run across an example of artistic craftsmanship that is simply difficult to believe. Such was the case when we received this video of John Merritt the Wood Carver. If you choose to watch this video, keep in mind that every carving you see was made from a single block of wood, and that no glue, screws or nails were used in the final carving. The link chain shown below is just one example. Click
HERE to see other carvings of his amazing collection. (6 Mins.)




• • • • •


The music in this
FINAL ITEM alone makes this 4-minute video of the morphing of all the U.S. presidents in sequence from George Washington through Barack Obama worth a watch. The accompanying instrumental is from a CD titled "Hooked on America" and performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.




• • • • •




C'ya



Pic of the Week 

Last year's protest organized by the Farsider staff
was a huge success. If you want to join us again,
meet at the POA Hall next Wednesday at 5:00 p.m.


Memories of last year's protest...

 
   

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