The Farsider

Nov. 20, 2014

Bill Mattos, Editor and Publisher <>
Leroy Pyle, Webmaster <>

The Farsider is an independent publication that is not affiliated with the San Jose Police Benevolent
Assn. The SJPBA has allowed the Farsider to be included on its web site solely for the convenience of
the retired San Jose Police community. The content of this newsletter does not represent or reflect
the views of the San Jose Police Benevolent Association's Board of Directors or its membership.



The following email from PBA Sgt. at Arms Bob Moir showed up in our inbox just prior to press time that touched on last night’s (Wed.) Nov. PBA meeting and a couple of dates that may be of interest. You can read it for yourself:

Nice turnout tonight with 94 attendees. All enjoyed the pre-Thanksgiving day turkey dinner. Next meeting will be on the third Wed. of Jan. THE PBA DOES NOT MEET IN DEC. Valentine Dinner/Dance scheduled for Feb 14. — and actually on Valentines Day. Another scheduled event is the POA-sponsored Christmas Open House at the POA on Thurs., Dec 18, from 4 to 10 p.m. Mike Alford is the new Pres. of the Police & Fire Retirees Association, replacing Jim Spence. Pat Boyd is the VP (Police) for the same organization.



We're going to be preparing the Thanksgiving bird next week, and the instructions say to let the turkey chill in the sink for a few hours. Is this what they mean?

We hope you and your family enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday. The Farsider will be back on Thursday, Dec. 4th.



This obit was spotted by Rodger Cripe in the Nov. 14th edition of the Calaveras Enterprise...

Age 68
Appointed Feb. 22, 1974
Retired Jan. 4, 1989
Died Nov. 2, 2014

Terry Wayne Guyton of Mountain Ranch died Monday, Nov. 2, 2014, at his residence in Mountain Ranch. He was 68.

He was born June 20, 1946, in Los Angeles to Harry Grant Guyton and Connie Theresea Guyton-Whickey. He grew up in a military family and spent his childhood in various parts of the world. Mr. Guyton settled down in the Bay Area, where he went to high school and then earned a bachelor’s degree in recreation therapy from San Jose State University and served in Vietnam as a captain in the U.S. Air Force. He worked for the San Jose Police Department and was a member of the American Legion. He moved to Mountain Ranch in 2000.

Mr. Guyton enjoyed spending time with his family and friends, riding motorcycles, traveling with his wife and fixing things in his workshop. He was a prepper, gun collector and Christian.

Mr. Guyton is survived by his wife, Debrah Guyton of Mountain Ranch; his children, Nicole Guyton of Portland, Ore., Katrina Smith of Chicago, Jillian Sandbothe of South Lake Tahoe, Victoria Saunders of Denver; his adopted children, Jean Everly of Goose Creek, Annie Joses of Lodi, Jess Ramires of Valley Springs, Kellie Eltringham of Murphys and Gavin Montgomery of South Lake Tahoe; and six grandchildren.

A small family service will be held at a later date. No open visitation or services will be held. Memorial donations may be made to the Calaveras County Animal Shelter, as Mr. Guyton was an animal lover. The family wishes to thank everyone who has taken the time to help them through this difficult time.

Click HERE for an updated list (as of May of this year) of former SJPD employees who have passed away. If needed, the User Name is thisis and the Password is thepassword.



Many of you retirees should remember Betty as she covered the SJPD beat for many years during JoeMac’s tenure. This obit appeared in the paper earlier this week...

Pioneering Reporter Betty Barnacle Dillane Dies

By Sharon Noguchi, Staff Writer
Mercury News — Nov. 15, 2014

SAN JOSE — When pioneering reporter Betty Barnacle Dillane covered crime, she established such a trustworthy relationship with police that she was permitted to flip through their files to find ones she thought were newsworthy.

After she left the beat and that access was eliminated, she asked police to reopen the files. They never did, but they awarded her a commendation when she retired, friend Mary Gottschalk recalled.

Dillane died Thursday of complications from Alzheimer's disease, surrounded by friends at her Rose Garden home. She was 83.

One of the first women hired by the then-San Jose News, Dillane — she used her maiden name Barnacle for her byline — was a dogged reporter and an inspiration to others.

"No story was too simple or complicated for her," said Lou Calvert, former associate news editor of the News, which later became the afternoon edition of the Mercury News. "She managed to have a special relationship not only with the cops or a victim or witness but also with her colleagues."

She was born Aug. 13, 1931, in San Francisco, one of three children of Evelyn (Cornell) and Thomas Barnacle, a firefighter. After graduating from UC Berkeley, she worked as a reporter at the San Francisco Call-Bulletin before joining the San Jose News — just as newspapers were beginning to hire women not just for the "society section" but also to cover news.

"No one worked the phones like Betty," said former Mercury News copy editor Michele Jurich, noting Dillane's skill in getting people to open up to her.

Another former reporting colleague, Julie Sevrens Lyons, said, "I always loved hearing her answer the phone: 'Barnacle here.'"

She was also gracious, kind and welcoming to women in the newsroom. Her thoughtfulness showed up in her obituaries, which she wrote during her last years with the Mercury News, and she often received thank-you notes from grateful families.

Dillane, who was divorced, had one son, Michael Patrick Dillane.

"In Betty's life with her son, I saw what it really meant to be a mother," said former reporter Pat Lopes Harris. "Being there in good times and bad is something all of us want to do, but few live up to it like Betty did."

After retiring, Dillane devoted herself to church, attending Mass daily, singing in the choir and teaching catechism at St. Martin of Tours Church. She was an avid doll collector and a member of the Garden City Doll Club of San Jose and the San Jose Woman's Club. She loved garage sales and shopping.

She was devoted to the church and was very caring, said friend Mary Kay Tocce, who attended a prayer group daily with Dillane.

Even as her memory declined, Dillane took care to dress impeccably with coordinating accessories, said Gottschalk, a former Mercury News style writer. "Betty remained upbeat and cheerful. She couldn't always remember your name, but she always had a great smile."

And she loved to chat, said neighbor Grace Castaneda, who would invite Dillane out for walks. "She would talk to everybody and anybody."

For the past three years, Castaneda and her husband, Efren Guerrero, took it on themselves to care for Dillane, going daily to make sure she took medications, driving her to appointments, and cooking and cleaning for her and her three cats.

"She kind of adopted us as family, and we adopted her too," Castaneda said.

Dillane is predeceased by her son, who died in 2001, and her siblings, Robert Barnacle and Honora Barnacle.

Services are pending.


While this article from last Saturday’s paper doesn’t specifically mention San Jose, it does illustrate the financial deficit problems of the numerous California pension plans, including the two largest: CalPERS and CalSTRS (teachers’ retirement system). For the curious among you, inside the story is a link to a website that includes all plans in the state, including San Jose’s. And believe it or not, it’s easy to navigate.

Pension Info Reveals Deficits

—Many California agencies can’t afford retirement benefits—

By Marc Lifsher, Los Angeles Times
Mercury News — Nov. 15, 2014

SACRAMENTO — A decade ago, many of California’s public pension plans had plenty of money to pay for workers’ retirements.

All that has changed, according to a far-reaching package of data from the state controller.

Taxpayers are now on the hook for billions of dollars more to cover the future retirements of public workers with the bill widely varying depending on where they live.

The city of Los Angeles Fire and Police Pension System, for instance, had more than enough funds in 2003 to cover its estimated future bill for workers’ retirement checks. A decade later, it is short $3 billion.

The state’s pension goliath, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, had $281 billion to cover the benefits promised to 1.3 million workers and retirees in 2013. Yet it needed an additional $57 billion to meet future obligations.

The bill at the state teachers’ pension fund is even higher: It has an estimated shortfall of $70 billion.

The new data from a website created by state Controller John Chiang comes at a time of growing anger from taxpayers over the skyrocketing cost of public workers’ retirements.

Until now, the bill for those government pensions was buried deep in the funds’ financial reports. By making this data available, Chiang is bound to stir debate about how taxpayers can afford to make retirement more comfortable for public workers when private-sector employees’ own financial futures have become less secure. For most non-government workers, fixed monthly pensions are increasingly rare.

“Somebody who is knowledgeable and interested is several clicks away from the ugly mess that will define California’s financial future,” said Dan Pellissier, president of California Pension Reform, a Sacramento-area group seeking to stem rising statewide retirement costs.

Chiang has assembled reams of data from 130 public pension plans run by the state, cities and other government agencies. It’s now accessible at his website HERE.

In nearly eight years as controller, essentially the state’s paymaster, Chiang has made good on a commitment to make government financial records more transparent and accessible.

Chiang, who was elected last week as state treasurer, also has made it easy for consumers to search unclaimed property held by the state, such as utility de­posits or forgotten bank savings accounts.

In 2010, after the city of Bell salary scandal, he started putting pay information online for elected officials and other employees in cities, counties, special government districts, higher education, schools and the judicial system. In September, he added details on the finances of the state’s 58 counties and more than 450 cities, allowing taxpayers to track revenues, expenditures, liabilities, assets and fund balances.

The pension debate in recent years has been fueled by controversy.

Vernon’s former city manager, for example, was receiving more than $500,000 in annual pension payments. Most public safety workers can retire as early as 50. And some public employees had cashed out unused vacation and other perks to spike their retirement pay.

Meanwhile, cash-strapped cities are facing escalating bills. Rising pension costs contributed to bankruptcies in Stockton, San Bernardino and Vallejo.

Critics contend governments can no longer afford to pay generous pensions to retirees that aren’t available to most private-sector workers. Unions, meanwhile, have vehemently defended the status quo, saying these benefits were promised to workers for years of serving the public.

“In the months ahead, California and its local communities will continue to wrestle with how to responsibly manage the unfunded liabilities associated with providing retirement security to police, firefighters, teachers and other providers of public services,” Chiang said.

“Those debates and the actions that flow from them ought to be informed by reliable data that is free of political spin or ideological bias,” said Chiang.

A million items of new pension information online — covering the fiscal years 2002-03 through 2012-13 — should “empower greater citizen participation in how government handles a policy matter which is central to California’s long-term prosperity,” Chiang said.

Though pension lingo can be daunting, the online information being offered includes a range of easy-to-understand and more complicated data. There is even a glossary of terms to help.

Relatively proficient computer users, researchers and statisticians can use the data to compare different city and county pension systems.


Nov. 14th

NBC Bay Area: Recount in San Jose Mayor Race. Click HERE.

Ed. — Contrary to the news report above, a recount has been scuttled. Click HERE to read an updated Mercury News article from Nov. 15th.

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NBC Bay Area: San Jose Police Chief Under Fire for Taking Gifts from 49ers. Click HERE.

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ABC 7: City Manager: Police Chief Violated Gift Policy. Click HERE.

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San Jose Inside: Police Chief Broke Rules by Accepting 49ers Tickets; Top Rank Complicates Investigation. Click HERE.


Nov. 17th 

49er Saga Reveals Insight into Chief's Character

So now we know that Chief Esquivel also attended, free of charge, a 49er's game under the auspices of a so-called "law enforcement appreciation day" (more on that later). The question many members are asking is why Chief Larry Esquivel didn't out himself weeks ago when the spotlight burned so brightly on A.C. Eddie Garcia and D.C. Jeff Marozick for also accepting free tickets to the opening game at the new Levi's Stadium, courtesy of the 49ers?

As you may remember, A.C. Garcia found himself the target of local and national media attention when it was revealed that he and D.C. Marozick went to a 49er's game this year in violation of City policy and our Duty Manual. Garcia publicly apologized to many Department members at different meetings. At no time did Chief Esquivel stand beside his A.C. during his mea culpa moment and admit that he too went to one of these games in violation of City policy.

Imagine what must have been going through Garcia's mind as he publicly humbled himself before his subordinates, knowing the whole time that he had been at another one of these games with his boss, Chief Esquivel, who was remaining silent about his participation. Here was Garcia, along with Marozick, dangling in the wind all the while their boss, just as involved, remained silent. With friends like that...

Let me point out that I think the issue of the tickets and attendance at the games is a minor violation of policy. I also don't think that any of our Command Officers would betray their oath in exchange for a day of wining and dining at a football game. It's how they responded to their indiscretion that most concerns me. My heart went out to our two PIO's who were sent out to try to explain their bosses' behavior. Wouldn't it have been best if Larry and Eddie had made themselves available for those interviews instead of subjecting their press officers to that ordeal?

Esquivel and Garcia have tried to downplay the gift by calling their participation part of a "law enforcement appreciation day". From the sound of it, I would call their event a "chiefs' appreciation day". Many sports teams and entertainers have a way of showing their appreciation and support of law enforcement. The POA facilitates some of these events. For instance, each year the Sharks hold an event honoring and assisting COPS (Concerns of Police Survivors). A portion of the tickets sold is donated to that organization. Both the Giants and the A's hold a law enforcement appreciation day where the officers receive about a 10% group discount when purchased through the POA.

Those events are a far cry from Larry and Eddie being comp'd a game with "all access," paid parking(?), food and alcohol(?) and of course a chance to be on the field during the game. Their credibility took a hit when they said they had paid for the tickets, only to find out that they paid after the media began to make inquiries. I don't remember the "49er's Law Enforcement Appreciation Day" being extended to anyone else in the Department. For Larry and Eddie to equate their gift to a true law enforcement appreciation day is insulting and disingenuous.

True selfless leaders would have given the tickets to deserving officers in their command as recognition of their outstanding work. That didn't happen here. Selfless is not the word that comes to mind when I think about our current leadership. If they had given the tickets for outstanding work or to an officer severely injured in the course of his job, even if it had violated policy, the troops would have applauded their gesture.

It's clear what the 49ers have been up to. They have hundreds of millions of dollars invested in their players. They know that some of them may run afoul of the law. They live in San Jose, party in San Jose, may drive drunk through San Jose and may even commit domestic violence in San Jose. So it's not a bad business investment on the part of the 49ers to foster good relations with the local police department. Our Chief's Office authorized the formation of the pay jobs associated to this episode. In doing so, they showed extremely poor judgment. It was their job, when this idea was pitched, to say no. It was their job to know better and foresee events like the Ray McDonald case. It was their job to remember what happened, years ago, with the Sharks, a former Los Gatos cop and a disgraced judge.

What is most baffling to me is Larry's silence concerning his involvement over the last several weeks. The honorable way to have handled this issue would have been to come clean, publicly, when Eddie and Jeff became the media targets of the gift ordinance violation. Larry knew that he too had committed the same offense. He chose to stay quiet. We are left, then, to surmise that he would have continued his silence had the media not made further inquiries. Is that how he expects his officers to conduct themselves? I know it's not. There seems to be a do as I say, not as I do approach in play here.

We've seen this Chief take credit for a 43% drop in gang-related homicides that never occurred. We've seen him write an op-ed, a few days before the recent mayoral election, claiming that crime is going down and our Department is being turned around and now we've seen him remain silent as others are twisting in the wind for something he also did. When the leader of an organization cedes the moral authority required to hold that position, a change in leadership is mandated for the organization to survive.

Jim Unland <>



Can you feel the love? We think that outgoing Mayor Chuck Reed and the two authors who penned this guest article in last Sunday’s paper should get a room…

Mayor Reed Has Put San Jose Back on Track

Guest OpEd by Dave Fadness and William B. Baron
Mercury News — Nov. 9, 2014

Think back to 2006 — a time when San Jose was scarred by political corruption and cronyism. Enter Chuck Reed, a smart man with high ethics, political courage and a can-do approach — a man for the times.

Reed was elected with nearly 60 percent of the vote despite being bashed by an embedded political machine. Then the global financial crisis of 2007 hit, and the scars on our broad and diverse residents have not yet fully healed. The worldwide economic calamity shattered communities across our land, and the reality of a need for fiscally sustainable policies became clear.

As a result of Reed’s steady hand and conscientious leadership during this critical time, he was re-elected with 77 percent of the vote in 2010.

Like the rest of us, Chuck Reed isn’t perfect. But over the past eight years as our mayor, he consistently showcased strong character, dedication, openness, honesty and a keen grasp of budgeting arithmetic. Reed’s focus and perseverance was on behalf of the people of our fair city — not just a certain few, but for all.

Most significantly, this smart workaholic educated us, including a majority of council colleagues, on the consequences of our structural fiscal mess. As a result, he and a council majority led three overwhelmingly successful pension ballot measures, V, W and B, to reform public employee pensions that were unsustainable and wildly out of touch with reality. More work remains, and for the sake of our children, this inequitable and unsustainable insanity must stop. We encourage the mayor to carry on with his clear, honest reform message statewide and beyond.

During this contentious time and still today, Reed’s opponents attack both his intent and his character — unjustly, we believe. Reed, though, never got caught up in personal attack warfare because he never forgot who he worked for: You. He respected you and your intelligence on the issues. We believe Reed’s leadership and success at the ballot box saved hundreds of public employee jobs and offered improved city services along the way.

Reed also led a renaissance of high-tech and clean-tech industry job growth in San Jose. His mantra of “moving at the speed of business” and reducing government red tape when possible were keys to success.

Moreover, he is a leader for open government through his Sunshine Reforms, fought for a better environment through his green initiatives and pushed for infrastructure projects he felt were critical to San Jose’s future, such as updating our sewer treatment plant and the expansion of BART. Updating our general plan and appointing more job-friendly leadership in key city posts were also important.

While we did not agree with him on all matters — BART, for instance — we always found Reed to be a respectful listener, a thoughtful questioner and a goal-oriented resolver. In our ever-forward-thinking Silicon Valley, it’s important to take a moment to reflect on our recent past. Without Reed, our city would have faced certain bankruptcy. Thanks to his capable leadership, we are on course to fiscal sustainability. This is not a result of good fortune but of thoughtfulness and skill.

Although this humble gentleman didn’t set out to inspire us, he most certainly did.

For his great leadership and important legacy, we thank Mayor Chuck Reed, one of San Jose’s very best mayors.

Dave Fadness and William B. Baron are San Jose residents, businessmen and community activists. They wrote this for this newspaper.

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Going back almost two weeks to the Sunday, Nov. 9th, edition of the paper was this excerpt about Pete Constant, a former San Jose cop and soon-to-be former city council member who may be wondering, “What the hell am I going to do now?”

‘I didn’t run a campaign’: Constant takes the blame

At first glance, outgoing San Jose City Councilman Pete Constant’s race for the West Valley-Mission College board looked like a walkover. It was going to be a holding spot until the well-known Republican figured out his next move in politics. But when the first big batch of votes was in, Constant had lost by a decisive margin of 60-40 percent to Anne Kepner, a San Jose attorney.

So what happened?

“You’ve got to run a campaign to win, and I didn’t run a campaign,” the always-candid Constant told IA. “I got wrapped up in other campaigns. And my opponent out-raised me. I had too much other stuff. I was a terrible candidate. There’s no excuse.”

IA couldn’t reach Kepner for comment, but some insight came from a friend, Jodi Muirhead, who was elected to the Santa Clara Unified school board. Muirhead pointed out that Kepner’s name appeared on Democratic fliers and that she was supported by the South Bay Labor Council.

“Anne is very sharp and was well-prepared,” Muirhead told IA. “She and I did a seven-month class together to prepare for running for office, so we both felt confident that we were going to have strong campaigns.” Meanwhile, Constant says he’s finishing his dissertation in organizational leadership and hopes to get a real job soon. But, he adds, “I’m not going away.”

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Also in the Nov. 9th I.A. column were these topics that may or may not be of interest to you. Keep in mind that this goes back almost two weeks...

Controversy continues over the San Jose Police Department’s domestic violence investigation of 49ers defensive lineman Ray McDonald after prosecutors last week declined to charge him. Both Chief Larry Esquivel and Assistant Chief Eddie Garcia have been rapped for their acceptance of tickets to 49ers preseason games as part of the team’s annual law enforcement appreciation day.

Esquivel and Garcia both attended a 2013 game and reported it on their annual financial disclosure statements listing gifts of significant value they received as public officials. Garcia attended the same event this year, this time with Deputy Chief Jeff Marozick .

The chiefs have since repaid the team for the tickets. That came after controversy over an off-duty sergeant working security for the team. The sergeant was at McDonald’s house when officers arrived on the domestic violence call, which raised questions about the department’s ties to the Niners. The department has since indefinitely barred officers from working for the team.

But the city manager’s office said in a memo last week that city employees are expressly prohibited from accepting sports tickets and any other gifts valued over $50.

“The tickets were a mistake,” spokesman David Vossbrink said. “We’re making sure our staff are aware of the fact.”

Two anonymous complaints also were sent to the city’s independent police auditor, LaDoris Cordell, about the chiefs’ acceptance of the tickets. Cordell argued that accepting tickets to team games constitutes a violation of the department’s duty manual — and that reimbursement does not negate that. Garcia had earlier contended that SJPD didn’t get special treatment from the team, noting that other Bay Area cops, prosecutors and judges also attended the event. The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office, however, said none of its staff involved in the McDonald case attended the law enforcement appreciation games.

Pension reform battle takes on another legal wrinkle

San Jose city employee unions think they have found a new foothold in their ongoing legal battle to overturn voter-approved pension reform measures. The latest turn of the Measure B wheel came last week when an administrative law judge at the state Public Employment Relations Board ruled that the City Council needed to rescind its vote that placed the pension reform measure on the June 2012 ballot.

But the judge lacked the power to overturn the actual election results, so the measure stands.

Sound like a pointless exercise? But it may not be.

The city expects to appeal the ruling to the full Public Employment Relations Board, a process that could take years. If the ruling is upheld, the unions could then go to Superior Court and ask a civil judge to throw out the entire Measure B, including the voter results. That’s something the labor groups are already trying to do through a separate lawsuit currently in the appeals court.

City Attorney Rick Doyle acknowledged the risk of the second case but said that ultimately, with a few more legal rounds to go — and the ongoing possibility of an out-of-court settlement — that the latest ruling was “not the end of the world.”

“I think it’s tough to have a court throw that out,” Doyle said. “Voters spoke and we’re trying to make it work.”

But Christopher Platten, the union’s attorney, said simply that the ruling “kills Measure B.”

The administrative law judge, Eric Cu, concluded in making his ruling that the city did not negotiate in good faith before putting the measure on the ballot. That’s an argument the employee groups have been making all along, and one the city has repeatedly denied.

Liccardo’s mayoral election: steppingstone to nowhere?

Well, there goes Sam Liccardo ’s career in politics. By edging out Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese for the job of San Jose mayor, the 44-year-old San Jose city councilman has won the seat where careers go to die.

With one notable exception, no San Jose mayor has gone on to hold higher office — or any other office, for that matter — in more than 40 years. And in terms of political history, that’s pretty much forever. Of course, that exception is a big one: Norman Mineta served as San Jose mayor from 1971 to 1975 and went on spend the next 20 years in the U.S. House of Representatives and stints as the U.S. secretary of commerce and U.S. secretary of transportation. ( Sherman Otis Houghton, who sat in the mayor’s seat in 1855 and 1856 — several years after statehood — also served in Congress, from 1871-75.) But if you look around Mineta’s portrait on the wall in City Hall, it’s a political graveyard. Ron James and the late Janet Gray Hayes never served in office after being mayor. Tom McEnery ran for Congress in 1994 but lost a close race to Zoe Lofgren, who had the good sense never to be San Jose’s mayor.

There were high hopes for Susan Hammer, who made a speech at the 1996 Democratic Convention. But she never again ran for office. Similarly, political watchers saw a potential future in Sacramento for Ron Gonzales, who previously had been a county supervisor, but he left office under a cloud and with an indictment that was later dismissed. Today, he’s the CEO of the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley and seems to have no regrets about leaving the political arena.

And after eight bruising years battling budgets and public-employee unions, Chuck Reed has often said that he looks forward to his next job as a retired mayor. If Liccardo had any hopes for public employment beyond his early 50s, losing might have been his best shot.

Political watchdog fines Councilman Campos

San Jose Councilman Xavier Campos will be up to $5,500 lighter when he leaves office at the end of the year, as the state’s political watchdogs have ruled the embattled politician broke the rules when he ran for office in 2010.

The ruling by the California Fair Political Practices Commission comes after it had been investigating Campos over the past year in response to concerns raised over his controversial campaign for the District 5 council seat.

In that race, campaign mail against opponent Magdalena Carrasco incorrectly and illegally portrayed her as a communist, and Campos won the June primary by a razor thin margin. Campos friend and former employer George Shirakawa Jr. , The disgraced former county supervisor, has been charged with helping to send out the mailers. Voters kicked Campos out of office, giving Carrasco a resounding win in a rematch this June.

Now the FPPC has determined Campos and then campaign treasurer Linda Delgado — the mother of one of Shirakawa’s children — improperly documented campaign contributions in violation of three FPPC codes.

Campos and Delgado are responsible for the $5,550 total proposed fine, which the commission is expected to approve on Nov. 20, and it’s unclear how or if they’ll split it up. Campos didn’t respond to IA’s request for comment.

Internal Affairs is an offbeat look at local and state politics. This week’s items were written by Robert Salonga, Mike Rosenberg, Sal Pizarro and Paul Rogers. Send tips to <>, or call 408-920-5782.

• • • • •

What does it tell you about the ideology of the Mercury News’ editorial board when it adopts an ACLU report to make its case? This is from last Friday’s paper…

Elected Officials Need to Set Drone Policies

Editorial by the Editorial Board, Barbara Marshman, Editor
Mercury News — Nov. 14, 2014

An American Civil Liberties Union report released this week on government surveillance couldn’t have been more timely. The concerns it raised were echoed by residents Wednesday night at San Jose’s first public meeting on the drone that city police had acquired earlier this year without telling the public or the City Council.

Bottom line: Elected leaders, not police departments, should set policy for the use of surveillance equipment. This is the ACLU recommendation.

It’s also common sense.

Drones have great potential to save lives in search and rescue operations, bomb threats, hostage incidents — cases in which the safety of police officers, civilians or both could be at risk. But the potential for abuse is extreme, and the fact that San Jose’s police got their drone first and told people later hasn’t exactly nourished public trust.

Government at various levels is grappling with the use of new technology to gather information on Americans. But misuse is nowhere more dangerous than at the local level, where trust in the police is critical to public safety.

San Jose belatedly and other cities proactively need to set policies on what can be used and when — and on how those policies will be enforced.



Mayor-Elect, Police Union Have Chance to Ease Tensions

—New leadership affords shot to revisit officers’ pay, benefit issues—

By Robert Salonga and Mike Rosenberg, Staff writers
Mercury News — Nov. 9, 2014

SAN JOSE — The first big test of presumptive Mayor-elect Sam Liccardo’s leadership is already upon him, as he moves to ease the rancor between City Hall and the police union that opposed him.

No one expects Liccardo — a staunch backer of outgoing Mayor Chuck Reed’s pension reforms that he says saved the city from insolvency — or the officers who blame those same reforms for driving cops off the force, to back off their positions. But many see the pending change of leadership at both City Hall and the police union as the best opportunity to reset the conversation.

“Now that the election is over, I think we have all the space to recognize we have too much in common to be fighting the battles of the past,” Liccardo said.

Officer James Gonzales, incoming vice president of the San Jose Police Officers’ Association, signaled that the task won’t be easy.

“It’s not going to change unless dramatic things are done,” he said. “Immediately, if not sooner.”


San Jose City Councilman Sam Liccardo talks with
Mike Fox as he canvasses voters in San Jose.

Liccardo took the first step toward easing tensions by leading the City Council in a unanimous vote Friday not to investigate the police union for allegedly undermining recruitment efforts as part of a political campaign against the city.

That charge, which the union denies, arose with a former recruit’s published claim that the police union chief urged cadets to quit to bolster their case that pension reforms were decimating the police force and that recruiters were quick to reject her for failing a firearm safety test instead of retraining her. Surfacing just before Tuesday’s election, it was the latest flashpoint in an ongoing war between rank-and-file officers and city leaders.

Friday’s council vote, Liccardo said, was an olive branch from him and his allies to their biggest political foe. But for the union, the move only confirmed suspicions that it was driven by politics.

“It’s clear to everybody that it was a political stunt, and now that the election is over, this thing is dead,” said Sgt. Jim Unland, the outgoing union president.

But even Reed acknowledged that the changing of the guard offers Liccardo a fleeting chance to mend fences.

“It’s certainly an opportunity that Mayor-elect Liccardo will try to take advantage of to reset the relationship, and get everyone focused on trying to solve the problems we have,” Reed said. “Not that we necessarily agree on everything, but there are certainly some problems that we agree upon, so why not focus on trying to solve those problems?”

Liccardo has also dangled some ideas that may win some support among officers, such as trying to give away bilingual pay increases and letting retirement-age cops work part time while collecting a piece of their pensions.

Unland, however, doubted a change in tone would be enough to mollify the rank and file’s concerns.

“It’s not to say there weren’t personality issues complicating things, and I’m a dance partner in that,” said Unland, who plans to retire in January. “But taking personality issues out of equation, you still have a policy driving people away and making it difficult to recruit.”

While the police union denies urging recruits to quit, it has acknowledged relaying concerns about the city’s pay and benefits and, in one instance, hosted outside recruiters looking to hire existing officers.

Liccardo is holding firm on the existing efforts to control retirement costs for city employees, saying Reed “saved this city from fiscal calamity.” But he noted that the new union leadership knows it doesn’t have “the same emotional baggage” as its predecessors and can forge new paths.

“I say that not to point fingers,” Liccardo said. “But we’ve been through a very tumultuous political battle, and we know wounds result from that. And having new leadership, I think, has helped on the union side because I think there is an ability to think and look at things with a fresh perspective.”

Gonzales will be part of that new union leadership, along with Sgt. Paul Kelly, expected to step in Jan.1 as president. Gonzales said the closeness of the mayoral race would signal to city leaders that residents want them to soften their stance toward police.

“Our goals are to restore the Police Department and make our citizens feel safe in their neighborhoods again, and that comes from having a police department that is competitive, where people want to come work here and stay,” Gonzales said. “With the mayor’s race coming down the middle, we’re divided. The tone that has changed was from our citizens, not from leaders of either side. That’s where the pressure is going to come from to repair a broken police department and divided city.”

As it stands, the department has just over 1,000 sworn officers, down from 1,400 six years ago, and the past few police academies have been modest to anemic in terms of numbers. For the past three years, at least 100 officers annually have gone out the door by either retiring, some early, or taking jobs elsewhere, outpacing the number joining the ranks by nearly 2-to-1.

Another Bay Area city could be a harbinger for San Jose if the tenor of the discussion remains on its existing path. In Vallejo, retirement costs for cops and other public employees helped drive the city into bankruptcy in 2008, and the rancor between city leaders and police remains deep. City finances remain strained by rising retirement costs, and its plan for exiting bankruptcy has left a depleted and demoralized workforce.

But San Jose is in better financial shape. And Liccardo points to an 11 percent pay restoration as an example of gains that can be made while the sides and courts wrangle over voter-approved pension reforms.

“We have a strong incentive to work together to address outstanding concerns over disability and pay that I believe can go a long way to addressing the frustrations of many of our officers,” he said.



... the paper provides us with another reason nearly every week to be happier than a slinky on an escalator to be called “retirees.”

Size of Force Could Drop to 30-Year Low

—Current trends would leave city with fewer than 1,000 officers—

By Robert Salonga <>
Mercury News — Nov. 18, 2014

SAN JOSE — The number of San Jose police officers will fall to the lowest in three decades if current trends continue unabated, and even that projection hinges on an optimistic view of the agency’s ability to retain officers and recruit new blood, according to a new report.

A department report produced for Tuesday’s City Council meeting estimates that with current attrition and hiring, the number of sworn staff will drop from the current 1,010 down to 988 by July, which would mark the first time since 1985 that the force steadily fielded fewer than 1,000 officers. That same model projects a sworn staff of 949 by July 2017.

The report buffets that by laying out the department’s hiring goals, which would lead to modest staffing gains by factoring in three annual police academy classes of 45 cadets, a 50-percent increase over the currently aspired classes of 30. Before the current outflow of officers started in 2008 with recession- driven austerity measures, the department historically approached its 60-cadet capacity.

But the past two academy classes have fallen short of even 30 cadets, fielding 23 and 22 cadets respectively.

The projections also assume the current resignation rate of between three and four officers a month will remain steady.

Retention “continues to be a major challenge in maintaining current staffing levels,” states the report, which was signed by Chief Larry Esquivel and notes that the department has been challenged by a “lower qualified candidate pool.”

The chief’s report notes that the city set aside a $10 million reserve to bring the authorized number of police positions to 1,250. The department has not been able to meet its authorized staffing level since 2011 due to the aforementioned struggles with retention, with upward of 100 officers leaving each year from resignation or retirement for the past three years.

The money set aside for unfilled positions has been reallocated primarily to cover overtime costs to keep patrol and 911 response at baseline levels in the face of the staffing shortage. The city spent nearly $25 million in overtime to officers in the past fiscal year, according to the report.

An array of factors have been cited in the steady departure of officers, including an anticipated retirement surge of baby boomer hires and ongoing legal battles over pension and disability reform between city leaders and the police union. Some gains have been made, including an 11percent pay restoration, but other items such as a recovery of bilingual pay and a proposed part-time work plan for retirement-eligible officers are pending negotiation and approval.



Nov. 13th

Bill and Leroy,
Continuing thanks to you and Leroy for keeping us all informed. These days I am often away from home on business and look forward to each Thursday’s Farsider update to learn what’s happening.

A couple of months ago you asked if anyone knew what the “new” police building in south SJ was being used for. I’ve been in it several times in the past year for a variety of occasions and thought I'd share what I've been told and seen while there. Outside it looks pretty barren, and up to a month ago it was largely landscaped with weeds.

The room designated as a briefing room is on the first floor, seats about 100 comfortably and has been used a few times for guest lecturers on police topics. Most notably, the PD hosted the former LAPD Captain who was in charge of the Rampart Division during the time when there was significant notoriety about some of its officers’ actions and deeds that were in the public eye (CRASH). He spoke about his views of leadership. In an apparent effort to economize, the City did not put in things like a microphone system or a podium, although you can see the holes in the walls where speakers probably would have been designed to fit. Thus lecturers have to rely on a portable microphone and speakers on metal stands brought in for the purpose.

These days it has also been used a few times for police officer oral boards, scattering as many as twelve boards operating at a time across all three floors. On a most recent visit we were shown around during a break in an area about the size of the BFO Sergeant’s office in the PAC, which has been divided up into individual office cubes. I learned that the new Community Service Officer (CSO) program was assigned this space and that each CSO has their own work cubicle for their individual use. The cubicles are nicely apportioned, hold a desk, desktop links for laptop computers, chair, coat rack and five-foot tall cloth-covered wood and metal framed walls. It’s much like what you might see in any Silicon Valley office work environment. It sure makes the BFO Sergeant's office with shared drawers and table tops look pretty lame.

I also learned from a command officer that the PD is spending upwards of $100,000 to change the designed space throughout the building to accommodate SJPD’s own police academy. It seems that Evergreen Valley College is closing the present police academy and, in fact, after 2015 the land under it will be converted for use as a shopping center. Thus, San Jose needed space to run its own schoolhouse. Previously, SJ had internal academies using the old health building and some classroom space at PAB and the fourth street training building. That solution wasn’t seen as a long- term fix, so the PD is altering, temporarily, the design of the interior of the building to accommodate two or more simultaneous classes of recruits. It’s these temporary rebuilds that are costing money because the command staff wants to try and keep the option of opening the South Valley Station at some point in the future. It's a nice building, in some ways more secure than the PAB used to be. It has card key access control in place, again much like any other silicon valley mid-sized company might have. Any movement from the public area into the inner workings requires the presentation of the ID card. I remember we had something like this installed when the PAB building was doubled in size but that system failed after a while and the old PAB key still allows access throughout the old Mission Street PD buildings, but not in the new one. We were asked not to use the bathrooms on the upper floors as there is no janitorial service for the building and the cops assigned there were reportedly responsible for trash collection and cleanup.

(On Concealed Carry)

If I may, you asked in the Farsider about Attorney General Harris’ actions vis a vis private citizen’s ability to get CCW permits issued. I'm no expert, but I think that because the opinion is a 2-1 decision, she could ask for what is called an en-banc appeal where an eleven person Court made up of Appellate Judges from the Ninth Circuit could re-hear the case and issue what she might hope for, a different decision. Chances are not always good that this larger group would agree with her, however. In fact, if she loses in front of that body the US Supreme Court might defer to the en-banc decision and not grant Certiorari believing that this case had no applicable US issues, or that all issues had been adequately explored and adjudicated. Alternatively, she might be given leave to file, and the Supreme Court could rule against her entirely. Roll of the dice time.

Best regards to you two and your families as we enter the holidays and many thanks for your dedication.  

Jim McMahon <>
Retired Sgt. SJPD

• • • • •


Nov. 15th

Hi Bill,

Take that Job and…

What exactly were the proponents of the now passed proposition 47 really trying to tell us? They spent over ten million dollars getting it passed, so they must have had something they needed to say.

The Start Point: Walk the halls of any jail or prison and what you won't find are people who grew up in happy, healthy, protective, loving and caring households. That’s just not how it is. Most come from some type of broken, abusive, needy and beat down circumstances. Granted, there are exceptions here and there that we all can acknowledge, but the evidence far outweighs the exceptions.

Using that as a start point, unwind the reel and you will get the full picture: acting out in school, the principal's office, notes to parents, part-time school counselors, family therapists (for the lucky ones), social workers; maybe foster homes, Child Protective Services, etc, etc; the list is long. Then comes the Juvenile Court system, the police, court filings, judges, lawyers, witnesses, probation officers, more intervention by social services and then the always (until now) reliable rehabilitation sessions, individual therapy and support groups.

Then comes Adult Drug Court, two weeks County time, six weeks of rehab, check ins with Probation, the unemployment line. When that didn't quite do it, there are more bail hearings, lawyers, Drug Court, a longer stint in County for theft, misdemeanor assault, etc., and more mandatory rehab.

That still didn't quite do it, so there are a dozen or more trips going through the County system, the Police system, the Public Defender system, the Probation system, the unemployment system, the rehab system; before the judge finally has had it. All that energy and years and years of Family Court and Administration of Justice have not paid many dividends.

All that effort and the offender still has not turned the corner. In the Court's mind, enough is enough. Next time it's lock down prison time, more in-depth evaluations, more support groups and more rehab, but this time behind bars, and only if they qualify, and if there's room, and if they still want it.

The End result: With Proposition 47, everything gets thrown into reverse, and many offenders get back on the streets and return to their old ways, their old favorite Drug Court and the whole freakin' County system gets jolted into cardio. The already overloaded, over worked, over booked, stressed out and failed mess starts over with essentially the same players. There is so much rehab and so many support groups that everyone involved is either dizzy or numb by all the constant chatter. After the umpteenth time, everyone has long stopped listening. Nothing has seemed to help. Rehab has become institutionalized and synonymous with meeting the next 'buy' contact and making sleeping arrangements. The dark path leaves everybody involved stranded, strained, exhausted, confused and near despair. Now what?

Proposition 47 says this: We (the authorities) can't deal with it, we don't have the time or the energy or the manpower or the money. Here, you created it, now you can have it back; you take it. The tree of your permissive ways now comes back to bear fruit, and it's all yours. You can have your addiction drug culture, all of it. Search your own hearts and minds for the answers. We can't handle it any longer. Don't give us your crap any more; it stinks and we don't want it.

You caused it; from family, to schools to prison. You screwed things up. You didn't care enough. You could have prevented most of this whole ugly mess generations ago, but no; you chose not to take care, and now we're sending it back to your yards, your parks and your streets. You can't hide any longer, it's too late. Now you have to manage on your own. It's no longer our job. You can just take that job and solve it, or take that job and shove it. It's your choice. It's back in your court now.

That's my take on what the proponents of Prop 47 were trying to tell us.

(Scannell) <>


• • • • •

We asked Gary Johnson <> to share this letter he received from his Grandmother regarding next week’s Thanksgiving holiday…

Dear Family,
I'm not dead yet. Thanksgiving is still important to me. If being in my Last Will and Testament is important to you, then you might consider being with me for my favorite holiday.
Dinner is at 2:00. NOT 2:15, NOT 2:30. Two. Two o'clock. 2:00 PM Arrive late and you get what's left over.
Last year, that idiot Marshall fried a turkey in one of those barrel contraptions and practically burned the deck off the house. This year, the only peanut oil used to make the meal will be from the secret scoop of peanut butter I add to the carrot soup.
Jonathan, your last new wife was an idiot. You don't arrive at someone's house on Thanksgiving needing to use the oven and the stove. Honestly, I thought you might have learned after two wives. Date them longer and save us all the agony of another divorce.
Now, the house rules are slightly different this year because I have decided that 47 percent of you don't know how to take care of nice things. Paper plates and red Solo cups might be bad for the environment, but I'll be gone soon and that will be your problem to deal with.
House Rules:
1. The University of Texas no longer plays Texas A&M. The television stays off during the meal.
2. The "no cans for kids" rule still exists. We are using 2 liter bottles because your children still open a third can before finishing the first two. Parents can fill a child's cup when it is empty. All of the cups have names on them and I'll be paying close attention to refills.
3. Chloe, last year we were at Trudy's house and I looked the other way when your Jell-O salad showed up. This year, if Jell-O salad comes in the front door it will go right back out the back door with the garbage. Save yourself some time, honey. You've never been a good cook and you shouldn't bring something that wiggles more than you. Buy something from the bakery.
4. Grandmothers give grandchildren cookies and candy. That is a fact of life. Your children can eat healthy at your home. At my home, they can eat whatever they like as long as they finish it.
5. I cook with bacon and bacon grease. That's nothing new. Your being a vegetarian doesn't change the fact that stuffing without bacon is like egg salad without eggs. Even the green bean casserole has a little bacon grease in it. That's why it tastes so good. Not eating bacon is just not natural. And as far as being healthy is concerned, look at me. I've outlived almost everyone I know.
6. Salad at Thanksgiving is a waste of space.
7. I do not like cell phones. Leave them in the car.
8. I do not like video cameras. There will be 32 people here. I am sure you can capture lots of memories without the camera pointed at me.
9. Being a mother means you have to actually pay attention to the kids. I have nice things and I don't put them away just because company is coming over. Mary, watch your kids and I'll watch my things.
10. Rhonda, a cat that requires a shot twice a day is a cat that has lived too many lives. I think staying home to care for the cat is your way of letting me know that I have lived too many lives too. I can live with that. Can you?
11. Words mean things. I say what I mean. Let me repeat: You don't need to bring anything means "you don't need to bring anything." And if I did tell you to bring something, bring it in the quantity I said. Really, this doesn't have to be difficult.
12. Domino's and cards are better than anything that requires a battery or an on/off switch. That was true when you were kids and it's true now that you have kids
13. Showing up for Thanksgiving guarantees presents at Christmas. Not showing up guarantees a card that may or may not be signed.
In memory of your Grandfather, the back fridge will be filled with beer. Drink until it is gone. I prefer wine anyway. But one from each family needs to be the designated driver. I really mean all of the above.
Love you,


—Less than 30 tickets left— 

This year’s Christmas Dinner Dance will be held on December 13th at the San Jose Holiday Inn, 1350 N. First Street, San Jose, CA. All Retired KKC members attend free of charge, guest ticket is $75. Send your dinner reservation to Margie Thompson, 116 Fox Avenue, SJ 95110 and include your check for $75 (for guest).  

Retiree Cocktail Party — 5:30 to 6:30 pm
Cocktails General Members — 6:30 to 7:30 pm
Dinner — 7:30 to 9:00 pm
Dancing — 9:00 pm to Midnight

Special room rates are $89 plus tax per night (includes breakfast for two).  Call 408.453.6200 for reservations and Mention the KKC.

Complete and Mail:



Phone #_________________________________    


____   I’m Attending dinner dance            _____   Bringing A Guest?

Mail to: Margie Thompson, 116 Fox Avenue, SJ 95110. Tickets will be given at the door the night of the dinner dance.        

To receive only the form by email that you can print, send your request to <>



Listen up, you stupid people, this is important. We retract last week’s rant about the Mercury News' ignoring motormouth John Gruber — the MIT professor and major architect of Obamacare — who was captured on video several times admitting to his fellow liberal academicians (a/k/a the “intellectually elite”) that he and the Obama administration duped the American public into passing Obamacare through a series of lies, obfuscation and subterfuge, not to mention that on multiple occasions he referred to us, the American voters, as being “stupid.” It had to be painful for Mercury News’ Editorial Board editor Barbara Marshman to include the following OpEd by Charles Krauthammer in last Friday’s paper, which begs the question: Did Krauthammer’s syndication contract force the Mercury News to publish it?

‘Gruber Confession’ Tells Truth About Obamacare

By Charles Krauthammer — Syndicated Columnist
Mercury News — Nov. 14, 2014

WASHINGTON — It’s not exactly the Ems Dispatch (the diplomatic cable Bismarck doctored to provoke the 1870 Franco-Prussian War). But what the just-resurfaced Gruber Confession lacks in historical consequence, it makes up for in cynicism. This October 2013 video shows MIT professor Jonathan Gruber, a principal architect of Obamacare, admitting that, in order to get it passed, the law was made deliberately obscure and deceptive. Obamacare was sold on a pack of lies.

“Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage,” said Gruber. “Call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical to getting the thing to pass.” First, Gruber said, the bill’s authors manipulated the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which issues gold-standard cost estimates of legislative proposals: “This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes.” Why? Because “if CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies.” And yet, the president himself openly insisted that the individual mandate — what you must pay the government if you fail to buy health insurance — was not a tax.

Worse was the pretense that Obamacare wouldn’t cost anyone anything.

Skeptics pointed out the obvious: You can’t subsidize 30 million uninsured without someone paying something. Remember: The whole premise of Obamacare was that it would help the needy, but if you were not in need, if you liked what you had, you would be left alone. Which is why Obama kept repeating — Politifact counted 31 times — that “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan.”

But you couldn’t, as millions discovered when they were kicked off their plans last year, or discovered major hikes in their premiums and deductibles. It was their wealth that was being redistributed.

As NBC News and others reported last year, the administration knew this all along. But White House political hands overrode those wary about the president’s phony promise.

It’s not unconstitutional to lie. But it is helpful for citizens to know the cynicism with which the massive federalization of their health care was crafted.

Last week, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case claiming the administration is violating its own health care law, which specifies that subsidies can be given only to insurance purchased on “exchanges established by the state.” Just 13 states have set up such exchanges. Yet the administration is giving tax credits to plans bought on the federal exchange — serving 37 states — despite what the law says.

If the government loses, the subsidy system collapses and, with it, Obamacare itself. Which is why the administration is frantically arguing that “exchanges established by the state” is merely sloppy drafting, a kind of legislative typo. And that the intent all along was to subsidize all plans on all exchanges. Re-enter professor Gruber. On a separate video in a different speech, he explains what Obamacare intended: “If you’re a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits.” The legislative idea was to coerce states into setting up their own exchanges by otherwise denying their citizens subsidies.

This may have been a stupid idea, but it was no slip. And it’s the law, as written, as enacted and as intended.

Now we know what lay behind Obama’s smooth reassurances — the arrogance of an academic liberalism that rules in the name of a citizenry it mocks, disdains and deliberately, contemptuously deceives. Charles Krauthammer is a Washington Post columnist.

~ ~ ~

As general news items go, it looks like the Gruber-Obamacare issue has become such a hot potato that the mainstream media can no longer keep it hidden, and that includes the Mercury News. For those of you who watch Fox News and are familiar with what the MIT professor has stated a half-dozen times on camera, does this AP article capture the outrage of those who have followed what’s been going on? We report you decide…

Health Care Law’s Opponents Seize on Video of Adviser’s Comments

—Economist claims its passage relied on deception—

By Philip Elliott, Associated Press
Mercury News — Nov. 15, 2014

WASHINGTON — Newly surfaced videos are adding fresh energy to the efforts of congressional conservatives to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care law, feeding into their contentions that the overhaul was approved through a scheme of deception.

Some are calling anew for hearings on the law, which is about to begin its second year of coverage for millions of Americans. And activists are telling lawmakers to make good on their talk of scrapping the law or face defeat in the next elections. The videos show MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, an adviser in the law’s drafting, saying that “the stupidity of the American voter” helped Democrats pass the complex legislation.

“The Gruber clip has caught fire,” says David Bozell, whose ForAmerica group campaigns against the health care law online.

In one video, Gruber describes what he depicts as the behind-the-scenes political strategy of the law’s supporters. At a 2013 University of Pennsylvania public forum, he says Americans’ lack of understanding helped Democrats pass the legislation. Other impolitic statements have continued to dribble out in which Gruber claims that the law was written to deceive federal budget watchdogs and mocks conservatives’ concerns over health care policy. He has since disavowed the most controversial remarks, saying he “spoke inappropriately and I regret having made those comments.” Republicans, who made big gains during last week’s midterm congressional elections, have stood unified against the law they deride as “Obamacare,” and they now point to Gruber’s comments as yet another reason to dump it. They say the remarks show a cynical strategy by Democrats to camouflage the law’s politically unpalatable aspects and sneak them past an unsuspecting public.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is among those calling for hearings, perhaps including Gruber as a witness.

“This is what we complained about when we fought it for all those months on the floor. Nobody understood it,” Mc­Cain said. The videos have put Democrats on the defensive. Traveling with Obama in Asia this week, White House press secretary Josh Earnest defended the health law and said he would “disagree vigorously” with Gruber’s assessment.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, instrumental in the law’s passage, said she did not know Gruber — despite having cited his analysis at least once in the past during an on-camera briefing with reporters. “He didn’t help write our bill,” she said this week.

Both policy and politics are in play for the GOP. If congressional Republicans fail to push hard for repeal, they’ll face angered activists. As the head of one influential conservative organization met with activists in Georgia this week, the mere mention of Gruber’s name drew jeers and brought people to their feet.

“It certainly has lit a fire among the grass roots,” said Heritage Action for America CEO Michael Needham. “All it does is confirms what everyone knows: I don’t think anyone in this country thought this law was passed without obfuscation.”

“How can you put another red penny toward this program?” asks ForAmerica’s Bozell, “when the architect of it says the only reason it passed is a lie?”

Many Republicans contend there was a lack of transparency when the legislation was being put together. However, according to Democratic tallies, House lawmakers spent almost 100 hours and the Senate more than 160 in public hearings and debate on the measures, much of it televised on C-SPAN. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said Gruber’s comments show that “the president and his party intentionally hid Obamacare’s true costs.”

~ ~ ~


And then there’s this… 

Buzz Cut

By Chris Stirewalt
Fox News Digital Politics Editor — Nov. 17, 2014

Gruber was “some adviser” indeed

President Obama on Sunday called Jonathan Gruber “some adviser who never worked on our staff.” Obama told Chief White House Correspondent Ed Henry that he had “just heard about” the multiple times Gruber was caught on camera bragging about helping the White House exploit “the stupidity of the American voter” to pass the health law. But that sure doesn’t gibe with new DETAILS about the time when Obama summoned Gruber to the Oval Office for an emergency meeting with a handful of top advisers to salvage passage of ObamaCare amid a 2009 breakdown in the Democrat-controlled Congress. Given the president’s HUGELY CRUMMY REPUTATION FOR BEING FORTHCOMING about his signature law, it seems that blowing off questions about what appears to be evidence of an intentional lie in the crafting of the law would be a bad idea.

The professor was a campaign prop - President Obama’s re-election campaign featured the now-infamous MIT economist Jonathan Gruber in a video, in which Team Obama highlighted Gruber’s role in crafting ObamaCare to attack claims made by former Massachusetts Governor and 2012 Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Watch HERE.



Nov. 12 — 18

The heroic New York doctor who caught Ebola has been declared Ebola free. President Obama called the doctor to thank him for his selflessness and compassion. Then to be safe, Obama threw his phone in a trash can and lit it on fire.

RadioShack just announced that it will open most of its stores at 8 a.m. on Thanksgiving day. Of course experts say those stores would do better if they opened even earlier — like 1983.

RadioShack says it’s staying open to accommodate their target demo: people who forgot to bring an iPhone charger to their parents' house.

Randy Jackson announced that after 13 seasons, he will not be returning to “American Idol.” He said he wanted to go out when the show was on top, but then decided to wait another seven years.

It's rumored that President Obama is planning to announce a new 10-part immigration plan before Thanksgiving. And you thought your family wouldn't have anything to argue about this year.

Yesterday the Supreme Court lifted the ban on same-sex marriage in Kansas. They didn't give a reason for the ruling, but then again when a state is famous for a Judy Garland musical about a rainbow and a wizard who comes out of a closet, do you really need an excuse?

Prince took his first selfie yesterday with an actual camera, because his publicist says he doesn't own a cellphone. Or in other words, I guess he's still partying like it's 1999.

After a six-year battle, the Senate will vote next week to begin construction on the Keystone XL pipeline, which is an oil pipeline that runs from Canada to the Gulf Coast. They're hoping the pipeline will provide enough oil to cover Kim Kardashian's next photo shoot.

The pipeline would run from Canada to the Gulf Coast. It'll be the biggest underground structure leading into the U.S. Then people in Mexico said, “Eh . . . second biggest.”

This week Bill Clinton tweeted a photo of himself reading George W. Bush's new book “41.” Then George W. Bush responded to that post on Instagram. Then John McCain said "You two are hilarious" by telegraph.

There are reports that leaders from ISIS and al-Qaida met at a farm house in Syria last week, and agreed to work together against their common enemies. That story again: Two radical terrorist groups managed to do what two American political parties cannot.

We had to postpone our U2 week here because Bono broke his arm over the weekend. Our producers said, “Where will we find another talented Irish guy on such short notice?” and I said, “Ahem,” and they said, “Good point. We’ll just cancel.”

One Direction member Zayn Malik missed the group's concert on the Today show this morning because he was sick. Then he and Bono high-fived and spent the rest of the afternoon playing “Call of Duty.”

Kim Kardashian is heading to India to appear in the eighth season of the country's version of “Big Brother.” It makes sense that she’s going to India because if you're going to "break the Internet," that’s the place to be.

Yesterday Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria gave outfielder Giancarlo Stanton a 13-year contract for $325 million — marking the first time a team's owner was tested for drugs.

The Miami Marlins signed Giancarlo Stanton to a deal worth $325 million, which is the biggest contract in American sports history. When asked what he would buy with $325 million, Stanton said, “the Miami Marlins."

Washington state just had its first marijuana auction and ended up selling 300 pounds of pot for $600,000. And it was all bought by a customer from out of state — named Giancarlo Stanton.

It's rumored that Kim Kardashian may buy a private island near Australia. Because if there's one thing she can't live without, it's her privacy.

People in China criticized President Obama for chewing gum while entering the economic summit in Beijing. They're saying he looked like a rapper. Then again, to be fair, in China I look like a rapper.

At the economic summit in China, Vladimir Putin is being accused of flirting with the first lady of China. Then again, Putin does have a history of not respecting boundaries.

Yesterday the scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson fact-checked "Interstellar." Because if there's one movie I expect to be believable, it's the one where Matthew McConaughey plays an astrophysicist.

In Beaumont, California, two people have lined up over two weeks early at Best Buy for Black Friday. The two people said they're hoping to get a great deal on a life.

The Secret Service said there have been 40 fence-jumping incidents at the White House in the past five years. Half of them were intruders trying to get in. The other half was President Obama trying to get out.

Developers are working on a new app that gives you a 10-second warning before an earthquake. The app is called "Too Late."

Usher has announced that his next single will be available exclusively in boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios. The single is called "I Can't Believe It's Come to This."

Warren Buffett's company has bought Duracell for $6.4 billion. I think he overpaid because batteries were not included.

Pope Francis announced that next year he is coming to the United States, or as Fox News is reporting it, "Obama lets in yet another guy from South America."

President Obama has pledged $3 billion to aid poor nations. All of that $3 billion is going to the United States.

Yesterday the DEA raided several NFL teams suspected of giving prescription painkillers to their players. In its defense, the New York Jets’ doctor said, "We don't give painkillers to our players. We give them to our fans."

Yesterday U2 singer Bono injured himself in a cycling accident. Even worse, guitarist The Edge was accidentally sanded down to a rounded curve.

Charles Manson has applied for a license to marry his 26-year-old girlfriend, who calls herself "Star." There you go, folks, another eHarmony success story.

That's right, Charles Manson has applied for a license to marry a 26-year-old girlfriend. Must be tough for single women out there. First Clooney, and then Benedict Cumberbatch, and now Manson. All the good ones are taken.

Scientists say the European space probe that landed on the comet has detected organic matter. This means there could be either life in space or a Whole Foods. We just don't know.

This week a group of activists, known as Anonymous, hacked the Twitter account of the KKK. The KKK is furious. They said Anonymous is just a bunch of cowards who don't have the courage to show their faces.

Yesterday a couple of guys busted into a store here in the neighborhood and stole $2 million worth of money and watches. The police described them as armed and punctual.

Stocks are at an all-time high today. I don't have any money in the stock market. I don't have the stomach for the ups and downs. So about 20 years ago I put all of my money and liquid assets into videotape rewind machines.

Once you're president, you can't go anywhere without causing trouble. President Obama shows up in China, he's chewing gum, they go crazy. A big stink because the president's chewing gum. And you think, the Chinese are so easygoing about human rights. What's the problem?

Child labor, not a problem. Censorship, not a problem. Torture, not a problem. Chewing gum in China — oh, my God! You better not be over here chewing gum.

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade has new balloons this year including the Pillsbury Doughboy balloon and the first openly gay balloon. Also the Thomas Tank Engine balloon, and they even have the Ebola nurse balloon.

We thought New York City was home to 8 million rats. Turns out, that's a little high. The actual number is 2 million rats. That explains the light turnout for the midterm elections.

Doritos-flavored Mountain Dew is coming. You drink it, you get a combination of type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Big movie opens this weekend: "Dumb and Dumber To." It stars Alex Rodriguez and Jose Canseco.

The Pope is coming to New York City. He said he would like to hold audiences with the downtrodden. He's talking about the Jets and the Giants.

The Pope also said that while he's in town he would like to go see "The Book of Mormon."

Scientists discovered a virus that makes you dumb. And another virus that makes you dumber. You get the virus from eating green algae. That will cause the dumb virus to kick in. And I'm thinking: Seriously, you're eating green algae? I mean, you're already dumb.

Yesterday Charles Manson made the announcement that he’s getting married, and today he’s being congratulated by the voices in his head.

The Manson wedding ceremony will be in Venice with guests Brad Pitt, Bono, Beyoncé, Cindy Crawford, Tony Orlando, Bernie and Ruth Madoff, and Lou Rawls.

Here in New York City they are converting telephone booths into Wi-Fi hot spots. Because we have very few phone booths left, Clark Kent — Superman — has to use the men's room at Starbucks.

A "Duck Dynasty" musical is in the works. It's predicted to be very popular with fans of "Duck Dynasty" who also love musical theater. In other words, nobody. Actors who audition should be proficient in singing, dancing, and hiding their sexual orientation.

I wonder what the "Duck Dynasty" musical will be called? Perhaps "Quackin' in the Rain." "Fiddler on the Pond." Or "Hello Ducky."

A tiger has been seen running around Paris. Citizens were told to stay indoors and do whatever's necessary to protect the wine and cheese. They should leave home only to smoke and to judge others.

When Parisians first heard about a giant predator on the loose, they assumed it was Gerard Depardieu.

Happy 60th birthday to new-age star Yanni. It's also Prince Charles' birthday today. Here's the thing, though. He turns 66. One more six and you would have the number of the beast.

Prince Charles celebrates his birthday the same day "Dumb and Dumber To" opens. Coincidence?

Now Jim Carrey of "Dumb and Dumber To" and Prince Charles are very different, of course. One's a cartoon character with bad teeth who really makes me laugh. The other one is Jim Carrey.

"Dumb and Dumber To" might have a little bit of potty humor. If you don't like middle-aged guys telling jokes about pee-pee and poo-poo, why are you watching this show?

Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels refused to do this movie without each other. That's sweet. My sidekick Geoff and I have a similar agreement regarding talk shows. Unless Andy Richter's available.

We've got Metallica on tonight. For Metallica, it's nine studio albums, four live albums, 26 music videos, 37 singles, and one huge favor to a low-budget late-night train wreck.

The producers of this show worried that Metallica might trash the stage. Look at this dump. If they trash the stage, it will cause thousands of dollars of improvements.

The typical CBS viewer is not used to heavy metal. When the typical CBS viewer says "Enter Sandman," it's because he needs an afternoon nap.

Back in the day, there was antagonism between heavy metal fans and punk rockers. But bands like Metallica bridged the gap. If you were a punk, it was OK to like Metallica even though they had long hair and most of their teeth.

Today is Latvian Independence Day. It's been 96 years since Latvia broke free from Russia. And about two years until Russia takes them back.

It's also Mickey Mouse Day. On this day in 1928, the first Mickey Mouse film, "Steamboat Willie," premiered. Mickey Mouse is also a slang term for something cheap or poorly made. So around here, every day is Mickey Mouse Day.

There's a new David Bowie album. I'll explain. An album is a collection of songs meant to be played in order. And you're supposed to pay for it, not find it on your phone like spam. Hear that Bono, you bombastic but generous leprechaun?

David Bowie's new album is a greatest hits collection called "Nothing Has Changed." On the cover he looks in the mirror and says nothing has changed. When I look in the mirror I say, "Hello, grandpa."

The European Space Agency landed a probe on a comet 317 million miles from Earth. When you get discouraged by how much attention people pay to Kim Kardashian's buttocks, remember that there are also people out there that know how to land a spacecraft on a moving comet 317 million miles away. They're out there.

Sharon Osbourne announced that "The Osbournes" is coming back to TV. Sharon said Ozzy looked back on his life and he wished he could have done the show when he was clean and sober. Well, maybe he does, but we don't. We want a funny show.

Nobody wants to see Ozzy Osbourne on a treadmill eating yogurt.

Today is the day that only 10 years ago would have made no sense whatsoever. It's National Unfriend Day. This is a day I founded five years ago. National Unfriend Day is like a juice cleanse for your Facebook page.

National Unfriend Day is not fun, but you will feel like a new person. You go through the list of Facebook friends and say goodbye to people that aren't your friends. You don't have thousands of friends.

Think of it as "restrangering," not unfriending. If you would not invite them to dinner, they're not a friend.

Meanwhile, Facebook is showing no sign whatsoever that they will ever leave us alone. They're developing “Facebook at Work.” We already have a Facebook for people at work. It's called Facebook.

Tonight I am going to reveal the identity of People magazine's "sexiest man alive." I want you to know I withdrew myself from consideration. I didn't think it would be fair since I'm the one making the announcement.

Not only am I going to reveal the sexiest man alive, we're going to beam him in here via Skype to officially anoint him. I have never felt more powerful or less attractive than I do today.

“Sexiest man alive” is like the nuclear launch code of magazine covers.

The criteria for sexiest man alive is very strict. First, you must be sexy. Second, you must be alive. If you're ugly or dead, forget about it, you're not going to win. We'll see who wins in about 10 minutes. I hope it's somebody fat this year, I really do.

According to a new report, Detroit, Michigan, is the most dangerous city in the country with Oakland, California, coming in second. And the third most dangerous was somehow Detroit again.

Kobe Bryant last night missed his 13,418th shot, breaking the record for most shots missed in an NBA career. Said his teammates, “I’m open!”

According to recent reports, hipsters in the Middle East are being confused for jihadists because of their long beards. That's good.

Yesterday, while flying over Germany, the cargo door fell off of Bono’s jet. And somehow, it landed in my iTunes.

A teenager in Arkansas was arrested after he was caught driving without a license on his way to the DMV to take a driving test, tried to flee, and crashed into a police car. On the plus side, it sounds like he was probably going to fail anyway.

Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton has signed the biggest contract in American sports history, worth $325 million over 13 years. What could possibly go A-Rod?

A New York plastic surgeon has announced that he is creating “vacation breasts,” which are implants that would last two to three weeks. That’s amazing, isn’t it? Who gets a three-week vacation?

Last week a Florida woman and her 20-year-old daughter gave birth within three hours of each other at the same hospital. I guess there’s nothing like giving birth to take the edge off becoming a grandma.

Charles Manson is getting married — which is weird because I thought he was already serving a life sentence.

A man in California was arrested after he stabbed his potential employer during a job interview. Well, at least now he knows where he sees himself in five years.

Justin Bieber will reportedly spend the next two weeks with a pastor to learn how to spread the word of God. “It won’t be easy, but I think it will make me a better person” — said the pastor.



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

New Articles

• Were 37 million bees killed after a large GMO corn field was planted in Ontario?

• Did actor Macaulay Culkin die?

• Did astronaut Buzz Aldrin admit the Apollo 11 moon landing was faked using a movie set?

• Do Monster brand energy drinks use a Hebrew equivalent of the number 666 in their logo?

• Pepsi is making a Doritos-flavored Mountain Dew?

• Are ongoing tetanus vaccine campaigns in Kenya a ruse to sterilize women of childbearing age?

• Have hundreds of thousands of Thanksgiving turkeys been contaminated with Ebola?

• Can you can receive a $200 Macy's gift card by following three simple steps on Facebook?

• Did "Obamacare architect" Jonathan Gruber recently say Obamacare passed only due to the "stupidity" of the American voter and a lack of "transparency," and was video footage of his remarks deleted from the internet?

• Was an airliner saved by a pickup truck after its landing gear malfunctioned?

• Did dozens of people die of marijuana overdoses on the day recreational use became legal in Oregon?

• A dollar store princess wand called the "Evilstick" reportedly harbors a hidden image of a demonic girl cutting her wrists.

• Is a Facebook page giving away hundreds of PlayStation consoles because they have been unsealed and cannot be sold?

• A request from Bill Cosby on Twitter for fan-submitted memes backfired spectacularly.

Kissing bugs in the U.S. have been found to carry a disease-causing parasite.

• Eau Claire schools canceled a planned Veteran's Day ceremony over concerns about a 21-gun salute.

• A Canadian man's open letter to American voters goes viral.

• Does the Wendy's hamburger chain use horse meat in their burgers?

• Did a frustrated Chick-fil-A manager named Eric post a list of banned slang terms?

• Has a restaurant in Los Angeles been granted legal permission to serve dog meat?

• Did WD-40 run an advertisement in 1964 that was full of innuendo?

• Is Disney producing an animated film with openly gay characters?

• Has Purina Cat Chow caused several cats to become ill and die?

• Did a UN official lambaste the "entitlement" of the parents of slain Ferguson teen Mike Brown after they addressed the United Nations Committee Against Torture?

• Did a Maryland school district remove Christmas and Easter vacations from school calendars due to pressure from Muslim groups?

• Should dog owners avoid Exer-Hides brand rawhide chew products?

• Updated: Were voting machines in Cook County, Illinois rigged to favor Democrats?

We write stuff. But that doesn't necessarily mean people read it.

• Have Walmart stores started offering Halal meat in their grocery sections?

Did Congress eliminate the child tax credit, the earned income tax credit (EITC), and mortgage deductions from the tax code under pressure from lobby groups and the Koch brothers?

• Did NASA's Mars rover Curiosity find a fish fossil near the Windjana drilling target?

• Is Simon Malls fining store owners for every hour they refuse to open on Thanksgiving?

• Rumor says the Jim Henson Company is producing a sequel to 1986's Labyrinth.

• Are lottery winners sharing their fortunes with social media users?

• Do circulating images depict a "bloody" Muslim ritual that took place in Atlanta?

• 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 Steven Spielberg get his start in the film industry by sneaking into Universal Studios and commandeering an unoccupied office?

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.



Large or Full Screen recommended for YouTube videos.

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“Control, I’ll be in pursuit of…uh…never mind!”

This video received from Les Nunes of professional rally champion Ken Block piloting an 845 HP all-wheel-drive ’65 Mustang is one of the wildest, action-filled automotive clips we’ve ever seen. Watch as he tears up the surface streets and freeways in and around L.A., and note the number of LAPD patrol cars that were used to close off the streets. Les notes that the video is so well produced and subtle in spots that if you pay special attention at the 7:35 mark, you will see Ken passing the slow-speed chase of the LAPD following The Juice in the white Bronco on the Santa Monica freeway. Among the many sponsors of the big budget video were Ford and Go-Pro. Fasten your seat belt, click HERE and hang on. (12:08)

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The immigration issue Obama and Congress are wrestling over in Washington is likely to lead to more parodies like this one. Give a LISTEN to Rusty Humphries and his Beachboys-like rendition of “Sneaking’ in to the USA.” (2:47)

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Our opinion about this video is similar to Bob Tenbrink’s, except that we take it a step further. If these students at Texas Tech are indicative of the majority of college students around the rest of the nation, we might as well throw in the towel because THIS experiment we call America is sure to come to an end. (3:07)


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When these two musicians take the stage with their cellos in front of a mostly young audience they immediately get booed. But they soldier on despite the cat calls. Stick with the clip for at least 60 seconds and WATCH what happens next. (5:30)

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Behold this short Sci-Fi film promoting the Rosetta Project in which the ESA (European Space Agency) successfully landed a space probe on a big ball of ice and rock that is commonly referred to as a comet. The special effects alone make this worth VIEWING. (6:39)

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If you care about military aviation history you should find THIS video about the very first Air Force One of interest, and if you do, don’t be shy about sharing it with others. Hang around to the end and you will see why. (4:59)

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Both Lumpy and Paul Gardner felt THIS story told by Tony Orlando that was posted on Facebook should be worth a few minutes of your time, especially if you consider yourself a patriot. (4:53)

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Those of you who know what “auto-correct” means on your computer, tablet or smart phone should get a chuckle out of THIS Motel 6 ad received from Dirk Parsons. (0:30)

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Here’s a CONTRIBUTION for you avid football fans from my brother-in-law. It’s described as “The Greatest Comeback That Never Was.” (7:49)

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And from my sister-in-law came this clip that proves Thanksgiving isn’t just for humans. Note the little Pilgrim’s hats on THESE tiny critters. (1:51)

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Tip of the Week:

Have you signed up for Medicare Part G yet? It’s the new Nursing Home Plan for America's aging citizens.

Let’s say you are an ill senior citizen and the government says no nursing home care is available for you. So what do you do? This is where Medicare Part G comes in.

The plan gives any ill person age 65 years or older a gun, 4 bullets and a license to shoot four politicians.

This means, of course, that you will be sent to prison where you will receive three meals a day, a roof over your head, central heating and air conditioning, cable TV, access to a library and all the health care you require.

Need new teeth? No problem. Glasses? You got ‘em. How about a hearing aid, a new hip, knee, kidney, lung, heart transplant or a sex change operation? They are all covered. And because you're a prisoner, you no longer have to pay income taxes. As for visits, your kids can come see you at least as often as they see you now!

So who will be paying for all of this? The same government, of course, that told you they can't afford for you to go into a home.

Oh, and as a bonus, there will be four fewer politicians society will have to deal with, most of whom are lawyers. So it’s a win-win for 99 percent of the aging public.

Is this a great country or what?

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You former members of the Mounted Unit are going to love THIS clip received from Dirk Parsons. It shows what happened after a squid on a Suzuki GSXR popped a wheelie in Central London. (1:53)


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Check out the changing emotions on the face of this adorable little towhead as she sits in the backseat of her folks’ car and WATCHES a movie on the rear DVD entertainment system. (2:41)

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This is a feel-good STORY about a blind, dying fawn named Dillie that was nursed back to health and now has her own bedroom attached to her rescuers’ home in Canal Fulton, Ohio. (3:19)

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Want to learn a SIMPLE TRICK with a banana that is guaranteed to entertain a grandchild? Or you can prepare a couple ahead of time and amaze everyone at the Thanksgiving dinner table. (1:21)

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Note: We have not been able to confirm the following:

PBA President Dave Wysuph claims he heard that
former motor cops Bruce Morton and Brian Bennert
used this written test instead of the standard DUI
sobriety tests because they could administer it
without the need to dismount their motors.

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This news report about an apparently PREGNANT MOTHER and her young son panhandling, then driving off with her husband in a Mercedes might make you clench your jaws in anger, so be prepared. If it does, try to refrain from throwing a brick at your computer screen. (P.S. She might be wearing a pillow under her shirt for additional sympathy.) (2:46)

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This short clip of TIPS could prove useful under certain circumstances. Or not. Give ‘em a look. (1:57)

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A handful of readers sent in this music video titled “Dancing at the Movies.” It’s a compilation from nearly 40 Hollywood productions from Fred Astaire to Michael Jackson — all set to “Footloose” by Kenny Loggins. How many of the movies can YOU name? (4:44)

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Staying with the dancing theme, we decided to close this week’s Farsider with our two favorite flashdance performances. Why? Because we can.

This first one is, to our knowledge, the original performance that started the flashdance craze back in 2009. Making its third appearance in the Farsider are 150 dancers who gathered at the Antwerp Central Station in Belgium and broke out in dance to “Do Re Mi” from the "Sound of Music." Click HERE to watch the performers' happy feet. (4:01)

Our all-time favorite flashdance, however, is this one that was filmed in Moscow, Russia in Feb. of 2012. It's an encore presentation from two years ago. Far more elaborate than the "Sound of Music" performance above, this one is made up of hundreds of dancers who gathered together in cold and rainy weather to dance to Irving Berlin’s “Puttin on the Ritz” from 1929. If you have stereotyped the youth of Russia as seldom smiling and devoid of personality, you will be in for a big surprise. ENJOY. (5:40)

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Pic of the Week

It’s amazing what you can find on the Internet. For example,
this couple that posed for the painting “American Gothic”
were photographed standing next to the famous portrait.

What isn't widely known is that these two are their offspring...