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The Farsider

February 21, 2013


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


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



Fresh from the front page of today's paper is this article that shows how the police shortage is turning around and staffing for Bay Area law enforcement agencies will soon be back to normal, right? Well perhaps, but the citizens of San Jose shouldn't hold their breath...

Wanted: New Cops

—After years of cutbacks and layoffs, region’s law enforcement agencies are beginning to take on recruits—

By Joshua Melvin <jmelvin@bayareanewsgroup.com>
Mercury News — Feb. 21, 2013

After years of cutbacks, layoffs — and now climbing crime rates — police departments throughout the Bay Area have begun taking on new recruits again.

Over the past five years, of 13 Bay Area police agencies surveyed by this newspaper — including the California Highway Patrol, Oakland and San Jose — all but one have shed officers, a total of 981 cops, leaving 6,637. That’s a loss of 12.8 percent, forcing some departments to focus on responding to crime rather than preventing it.

But the rush of hiring will reverse the downward trend and begin to rebuild the forces, many of them undermanned and demoralized from years of reductions.

Authorities say the expected infusion of about 480 cops among the 13 agencies will beef up services such as street patrol and anti-drug units and even allow more officers to bust lead-footed drivers. Yet for larger departments, especially Oakland, San Jose and San Francisco, the incoming officers will mostly stabilize the ranks, which are being depleted by retirements and departures.

“We’ve turned a corner; we’ve changed directions,” said San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed. “We’re no longer shrinking, and now it’s a question of how long it will take us to grow.”

As California plunged into economic crisis in 2008, police departments across the state stopped recruiting new officers and some even laid off cops. San Jose, for the first time in its history, cut 66 officers in June 2011, bringing its ranks down to 1,106. Oakland made cuts a year before, losing 80 cops, which left it with about 695. Both cities have seen crime increase since the cuts.

Oakland’s killings hit 131 in 2012, an increase of 19 percent over 110 the previous year. San Jose, long called one of America’s safest big cities, had 46 killings last year, a two-decade high.

Dozens of recruits line up outside the Contra Costa
County Sheriff’s Office training site in Pittsburg on Feb. 9.
At top, Jordan Waters, of Turlock, carries a 165-pound
dummy as part of the applicants’ physical testing.

Police unions have argued the crime increases were directly tied to the cuts, but experts are less confident. Franklin E. Zimring, a crime expert and professor at UC Berkeley’s law school, said it’s not clear if those increases are troubling trends or “just variation that can come down as easily as it goes up.”

But violent crimes and property crimes statewide were up 6.8 percent in the first half of 2012 compared with the previous year, which is the biggest jump the Golden State has seen in 20 years of consistently falling crime, said researcher Mike Males of the San Francisco- based policy group Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice.

Recruits sprint Feb. 9 during a 500-yard run as part
of physical testing at the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s
Office Law Enforcement Training Center in Pittsburg.
The recruits also took a two-hour written test.

Officers on streets

A still sluggish job market and a small number of police jobs have sparked a feverish response to recent large-scale hiring efforts. Jerri Mannion, 22, of Wilton, was among a crowd that recently turned out for Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office recruit testing.

“It’s really competitive,” said Mannion, who has applied with eight agencies in the region. “There are so many people trying to get into law enforcement right now. There are so many applicants, you have to be the best of the best to get in.”

The approximately 480 officers the 13 departments plan to hire in 2013 would bring their ranks to 7,117. Some of the agencies, such as the California Highway Patrol, had gone several years without a mass recruitment, though many departments occasionally added already trained officers even in the darkest years of the recession. The current rush of hiring won’t necessarily mean a flood of new cops on the street. Authorities will cut some recruits; others will drop out during the months of academy and field training. Other barriers will also thin the influx.

For example, the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office says it has long struggled against deputies leaving for better paying jobs at other departments. So in addition to rebuilding after cuts — it has 59 fewer deputies than in 2008 — it must keep up with turnover.

“Our deputies and dispatchers are historically among the lowest paid in the Bay Area,” said Sheriff’s Office spokesman Jimmy Lee. “Accordingly, we are one of the few law enforcement agencies in the Bay Area that has continuous year-round testing.”

Similar to Contra Costa County, the hiring in San Jose, San Francisco and Oakland will mostly replace retiring officers or fill gaps left by layoffs or departures.

Despite this, the departments surveyed said the new officers will allow them to restore or beef up investigation and crime prevention. San Jose police Sgt. Jason Dwyer said the incoming officers could help provide sorely needed manpower to the city’s patrol division. That could bring faster response times to calls for help; the more officers, the faster they can deal with requests.

Daly City plans to hire six to eight officers this year and would like to use some of them to work in schools. The department cut back its community service bureau, which leaves two officers to do the work once done by eight. With the four new officers Hayward hopes to hire this year, plans are in place to assign more back to the traffic enforcement unit. Palo Alto is also looking at resurrecting its traffic unit, which was cut in July 2012.

No new services

None of the 13 agencies surveyed by this newspaper said it planned to offer new services. Some of the changes, such as having victims of less serious crimes fill out their own reports online, are here to stay.

In Oakland, the bolstered staffing will be part of an effort to bring officers into neighborhoods where they can get to know the community and who is behind crimes.

“When you have more police, you have less crime, but it’s not just the number,” said Oakland Mayor Jean Quan. “It’s having them deployed on a geographic basis where they actually know the community and strengthen community policing. Those two things bring down crime significantly.”

Staff writers Natalie Neysa Alund, Erin Ivie, Daniel Jimenez and Robert Salonga contributed to this report. Contact Joshua Melvin at 650-348-4335.



TV news clips about the SJPD over the past week included this one from last Saturday by KTVU Channel 2. (2 Mins.)

San Jose On High Alert Due to Spike in Crime


• • • • •

Looks like the POA has won the first of two rounds relating to the re-election of Rose Herrera...

FPPC Fines Committee that Backed Rose Herrera's Re-election

By Tracy Seipel <tseipel@mercurynews.com>
Mercury News — Feb. 15, 2013

SAN JOSE -- The state's political watchdog commission has proposed a $2,500 fine against an independent committee that supported the re-election of San Jose Councilwoman Rose Herrera last fall.

The penalty is based on one of two allegations in a complaint filed with the California Fair Political Practices Commission in mid-October by the San Jose Police Officers' Association, which opposed Herrera.

The FPPC found that the committee backing Herrera violated state law by failing to disclose the names of its largest contributors in a mass mailing. But the FPPC said the committee had cooperated during its review and that its failure to include the required disclaimers was not intentional. Because the committee immediately agreed to cease any mailings with the inadequate campaign disclosures, the FPPC lowered the fine, which could have been $5,000 plus up to three times the cost of the mailings.

The police union also alleged that a $100,000 donation to the San Jose Reform Committee Supporting Rose Herrera for City Council 2012 violated campaign laws governing the transfer of money between political committees because it came from a committee linked to Mayor Chuck Reed's Measure B pension reform campaign.

Herrera is a Reed ally who supported the mayor's pension reform Measure B, which San Jose voters passed overwhelmingly in June. Herrera's opponent, attorney Jimmy Nguyen, was supported by an independent committee funded by the police union, among others. The union is fighting Measure B in court.

In a five-page FPPC report Friday, the commission only addressed the mailing violation. The allegation about the $100,000 contribution is still under review.

"We're appreciative that the state's political watchdog confirmed that the committee supporting Rose Herrera violated the law, and we eagerly await the outcome of the ongoing investigation of Mayor Chuck Reed's illegal funneling of $100,000 to further support Rose Herrera," said Tom Saggau, spokesman for the San Jose POA.

Matt Mahood, chief executive officer of the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce, which helped establish the independent committee to support Herrera, said the group learned a good lesson.

"Once we were notified of the technical violation," he said, "we took immediate action to correct the error and to ensure that it would not happen again in the future."

Both sides have agreed to the fine, which must be signed off by the FPPC's board at its Feb. 28 meeting.

• • • • •

The I.A. column in last Sunday's paper addressed the issue of the Austin (TX) PD recruiting San Jose cops with the knowledge and assistance of the POA...

S.J. Police Union Helps Austin Recruit City Officers

Mercury News - Feb. 17, 2013

It isn’t just Texas Gov. Rick Perry who’s looking to lure Californians to the Lone Star State.

The San Jose Police Officers’ Association hosted the Austin Police Department last Tuesday to promote Austin’s effort to recruit the city’s cops. Austin was seeking city officers chafing at pay and benefit cuts brought on by the soaring cost of their city retirement pensions. It’s not the first time the SJPOA has hosted outside recruiters in recent months.

But critics feel the officers’ union is being hypocritical by inviting recruiters to poach city cops. The SJPOA has argued that the department is dangerously short-handed and blamed Mayor Chuck Reed’s pension reforms for driving officers out and allowing crime to spike. A recent newsletter likened the department to the sinking Titanic.

“Truly counterproductive behavior” was how Councilman Pete Constant, a Reed ally and former San Jose cop, put it, arguing that the union is “encouraging people to leave” the force and further jeopardizing the safety of remaining officers and the public. “Their energies would be much better used in looking for ways we can increase the size of our department rather than decreasing it.” SJPOA consultant Tom Saggau said that while continued police departures are “a concern,” officers are free to pursue other job options.

“People are filling out applications all over the state and the region,” Saggau said. “It’s going to get worse before it gets better.”

It’s worth noting the context: While the San Jose police union has stymied Reed’s voter-approved pension reforms with lawsuits, it’s in contract renewal talks with the city and seeking raises totaling 16 percent over three years. Reed and his City Council allies have said the city can’t afford that without cutting libraries and other programs but have suggested smaller, one-time retention bonuses to keep officers on the beat.

Austin’s police recruiter, Lt. Jerry Gonzalez , said the recruitment trip was a success. About two dozen San Jose cops showed up and more than half are potential candidates to join his department.

San Jose has been scrambling to recruit more officers, and hundreds have applied. Deputy City Manager Alex Gurza said San Jose’s retirement plans appear similar to Austin’s and that salaries are much higher. The base salary is $97,198 for a veteran officer in San Jose, compared with $82,553 in Austin.

“We are still an attractive place to work,” Gurza said, “and we still have police officers who want to work here.”




Meyer Weed got a little wordy this week and wrote this blog entry about last week's "San Jose Inside.com" article entitled "POA Wants What's Best for Members: Helps Facilitate SJPD Exodus." It was authored by Kathleen Flynn and we included it in last week's Farsider. This is the link to Flynn's opinion piece if you want to review the numerous readers' comments that appear below the article...


Feb. 19th

Open letter to Kathleen Flynn

There is a thread on San Jose Inside regarding SJPOA hosting recruiters from the Austin Texas Police Department. I composed this response to many of the things Ms. Flynn posted. The problem is, I exceeded the character limit for posts by nearly 2000, so the piece was rejected. I don't feel like editing it so I am posting it here.

Kathleen, we appreciate the support for public employees and public safety specifically. We appreciate your range of advocacy and understand your desire to “build bridges” and mediate. But you can't mediate math. With fewer employees and the same amount of work, employees have no choice but to do more work. Unfortunately more “hours in the day” aren't included with the “more work” part, so the work has to be prioritized, and the lower the priority, the less likely it is to get done.

First, SJPOA, Fire and MEF all held press conferences pre-Measures V, W and B. All media were invited. Sometimes they showed up, sometimes they didn't. The media picks and chooses what they show up to and what they report on. All received press releases covering what they attended and what they chose to ignore. I am just one voice, but I had extensive email exchanges with the Merc's Herhold and others trying to educate them to the public employees' side of the story. Herhold said our version was “too complicated for the common man to understand.” Woolfolk chose/chooses “job security” by reporting the City's side  and is taking a wait and see approach if/when the City's efforts fail. I gather he wants to do some sort of retrospective look at the situation sometime in the future.

The unions did waste plenty of money on full page ads in the Merc. I say “waste” because I'm not sure anyone reads the Merc in print. I understand that they may have had to pay to have Op-Ed letters published (the Merc is a business you know). Did you read any of them?

Police and Fire are not “punishing” you or anyone else over the passage of the ballot measures. It is simple math. There are fewer police, fewer firefighters, fewer librarians and fewer pollution control employees, deputy city attorneys, park maintenance workers, code enforcement officers, fewer workers in streets and traffic and every other classification... Oh no, wait, the Mayor has the same number of advisers as does every council member, and hey, the IPA (Cordell) got a raise and increased her office budget and the size of her staff!

What's the point? Someone forgot to tell the crooks that there would be fewer cops and to take their business elsewhere. They forgot to tell residents to stop calling 911 when their house was on fire, or their child was drowning in the pool, or Dad was having a heart attack. Police and Fire with fewer cops and firefighters get at least as many, if not more, calls to answer. We still have the same number of parks that need tending and the same miles of asphalt, libraries, meters, red zones and toilets flushing.

Meanwhile, the IPA ramped up “community outreach” to help make SJPD even more professional than the world thought it was. She (with her increased budget and staff) has justified her existence by exponentially increasing the number of complaints her office fields with no corresponding increase in exposed problems within the SJPD.

San Jose employees are burned out. Fewer coworkers and the same amount, if not more work, means those who remain are doing more work. There is mandatory overtime which the City and its taxpayers love because (1) It isn't pensionable, contrary to what anyone in the media or the City Council says; (2) Contrary to urban legend in SJ, most overtime is paid in “Compensatory Time Off” and not in cash, and (3) It is cheaper to pay in cash and compensatory time off than it is to hire and pay salary plus benefits, even though CTO is an unfunded liability that negatively impacts the City's bond/credit rating.

Yet, you and others will cross your arms and stomp your feet and demand that SJPD detail non-existent resources to bust a guy who lights fireworks on the Fourth of July of all days! When it is calmly and rationally explained why this is not a priority in the grand scheme of policing a city of 1 million when there are fewer than 90 officers for the entire City, you stick your fingers in your ears and hum. You complain to the Lieutenant, the Captain, the Chief and the Council that heads should roll. Perhaps next year there will be a squad of officers detailed to ensure that the guy with the patriotic fireworks is dealt with. Where were you these last few weeks during the “Lunar New Year” celebrations and the accompanying pyrotechnics? Do you know that the same City Council and command staff who placated you with promises of action next 4th participated in the “Lunar” celebrations complete with illegal fireworks? That the security at sanctioned celebrations (complete with illegal fireworks) was required by the City to be provided with SJPD officers and the Office of the Chief's Secondary Employment Unit? Reality check!

Again, no one is “punishing you.” I have no doubt that you voted against Measure B (thank you!), but it is a cliché now for folks to point out when they “need” the police that they voted against the measures. (Kind of like “I was at Woodstock.”) It is quite amusing to hear about all of the citizens out there on the neighborhood blogs who have taken the law into their own hands. Any idea how many times a cop has heard from these modern “internet tough guys” something to the effect of, “I want to remain anonymous” or “I don't want to identify the crook because I am afraid he will retaliate against me!”

As we have heard time and time again from the Mayor, Council and the Merc, the voters “overwhelmingly approved Measures V, W and B by more than 70 percent.” This is small “d” democracy in action. The Mayor went outside of an existing contract and convinced a majority of the minority of voters to change the City Charter and enact pension reform. Reed will be termed out in less than 2 years, yet the citizens and employees will suffer as a result of Reed's decision to reform pensions the way he did for years!

Personally, I think SJPD should put a priority on the neighborhood nuisance calls as improving the quality of life would certainly generate good press for the police. In reality this is wishful thinking because we all know how the media and a vocal minority in the public makes mountains out of mole hills when murderers, robbers and rapists are taken off the streets. Most of us have been around long enough to know that we are damned if we do, and damned if we don't.

As for scholarships? No thank you. We will seek and earn our own. The terms will be known and we will accept or reject awards accordingly. This way we can ensure that there are no strings attached, or favors that can be called in later.

Community appreciation barbecues? Again, no thanks. Don't want 'em, don't need 'em. We need to feed, clothe and house ourselves and our families 365 days a year. You want to thank us? Compensate us in the manor specified in the contracts that the City and the unions negotiated and agreed upon. If the City can't uphold its end of the contract, we understand. Times are tough for everyone, so let's return to the negotiating table and work this out together. But don't insult us with claims that we are to blame. We did nothing except show up to work with and without contracts. When the City needed us to give up 10 percent, we gave. But we have now learned that we were mislead into believing our sacrifice was temporary. Once again the City lied, and we are left with no choice but to appeal to the courts to make us whole.

More City employees living in the City Limits? First, the cost of living is too high, even with the salaries employees were making prior to the 10 percent cuts. Those who owned homes in town took their profits, but had to move out of town to be able to afford anything livable. Second, all bargaining units at one time or another have asked the City to provide incentives such as low interest loans to live inside the City limits. The City's answer has consistently been, “No Way!” The only exception to this is for certain City Department Heads who can negotiate their own contract terms with the City. Remember Barbara Attard, the previous Independent Police Auditor, who scored a condo that was subsidized by the taxpayers? Her contract wasn't renewed, the condo went upside down, she skipped out on the loan, and now the taxpayer is picking up the tab for the condo. That debacle should give everyone insight into the character of the person who the Mayor and Council appoint to be the watchdog of police integrity. It should also give everyone insight into the integrity of the Mayor and Council who appointed her. There were a number of federal programs that offered subsidies to police officers who purchase homes in cities where they worked, but they required home purchases in the worst gang-infested neighborhoods in SJ and are/were not an option.

Unfortunately, this bad blood isn't going away anytime soon. You didn't create it and neither did the employees. The bad blood between the City and its employees is a sad fact of life. Reed has declared that should Measure B fail in the courts, he will resort to more pay cuts and layoffs. In his recent State of the City speech, restoring pay is his third priority behind restoring services and hiring. He clearly is out of touch with reality as the City continues to loose trained and experienced employees to other employers who pay better. And the City is failing to attract applicants for existing vacancies because its compensation package is far below “market rate," and so it goes. The City isn't getting any smaller and its decline isn't slowing, yet the one thing that would turn the tide (competitive pay/benefits) is a non-starter under this regime.





Results from last week's poll...

For the most recent Rasmussen Reports releases, click here:



Feb. 15th


This subject has bugged me for some time. One of the most common gun term mistakes thrown around is the word "clip," referring to the device inserted into a firearm to arm it.

A magazine is a spring-loaded device that feeds the weapon itself.  A clip is used to feed the magazine. For example, the M1 Garand uses a clip, whereas an AR15 and a Glock 22 use a magazine. I realize there are rare exceptions to the above, however, the word "clip" that is thrown around by the media is most often used incorrectly.

Thanks for your patience.

Bob Tenbrink #1468

• • • • •


Feb. 15th


From the proposed bills California is considering, it appears we will join Canada on the gun control issue of registration preceding confiscation. One of the bills specifically targets the 166,000 "assault weapons" that were registered in CA when the first "assault weapon" ban was passed. These are the rifles commonly referred to as pre-banned, and to my knowledge, very few if any have been used in crimes. If there had been, the anti-gun crowd would have been screaming it at their press conferences.

On one hand, it would be relatively easy to collect them in California since the state knows who has them. On the other hand, it would be more difficult than in Canada since some of the weapons have likely been sold in other states where there is no paperwork to trace them, and some of the owners have probably moved to other states. However, the weapons in question could easily be placed in a data base that shows it's a felony to possess one in California and illegal to sell in another state.

With the Feds pushing for a nationwide background check (which means registration) on every sale, the government has tools in place to seize any type of gun that is later deemed to be illegal. I personally do not trust the powers that be or any future powers to have those tools and not use them.   

Joe Unland


• • • • •


Feb, 16th


For general information related to firearms, this site has detailed assembly instructions and blow-up diagrams for every rifle and handgun made. Just search the site for your brand and model number and download the info for free. And consider saving the data on a CD and placing it in a zip-lock bag for future use if needed. Click on this link:


Jack Baxter <drjoaquin1525@gmail.com>


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Feb. 20th


For  the Farsider, how about a survey on how retirees feel about the MERGE T-shirts with the skull and crossed rifles/carbines? I hate to agree with LaDoris Cordell, but I think the shirts send out a very unfortunate, if unintended, image of the SJPD. Those officers are very much respected by all for their training, expertise and willingness to take the point on whatever hairy situation might arise next. But the skull sends a wrong message. Think of the LAPD officers shooting at a wrong vehicle while looking for Christopher Dorner and injuring two innocent women? Wouldn't their lawyer like to have a T-shirt like that to hold up to a jury?
Anyway, if you like the idea of a vote, sorry it's a little late for presstime this week.  But if our membership avoids a knee-jerk reaction in support of the "Us versus LaDoris" issue, maybe it could have a salutary message go out to the troops in question.


Hi Bob. I seriously doubt there is more than a small handful of readers — if any — who would agree that a T-shirt bearing that design was a smart idea, and I don't think we need a poll to establish that. Even if we ran such a poll and it confirmed that the vast majority of retirees disapproved of the design, it wouldn't have an impact because there is a disconnect between us (the retirees) and them (the actives). Furthermore, when we first covered this issue in the Farsider back in December it was a "proposed design," and I'm not aware if the T-shirt actually went into production. As for it being criticized by LaDoris Cordell, I also doubt that anyone's opinion about the Independent Police Auditor is going to change, even though they may be in agreement with her over the T-shirt issue.



By Officer Robillard

It's 1963. Downtown is not only the center of the business community for the city, but also for Santa Clara Valley. It was the bustling hub known as The Valley of Hearts' Delights as all of the major department stores were located in the downtown area. At First and Santa Clara was Roos Bros., and on the opposite corner was J.C. Penney.

Shortly before 5:00 p.m. on March 22, 1963, a violent explosion shook the downtown area after a 6-foot-tall boiler exploded in the bottom of the J.C. Penney store, destroying the Thrifty Drug store that was on the main level of the building. The catastrophic event killed 3, injured over 70 and scattered glass and wreckage into the city's main intersection of First and Santa Clara. Along with fire and medical responses, the SJPD responded in force and utilized its police station wagons as ambulances to transport the injured to nearby hospitals. It was an event that made national news.

Fast forward to several years later when an enterprising Records Sergeant came across an audio tape of the emergency radio transmissions of the event. The Records Division at the time was located on the ground floor of the former City Hall at 1st and Mission streets (801 N. First for you perfectionists).

Thinking that the Records' ladies might find the tape interesting, the Sergeant decided to play it for them one morning during the Records briefing. What he overlooked was that the interior walls of Records did not run from the floor to the ceiling; instead, the walls left about a two-foot gap between the top of the walls and the ceiling, and located next to the briefing room was the Patrol Captain's Office.

At about 0730 one morning, eight to ten ladies were engrossed listening to the actual radio transmissions of the emergency. When the Captain next door heard the portion of the tape where personnel on the scene were heard to call "Send more ambulances to 1st and Santa Clara," the Captain immediately sprang into action by punching up his direct line to Communications and bellowed, "Get more ambulances to 1st and Santa Clara." The dumbfounded Senior Radio Dispatcher could only stare at the phone in his hand; he had no idea what was going on.

Again the tape the ladies were listening to in the briefing room barked, "Send more ambulances to 1st and Santa Clara," and again the Captain picked up his phone, punched in the number for Communications and directed that more ambulances be sent to the scene.

This time the Records Sergeant heard the Captain in the adjacent cubicle on the phone to Communications and immediately realized what was happening. He quickly turned off the tape recorder and walked a few feet to the Captain's cubicle and advised him he was playing a tape of the Penney's explosion for the gals in Records.

It goes without saying that the incident resulted in a few red faces. But then, the asphalt jungle of the SJPD is replete with red-face stories. We'll explore more of them as time goes by.

~ ~ ~

A simple Google search turned up this news clip of the aftermath
of the 1963 Penney's explosion that made national news...


For more information about the catastrophic
event, click on any or all of the links below...






The facts behind the legends, information and
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"Vote early and often" is often used as a humorous cliché that is likely to have originated many years ago in Chicago. But some people have taken that concept to heart, as this Feb. 8th news clip from a local ABC affiliate in Cincinnati shows. If ever there was a pro-argument for voter I.D. — which Progressives adamantly oppose — this clip and numerous others you can find on YouTube by searching for "voter fraud" should prove the point. (3 Mins.)


It took over a week for Fox News to pick up and confirm the story, but it was finally covered on Greta Van Susteren's show on Feb. 19th. (2 Mins.)


• • • • •

Mega kudos to whoever put this website together. It's for anyone who has even a mild interest in aviation as it includes 179 individual video clips detailing the history of aircraft from World War I up to the present time. Several of the older clips are from those Universal Newsreel films that used to accompany movies many of us saw in theaters when we were kids in the '40s and '50s.


• • • • •

Speaking of aviation, this is the story about a Pan American Clipper Flying Boat that was in the air when Pearl Harbor was attacked and war immediately broke out between Japan and the U.S. To get home to America safely, the 11-member crew had to endure a high-risk, 31,500-mile roundabout route from Auckland to New York City. It's an incredible story about endurance and luck. (5 Mins.)


I was too young to have ever flown on a Pan American Clipper Flying Boat that brought world air travel to the rich and famous in the years leading up to World War II. I was, however, privileged to fly at government expense from Alameda to Honolulu at the ripe old age of 10 with my family in 1953 on a similar Navy seaplane called the Philippine Mars when my military father was transferred to his final duty assignment at Pearl Harbor. Compared to air travel today, the 2,400-mile overnight flight in the unpressurized seaplane flew at an average altitude of 10,000 feet and took a full ten hours. Simple division will provide you with our average airspeed.

Using rockets to help it into the air, the Philippine
Mars departs Alameda for Honolulu (circa 1955).

• • • • •

There's no need to go out and buy a copy of Esquire if you want to read the story about the SEAL who nailed bin Laden. It's on the Internet for all to see, and you can access it here...


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After watching the investigative news video embedded in this article received from Dirk Parsons, some cops might cynically quip: "If I was a cop in Chicago I'd have to be half buzzed to go to work." (4 Mins.)


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Heineken appears to have tried to resurrect the Speakeasy that was popular during the prohibition era with this short commercial we received from Lumpy. (2 Mins.)


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Some people are critical of celebrities and politicians using their fame and notoriety to push commercial products. Here's an excellent example that Jay Leno recently pointed out during his monologue. (1 Min.)


• • • • •

Congrats to these Purdue University's Mechanical Engineering students who accepted Coca-Cola's challenge to come up with the most outrageous way to share a coke. They done good. (3 Mins.)


• • • • •

If you remember "Flipper" the dolphin, here's an incredible freak of nature story and a video that backs it up, courtesy of Tom Macris...

Mysterious Seven-Mile-Long "Super Mega-Pod" of 100,000 Dolphins Spotted Off CA Coast

Feb. 19, 2013

A "super-mega-pod" of over 100,000 dolphins was spotted Thursday off the coast of San Diego as they traveled together in a gigantic pack.

Joe Dutra, captain of Hornblower Cruises, who was out on his daily tour with a group of nature watchers said that the enormous pack of traveling dolphins must have been more than seven miles long and five miles wide.

"When you see something like that it is truly beyond belief," Dutra said after seeing the moving pod first hand, according to NBC San Diego.

"They were coming from all directions. You could see them from as far as the eye can see," he added. "I've seen a lot of stuff out here but this is the biggest I've ever seen, ever. You had to be there to experience it. It was truly spectacular"

Dolphins generally travel in packs of between 15 and 200 that are called pods. However, what the nature watchers spotted on Thursday is best described as a "super mega pod" given the sheer size of the group.

While experts do not know exactly why so many of the marine mammals were traveling together on this particular day, some believe that the dolphins may have grouped together because of the area's abundant amount of food such as sardines, herring and squid.

"They're attracted to the same thing and might wind up in the same place," marine expert Sarah Wilkin told NBC. "They're social animals, they stick together in small groups. Sometimes, the schools come together."

Although the super dolphin pod may seem like a very rare occurrence, experts said that a very similar flock of thousands of dolphins were seem swimming together in February 2012 about 65 miles north of San Diego, suggesting that there may be an unknown migratory pattern that dolphins take on each year.

And here is a video of the super-mega-pod. (2 Mins.)


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Do dogs have dreams? This compilation video received from Don Hale shows that they apparently do, which probably won't surprise those of you who own a dog. (4 Mins.)


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Speaking of dogs, what's the story behind this police report written by a British police K-9 named Peaches? Click on the link below sent in by Ken Hawkes and ye shall learn that some people in the Her Majesty's justice system are seriously lacking a sense of humor...


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Who needs a safe when you can hide your guns and other valuables in plain sight, providing you have tons of dough to spend. (4 Mins.)


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Imagine a golf course specially designed for disabled war veterans. That's what we have here at the American Lake golf course in Tacoma, WA. Have a look at this clip sent in by Guy Bernardo. (5 Mins.)


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Oh, those fun loving Lutherans, what will they think of next? Check out the St. Luke's Bottle Band from the St. Luke's Lutheran Church in Park Ridge, Illinois. What better way to put empty beer bottles to use than to turn them into musical instruments and entertain the congregation with the band's signature rendition of the Peacherine Rag, as shown in this clip received from Bruce Morton. (2 Mins.)


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In closing, Dave Wysuph wanted to know if this story was fit to print? We'll let you readers who managed to get this far in the Farsider decide...

An old cowboy walked into the barbershop for a shave and a haircut. After he was seated, he told the barber he wouldn't be able to get all his whiskers off because his cheeks are so badly wrinkled from age.

The barber looked the face over, then picked up a little wooden ball from a cup on the shelf and told the old cowboy to put it inside his cheek which would spread out the skin.

When the barber was finished, the old cowboy told the barber it was the cleanest shave he's had in years. But he wanted to know what would have happened if he had swallowed the little ball?

The barber replied, "Just bring it back in a couple of days like everyone else."


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Pic of the Week:

Join the North Korean Army and maybe you too could be awarded a medal...


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