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The Farsider

April 4, 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.



Saturday, April 6th
1:00 to 3:30 p.m.
POA Hall, 1151 N. Fourth St.
San Jose

A buffet lunch will be served by the POA caterer.
Please feel free to bring photographs. There will be an
opportunity to share your personal stories about Roger.



Most if not all police retirees are already aware of the increase in their health care costs. Those who are affected the least are the retirees over the age of 65 who also are covered by Medicare. This story made the front page of yesterday's paper...

S.J. Targets Health Care for Retirees

—Benefit cuts are on more solid legal ground, expert says—

By John Woolfolk
Mercury News — April 3, 2013

SAN JOSE — While San Jose battles unions in court to enact pension cuts voters approved in a nationally watched June ballot measure, the city is already deflating its ballooning retirement bill with an unheralded move to shrink health benefits.

The fate of San Jose’s Measure B pension reforms remains uncertain — a Santa Clara County Superior Court trial is scheduled June 17, with appeals expected. But like a host of other local governments, San Jose is finding health insurance a quicker path toward trimming retirement perks that are more generous than those in private industry, and whose growing costs have devoured funds for staffing and services.

“Retiree health care is generally easier to reform than pensions,” said David Crane, a Stanford University lecturer and president of Govern for California, a non-partisan reform group, who has written extensively on pension issues. “It’s generally accorded less protection legally.”

San Jose workers and retirees oppose the health plan changes that add higher co-payments and deductibles. The San Jose firefighters union and Police Officers Association have filed grievances, and a retiree representative hinted recently at possible legal action.

“You’re passing these costs on to people who can least afford it,” Bob Leininger, president of the San Jose Retired Employees Association, told the City Council last week. “They’re older; they’re not in the best of health in many cases.”

Substantial savings

But city officials believe they have a strong hand to defend retiree health care cuts and say that they’re already seeing savings. The recent health benefit changes shaved $400 million off the nearly $3 billion that the city expects to owe its retirees beyond what it has funds to cover, said Deputy City Manager Alex Gurza. And that is saving San Jose $12.5 million a year, Gurza said, $6.5 million of that in the general fund that pays for most city services.

“It had a significant impact putting in a lower-cost plan,” Gurza said.

Even so, the city’s annual bill and unfunded debt for employee retirement continues to grow, though not as steeply as had been feared a year ago, thanks not only to health plan changes but to layoffs and pay cuts. San Jose’s total yearly pension and retiree health bill will increase from $242 million to $266 million in the coming year. By comparison, the city’s projected general fund budget is $858 million. The retirement bill has more than tripled in a decade. And the unfunded debt for future retirement continues to inch up, from $2.89 billion to $2.9 billion, according to the latest figures.

“We’re still by no means out of the woods,” Gurza said. “We need to continue on the path we’re on to bring these costs down.”

Retiree health plans have become rare in private employment but remain common in government. San Jose began offering retiree health care in 1986, and city officials say the perk is generous even by government standards. Most governments pay retirees a stipend toward health premiums. In San Jose, retirees can get full premium coverage for the cheapest plan available to employees, a better deal than when they worked for the city and had to share in premium costs.

San Jose was able to cut the cost by offering all of its employees a cheaper, high-deductible plan.

Because San Jose didn’t define the lowest-cost plan available to retirees, the city was able to cut retiree health costs by simply adopting a cheaper plan. Instead of a Kaiser HMO with $25 co-payments to visit a doctor, the cheapest plan now has a $1,500 deductible, $40 co-payments and premiums that cost 24 percent less. Retirees who want to keep the Kaiser HMO now have to pay the premium difference.

Hard to challenge

Courts suggest that challenging the city’s health care move may be tough.

That’s why both Vallejo and Stockton cut retiree health benefits rather than face uncertain court battles over pensions in seeking to lower costs in bankruptcy. A federal bankruptcy judge ruled in August that Stockton’s retiree health benefits can be cut as part of the proceedings. And a federal judge that month also ruled against Orange County retirees who argued they were entitled to implied rights to cheaper health premiums.

Retiree health often represents a disproportionate share of unfunded government retirement debt because until recent years most governments hadn’t been setting aside funding to cover anticipated costs. A study by California Common Sense found only Los Angeles and Burbank out of 20 major California cities had socked away more than half the money needed to cover expected retiree health costs.

In San Jose, the benefit remains only 19 percent funded for most workers and 11 percent funded for police and firefighters. Unfunded debt tops $1.1 billion, more than a third of the city’s total retirement shortfall.

But retiree health care still accounts for only a sixth of San Jose’s yearly retirement bill. Even small changes to pension benefits can yield big savings. One piece of Measure B the city already imposed, cutting a perk that paid upside investment returns in pension funds to retirees instead of banking it to offset losses, shaved $72.5 million off the unfunded debt and $17.8 million off the yearly bill, $13.4 million of that in the general fund. Crane said that’s why governments keep looking to cut pension costs as well as retiree health costs.

“Since both are so large,” Crane said, “I expect cities to keep looking at ways to do both.”

~ ~ ~

A look at San Jose’s employee retirement benefits

• The average yearly pension for retirees who worked a full 31-year career for San Jose is $68,664 for most employees and $104,112 for officers and firefighters, including annual 3 percent raises.

• Retirees who worked 15 or more years get full premium coverage for the cheapest city employee health plan. That used to be a Kaiser HMO plan with $25 co-payments to see a doctor. But the city now has a Kaiser plan with $1,500 deductibles, $40 doctor-visit co-payments and premium costs 24 percent lower than the Kaiser HMO.

• The total unfunded retirement liability — the gap between current funds and projected costs — is $2.9 billion, of which more than a third, $1.1 billion, is for retiree health benefits.

• The city’s yearly retirement payment for the coming year is $266 million, up from $242 million. Of that, $44 million, about a sixth, is for health benefits.

• The deductible health plan reduced unfunded retirement debt by about $400 million and the city’s yearly cost by $12.5 million, $6.5 million of that in the general fund.

• The city’s pension plan is 62 percent funded for most workers, 79 percent for police and firefighters. The city’s retiree health benefit is 19 percent funded for most workers, 11 percent for police and firefighters.




NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit Strikes Again

Is this report by the NBC Investigative Unit much ado about nothing, or are members of the San Jose City Council being paid to party? The POA sent out a membership alert with the following headline and link to the video below...

The NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit uncovers SJ City
Councilmembers spending taxpayer money on alcohol and parties


• • • • •

The I.A. column in last Sunday's paper included two items of note: 1) Pete Constant has tossed his hat in the ring to replace Mayor Reed, and 2) Danny McTeague has been dubbed a crime stopper at 73, and at the cost of a torn rotator cuff...

San Jose Mayor’s Race Is Getting Crowded

San Jose city Councilmen Pierluigi Oliverio and Pete Constant have now declared they are joining the scrum to succeed Mayor Chuck Reed after his term ends next year. They will be vying for the job with at least Vice Mayor Madison Nguyen , who quietly filed papers declaring her interest in December.

All three are Reed allies and, though they differ in style, would be expected to champion the pension and other fiscal reforms that have been the centerpiece of his administration. Constant said voters would benefit from having so many from Reed’s voting bloc in the race.

“We’re all going to take the city in a positive direction,” Constant said, “just different paths to get there.”

A couple of long-shot contenders, Luis Garza and David S. Wall, have also filed papers declaring their interest in the race, which officially kicks into gear in December.

Two other presumed contenders, San Jose Councilman Sam Liccardo and Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese have yet to decide. Liccardo is also a Reed ally on the council, as was Cortese, a former councilman whom Reed nominated as vice mayor before he left for the county board. But the supervisor has since criticized Reed’s approach to the city’s pension mess and is expected to be the standard-bearer for Reed’s union foes.

Cortese told us last week that “certainly a large number of constituents have been working on getting me in the race” and that “I’m getting pretty close to making a decision.”

Liccardo said he’s “been working very hard on critical issues facing my district and the city like crime, homelessness and economic development and won’t make any decision for several months.”

~ ~ ~

Retired S.J. Police Officer Helps Nab Young Suspect

Retired San Jose police Sgt. Dan McTeague is a popular man who has been on the edges of local politics for decades. In the past, he’s even been mentioned as a potential City Council candidate. What happened the other day didn’t hurt his reputation. It did, alas, hurt his shoulder.

Here’s the Reader’s Digest version, according to McTeague. A young man was suspected of burglarizing a home in McTeague’s Cambrian neighborhood. He fled from police, jumping over fences and leaping into McTeague’s backyard. McTeague says he confronted him as he jumped over the front yard gate.

“He gave me an unexpected strong push to the chest, and the fight was on,” McTeague explained by email. “My wife ran back into the house and called 911 while I fought the suspect for four or five minutes.”

The retired sergeant managed to rip two shirts off the alleged burglar and slow him enough that the cops caught him two blocks away.

In the process, however, McTeague suffered a torn rotator cuff.

Police said the juvenile was cited on suspicion of possessing marijuana for sale.

“I was proud of myself seeing that I’m 73 years old and was able to stay toe to toe” with the younger fellow, he explained. “It’s sort of strange how you go into autopilot after 30 years of training.”

Rumor has it that the 73-year-old
retired sergeant
in this recent photo
credits his youthful look to Botox.

Internal Affairs is an offbeat look at state and local politics. This week’s items were written by Tracy Seipel, John Woolfolk, Scott Herhold and Paul Rogers. Send tips to <internalaffairs@mercurynews.com>, or call 408-975-9346.


• • • • •

Should the police substation dubbed a "white elephant" by some be turned into a theme hotel and restaurant? That's one of the possibilities offered by Herhold in his column that appears on the front page of today's paper...

Let’s Power Down Vacant Police Facility

By Scott Herhold, Columnist
Mercury News — April 4, 2013

The Great White Elephant of San Jose’s municipal building boom, the empty police substation in South San Jose, has blazed at night more brightly than the White House Christmas tree. It’s become a landmark for drivers heading north on Monterey Road.

All that light has managed to deter vandals, always a threat in certain parts of San Jose. The station has no graffiti. No drop-in motorists on meth. No broken windows. No big signs saying “RIP Tommy.’’

But it’s been costly. In a two-year period, the city spent nearly $275,000 on electricity bills for a vacant 107,000-square-foot building.

That’s almost $11,500 per month. From my talks with building managers in the valley, that could be at least twice as much as necessary.

Put another way, San Jose probably could have deterred the vandals — and kept vital systems going — by unscrewing every other light bulb.

South San Jose Police Substation
Source: Google Images

“We took a fairly conservative approach toward making the building look occupied as a kind of deterrent,’’ said Dave Sykes, the city’s director of public works. “We’ve been maybe overly cautious.’’

Sykes estimates that an occupied police substation might demand $25,000 per month in power bills, and that a vacant building should take about one-third of that, $8,000-plus. “Energy costs are higher than we’d want to see,’’ he said. One commercial real estate broker had a lower estimate. Extrapolating from a 15,000-square-foot vacant building he handled, the costs for the substation would be around $4,200 a month.

The costs

Is the difference a lot of money? In the big picture, no. If you accept the broker’s estimate, the city might have saved $180,000 over two years. That’s about the salary and benefits for one veteran cop for a year.

And yes, I know: It is a police station, not a generic Silicon Valley tilt-up. But consider a couple of facts.

The $92 million substation on Great Oaks Boulevard is not the only city building to suck more power than it should. City workers have told me the new auto-rental garage at the airport falls into the same category. It is lit brightly even after flights have stopped. Second, this is supposed to be a city with a green vision, first announced by Mayor Chuck Reed six years ago. Not everyone has gotten the memo.

Troublesome project

Then again, very little about the substation ought to surprise us. Funded by a 2002 bond issue, the building easily has been the most troublesome city project in a generation, cursed by design problems, fault lines and escalating cost.

Since the building was dedicated in October 2010, the city has filed a lawsuit against the RossDrulis-Cusenbery, the Sonoma architects.

Then there is the bigger issue. The substation was begun when the city had some 1,400 cops. It now has fewer than 1,000 available for full duty.

With a little more money, council members have been talking about opening the building. But maybe they should explore unloading it.

A tech company might find it cool to have jail cells on the premises. A theme hotel and restaurant could fit nicely. Interrogation before dinner. Incarceration at night. And a white-elephant sale would have this sweet benefit: The new owners would pay the PG&E bills.



March 28th


Tush's story about the siren in the last Farsider reminded me of this incident.

It's the midnight shift in 1965 or '66 and I'm working B-12 on the west side of town around Saratoga Ave. I'm having a 10-87 with (I don't remember who) at Saratoga Lanes, a bowling alley where there was always trouble from members of the younger generation when a Code 20 (need help in a hurry) comes over the radio. It was from a Reserve officer who was working at a lounge across from Valley Fair on Stevens Creek Blvd.

In the blink of an eye I'm off and running Code 3. The red lights in those days consisted of two front red rubies on the roof of the car and a red bubble gum spinner between the two lights of the '64 Plymouth station wagon. A Code 3 run in those days was a big deal, and I wasn't going to miss out.

Down Saratoga Ave. I flew to Stevens Creek, then east to the scene where assistance was needed. Although the electronic siren was warbling away, we still had a manual siren in those days which you could activate with a floor button, and I'm pressing down on it as if I'm trying to push it out through the floorboard. With all the noise I'm hearing, I apparently missed the Code 4 that came from the radio, and I roll up to the scene while still Code 3 and skid to a stop. Everyone is just standing around and looking at me when then-Sgt. Larry Tambellini saunters over and says, "Hey Mike, didn't you hear the Code 4?"

Looking back, I have to confess that I may have heard the Code 4 a few blocks before I arrived, but my memory has faded in the near half-century that has since passed.

When I assured Sgt. "Tambo" that I would listen more closely to the radio in the future, he replied, "By the way, Mike, when you run Code 3 at night you should make sure your headlights are on."

Sgt. Mike Thompson, SJPD 1965-95

Ed. — I'll assume that if I have the following wrong, someone will correct me: Toward the end of the 1960s it was understood that a Code 20 called for a Code 2 response. Officially, responding Code 2 required officers to respond as quickly as possible without breaking any speed laws and without the use of the red lights and siren, but you could turn on the flashing amber light on the rear deck so the people you pass would understand that you were on "official business." This concept was patently ridiculous. In reality, most officers responding to a Code 2 call drove as fast as if they were responding Code 3, but without the benefits of the red lights and siren to help clear traffic. The lights and siren, however, were commonly used to clear an intersection if necessary, after which they were turned off and the accelerator was again pushed to the floor. The net effect of this was that it ensured the officer's ass would wind up in a sling if something went wrong, not the City's. In other words, the officer would be liable for any damages and/or punishment from a Code 2 run that would otherwise be legally covered to an extent by an official Code 3 response.

• • • • •

April 2nd


Tony Destro and i went to see Dick Hunter this afternoon. We spent about 2 hours with him and had a good time shooting the the bull with old war stories. He has a nice facility to live in and said that things were very good there. He is rather frail but was very alert. Although his voice was very soft, we could understand him well and had a very good conversation with him. Overall, it was a good visit.

If any of his friends want to visit, they should call first and set it up with him so he doesn't receive too many visits at the same time. He can be called direct at 831-438-3574. I plan to see him again in a few weeks.

(Morton) <digs2286@gmail.com>

• • • • •

In an email to Phil Norton (former POA president and member of the California Bar), Ken Hawkes wrote...

Phil, I know you are very familiar with this, but most of us follow it with a very limited understanding and a great deal of suspicion. I for one fear that more and more the law becomes secondary to progressive politics. The outcome will certainly be of interest to all of us. Perhaps your observations/opinions can be included in the Farsider?


This is the article Ken referenced in his email. Phil's reply to Ken appears under the story...

Judge Rules Stockton to Enter Bankruptcy

Bloomberg Business Week
By Tracie Cone — April 1, 2103

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The people of Stockton will feel financial fallout for years after a federal judge ruled Monday to let the city become the most populous in the nation to enter bankruptcy.

But the case is also being watched closely because it could answer the significant question of who gets paid first by financially strapped cities — retirement funds or creditors.

"I don't know whether spiked pensions can be reeled back in," U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Klein said while making the ruling. "There are very complex and difficult questions of law that I can see out there on the horizon."

The potential constitutional question in the Stockton case is whether federal bankruptcy law trumps a California law that says money owed to the state pension fund must be paid.

In making his ruling, Klein disagreed with creditors who argued that Stockton failed to pursue all avenues for straightening out its financial affairs.

"It's apparent to me the city would not be able to perform its obligations to its citizens on fundamental public safety as well as other basic government services without the ability to have the muscle of the contract-impairing power of federal bankruptcy law," Klein said.

A statement released by creditors said the group "respectfully disagrees with the court's ruling." The legal team for those creditors declined to say whether it would ask Klein for permission to appeal his decision — a requirement of bankruptcy code.

Stockton has tried to restructure some debt by slashing employment, renegotiating labor contracts, and cutting health benefits for workers. Library and recreation funding have been halved, and the scaled-down Police Department only responds to emergencies in progress. The city crime rate is among the highest in the nation.

Since cities can't liquidate assets, those that declare bankruptcy must come up with a plan for creditors to forgive some of the debt.

Holders of the biggest portion of Stockton's debt insured $165 million in bonds the city issued in 2007 to keep up with payments to the California Public Employees Retirement System as property taxes plummeted during the recession.

Stockton now owes CalPERS about $900 million to cover pension promises, far the city's largest financial obligation. Many struggling cities across California are in the same situation.

So far, Stockton has kept up with pension payments while reneging on other debts, maintaining it needs a strong pension plan to retain its pared-down workforce.

Attorneys for creditors argued that it was unfair for their clients to accept reduced payments while the pensions negotiated in flush times went untouched. They argued that employees who shared the wealth during good times should bow have to endure some of the pain with cuts to their pensions.

Legal observers expect the creditors to aggressively challenge the repayment plan presented by Stockton in the next phase of the process.

"That's where it will be precedent-setting," said Karol Denniston, a municipal restructuring expert who monitored the trial. "Does bankruptcy code apply to CalPERS or not? If bankruptcy code trumps state law, then that's huge and it has huge implications in terms of what happens next for other municipalities across California."

The state pension plan manages $255 billion in assets but was underfunded by $87 billion in 2011, the last time calculations were made. CalPERS is in the process of setting new rates to close the liability, said spokeswoman Amy Norris.

The changes could further strain at least two dozen other financially strapped cities, including San Bernardino, San Jose, Compton, Fairfield, Watsonville, Atwater.

"Just about everybody has an unfunded liability," Norris said.

Legal observers of the first-ever Chapter 9 bankruptcy case questioning state pension obligations expect an appeal to decide whether the 10th Amendment that gives rights to states is more powerful than federal bankruptcy code

Even Judge Klein, who was inclined at first to approve bankruptcy without a trial, said he was going forward with the hearing that ended Monday to create an appellate record.

Now the city of nearly 300,000 people begins a months-long process of negotiations over debt repayment. Already Stockton has spent $2 million on mediation and up to $5 million on the eligibility case, said Bob Deis, Stockton's city manager.

"There's nothing to celebrate about bankruptcy," he said. "But it is a vindication of what we've been saying for nine months."

~ ~ ~


The real issue has not been decided yet. In this story the question is stated: Whether or not Federal Bankruptcy law trumps California State Law on vested rights of pension funds? Stockton's bond holders are owed millions. Stockton says it will pay PERS as agreed. but that the bond holders will not get the entire amount loaned on the bonds. The bond holders (east coast money) on the other hand say the City employee pension contributions to PERS ought to take a hit equal to their discounted payments.

The story is in error in naming San Jose as part of the PERS issue. San Jose is not associated with PERS; it is a local retirement pension plan. All public agencies could be impacted, however, if the bond holders seek a judicial determination on whether State law trumps Federal Bankruptcy Law. If the courts rule in favor of the bond creditors, then public agencies will run, not walk, to bankruptcy court to dump their unfunded pension obligations. That's the real fear for retirees, but the issue is not there yet. The bankruptcy judge has ruled to allow Stockton to pursue debtors' remedies, but PERS is not on the list of creditors yet because of conflicting state law protecting pensions. The bond holders are, however, and they are screaming.  

The thing to watch is the forthcoming litigation to be filed by the bond creditors in an effort to force the bankruptcy court to order Stockton to cut pension payments to PERS. It will be filed in Federal Court as a classic conflict of laws case. This case is so important that it will end up in the U.S. Supreme Court.

For all public retirees, this could be a defining case.  

Does this help?




We had technical issues with this poll we tried to run last week, so it was pulled shortly after the Farsider was posted to the PBA website. We think the problems have been corrected, so we're going for it again this week. The subject is UFOs.

Please take a moment and watch this short 2-minute video before you select one of the three answers...


For the most recent Rasmussen Reports releases, click here:



Clicking on the link below will take you to the POA home page. Then click on the image of the Vanguard to download to your desktop the April edition of the POA's monthly magazine.




The new Billy & Spanner can be downloaded by clicking on the link below...




Patrol Sgt. Damian Bortolotti (and POA Board member) wrote the following article that was posted on the Protect San Jose website. Click on the link below to read what he had to say...

How Do We Stop the SJPD Exodus?





Shortly after we went to press last week, Meyer Weed posted a new entry on his or her blog entitled "Mayor Reed's SJPD Retention Plan Released." To review it, click on the blogger's link above.



By Officer Robillard, SJPD Ret.

The Bean Rubber Caper

Back in the Golden Olden Days there were two rubber companies located within a mile of each other on S. 10th St. in the city's industrial area. One was Burke Rubber, the other Bean Rubber. This story is about the latter.

When officers patrolling in a marked 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. car were creeping and crawling around the perimeter of Bean Rubber with their lights out and windows open, they observed that a safe vault in the office was missing one of its doors and thought they may have run across a burglary in progress. They then spotted a single male in a Hawaiian shirt making his way to the rear of the plant in the semi-darkness.

With one officer covering the rear, the other officer retraced his steps to the front of the building. One officer then spotted an individual inside who was wearing dark blue coveralls, but he couldn't communicate with the other officer because this was before handpack radios were available for officer-to-officer contact.

Under the belief that there were two burglars, the patrol car radio was used to notify Communications to send additional units as two subjects had been spotted inside the business. Because this incident occurred as the Midnight units were going in service and the Swingshift units were heading to the barn, a swarm of patrol cars responded to the scene, including an unmarked Juvenile unit.

After the building was properly surrounded, the Juvenile officer jumped into a marked car, picked up what he assumed was the public address microphone wired to the outside speaker and commanded the subjects in the building to surrender. Unfortunately, he grabbed the radio mike instead and issued his stern command to all of Northern California and many of the ships at sea. With enough officers outside the building to start World War III, the Juvenile officer issued his command a second time. Finally, a Communications dispatcher advised him to pick up the other microphone and give his command again.

Negotiations with a subject were subsequently successful. After exiting the building in his blue coveralls, he was taken into custody and deposited in the rear of a paddy wagon that had been called to the scene. A subsequent search turned up a Hawaiian shirt in the plant's locker room, but no second subject. (Can you guess the rest?)

When the subject in the paddy wagon was questioned, he maintained he was the only one in the plant, and that he was the maintenance worker who had just reported for duty on the midnight shift. He explained that the safe had been damaged in a burglary that had occurred earlier in the day and that he was there to "put things back in order." A subsequent check with headquarters disclosed that a burglary had in fact occurred earlier in the day, but because the report had not yet been distributed to the beat folder, the patrol officers had no knowledge of the crime.

Officers then "brushed off" the maintenance worker — as in smoothing out his clothes and removing the dust from the interior of the paddy wagon that had collected on his work clothes — and thanked him for his cooperation before releasing him so he could continue his duties.

It was later reported that the maintenance worker quit his job the following day because "the plant is too out of the way and scary things happen there."




Come strike up some fun at the San Jose Police Foundation’s 5th
annual Bowling for Badges fundraiser at the ooh so cool 300 San Jose.

All funds raised will help provide safety and technology
equipment for the San Jose Police Department.

Click on this link for more information:


Some of the participants from the 2012 event.



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

New Articles

• A U.S. soldier named Bowe Bergdahl has been held prisoner since being captured by the Taliban in 2009.

• Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz was confronted by a shareholder over the company's support for same-sex marriage.

• Do Toy Story characters at Disney theme parks stop and drop when someone shouts 'Andy's coming!'?

• Cafe customers buy "suspended coffees" for less fortunate patrons.

• Does the Monsanto Protection Act create a 'precedent-setting limitation on judicial review of genetically-engineered crops'?

• Did Victoria's Secret introduce a line of provocative lingerie for teenage girls?

• Did settlement of a wrongful death suit compel the U.S. Post Office to mail letters with 'Frank' written on them for free?

• Warning about the use of expired cake mixes.

• Are tires or bumpers of cars parked outside gun stores marked by gangs to identify them as potential gun theft opportunities?

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

Worth a Second Look

• Superstitions and lore associated with Easter.

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.



It isn't over yet. Seems that Greg Gutfeld's rant about Jim Carrey's mocking of Charlton Heston got under the Canadian-born comic's skin as he had his agent send out the following press release last Friday in response to Gutfeld slamming him over the Funny or Die video. So you will know it's not a typo on our part, Carrey's press release refers to Fox News as "Fux News."

For Immediate Release
March 29,2013

Since I released my “Cold Dead Hand” video on Funny or Die this week, I have watched Fux News rant, rave, bare its fangs and viciously slander me because of my stand against large magazines and assault rifles. I would take them to task legally if I felt they were worth my time or that anyone with a brain in their head could actually fall for such irresponsible buffoonery. That would gain them far too much attention which is all they really care about.

I’ll just say this: in my opinion Fux News is a last resort for kinda-sorta-almost-journalists whose options have been severely limited by their extreme and intolerant views; a media colostomy bag that has begun to burst at the seams and should be emptied before it becomes a public health issue.

I sincerely believe that in time, good people will lose patience with the petty and poisonous behavior of these bullies and Fux News will be remembered as nothing more than a giant culture fart that no amount of Garlique could cure.

I wish them all the luck that accompanies such malevolence.

~ ~ ~

Click on any of the links below for more info...


• • • • •

Here's a fun video we received from Russ Russell. When the the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders did a dance video to “Call Me Maybe,” U.S. troops stationed in Afghanistan saw it and performed their own version, matching the cheerleaders scene-by scene. Here are the two videos together. (3 Mins.)


• • • • •

This bloopers clip from Dirk Parsons is about some moments that TV reporters would like to forget and certainly would not want to appear on their professional resumes. (Too late, boys and girls. Once on the Internet, it's there forever.) (8 Mins.)


We also found this related clip that should be worth a few minutes of your time if you enjoy looking at miscues and other fails by TV personalities. (6 Mins.)


• • • • •

Any of you World War II aviation buffs recognize this aircraft? The link below will take you to dozens of highly-detailed WW II era aviation photos that you will likely be seeing for the first time, including the one below of an experimental Douglas XB-19...


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Lumpy calls this pro-gun compilation video a must-see. From our perspective, however, it falls into the category of preaching to the choir. (10 Mins.)


• • • • •

Back in the day, race car drivers had to be crazy to do what they did. This was before safety features such as seat belts, roll bars, effective crash helmets, fire suits and fire extinguishers were even thought of, much less used. This video of vintage race car crashes is proof that by yesterday's standards, driving a race car today is relatively safe. (Discretion is advised as some scenes are quite graphic.) (4 Mins.)


• • • • •

By our estimate, over a hundred of you single retirees might be interested in one or more of these personal ads that were reportedly seen in a Canadian newspaper that caters to seniors...

Foxy Lady:

Sexy, fashion-conscious blue-haired beauty,
80's, slim, 5' 4' (used to be 5' 6'),
Searching for sharp-looking, sharp-dressing companion.
Leisure suit and matching white shoes and belt a plus.

~ ~ ~

Long-Term Commitment:

Recent widow who has just buried fourth husband,
Looking for someone to round out a six-unit plot.
Dizziness, fainting, and shortness of breath not a problem.

~ ~ ~

Serenity Now:

I am into solitude, long walks, sunrises, the ocean, yoga
and meditation. If you are the silent type, let's get together,
take  our hearing aids out and enjoy quiet times.

~ ~ ~

Winning Smile:

Active grandmother with original teeth seeking a dedicated flossier
to share rare steaks, corn on the cob and caramel candy.

~ ~ ~

Beatles or Stones?

I still like to rock, still like to cruise in my Camaro on
Saturday nights and still like to play the guitar.
If you were a groovy chick, or are now a groovy hen,
let's get together and listen to my eight-track tapes.

~ ~ ~


I can usually remember Monday through Thursday.
If you can remember Friday, Saturday and Sunday,
let's put our two heads together.

~ ~ ~

Mint Condition:

Male, 1932 model , high mileage, good condition, some hair,
Many new parts including hip, knee, cornea, valves.
Not in running condition, but walks well.

• • • • •

"We'd like to welcome our passengers aboard Balls of Steel Airlines. We'll be taking off from an altitude of 10,000 feet today."

The first challenge that adventurers who choose to climb Mount Everest must undertake isn't the mountain, it's getting there. That includes a short flight from a "fly or die" airport in Lukla, Nepal. The pilots who fly the short-haul aircraft follow the same take-off procedure that Jimmy Doolittle's flight of B-25s were faced with when they launched from the USS Hornet to bomb Tokyo in 1942: Taxi in position, hold the brakes, throttle forward to maximum RPMs, take a last look at your instruments, listen closely to the engines, take a deep breath, release the brakes, say a prayer and put you and your crew's life in God's hands.
(6 Mins.)


• • • • •

It's said that "Baci" (David Bacigalupi) dropped a hint to his wife Sue that for his upcoming birthday he would like one of these hovercrafts that Masters Champion Bubba Watson uses for golf, to which Sue replied: "Win a major PGA golf championship and you can have one." (2 Mins.)


• • • • •

If you are a fan of the performing arts, you should enjoy this video we received from Bruce Morton of a pair of very talented dancers. (The performance is almost identical to the one my former high school sweetheart and I performed at our high school talent show back in 1959.) (6 Mins.)


• • • • •

For our final clip of the week we chose this one we received from Cheryl Pyle. If you ever wanted to know what it would be like to soar over San Francisco Bay like a bird, this will show you what it's like. With the technology of stabilized aerial cameras, what you are about to see will be the smoothest slow flight with recognizable landmarks you are ever likely to experience. (5 Mins.)


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Pics of the Week:

One dog or two?


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