Saturday, December 16, 2017

Mob Talk 11: A Look Back At A South Philly Mob Hit And Talk Of The Upcoming Racketeering Trial Of Reputed Philly Mob Boss Joey Merlino

Veteran organized crime reporters George Anastasia and Dave Schratwieser look back at a South Philly mob hit on the 5th Anniversary of the the Gino DiPietro murder that sent Mob Soldier Anthony Nicodemo to prison 

They also discuss indicted Philadelphia Mob Boss Joey Merlino as the Feds line up their witnesses for his upcoming trial in January.

You can watch the video via the below link:

Friday, December 15, 2017

American Hero Or The Biggest Rat In NYPD History? New Documentary Explores The Controversial Legacy Of The Late Robert Leuci, Whose Turn Undercover Led To More Than 50 Indictments of 1970s New York Cops

Sheila Flynn at the Daily Mail offers a piece on a new documentary about the late Robert Leuci, the former NYPD detective who testified about police corruption and was portrayed in Robert Daley’s  true crime book, Prince of the City, which was later made into a film by director Sidney Lumet.

The unlikely duo met at a barbecue in Rhode Island, a young Norwegian student of photojournalism and a former NYPD detective who exposed massive corruption within the force in the 1970s. Magnus Skatvold had no idea who Bob Leuci was when he was first introduced to him, considering the New York native a ‘fast-talking … very kind, very charismatic grandfather that was just the center of attention and telling stories and being very interested in everybody.’

They struck up a friendship, and the more that Skatvold learned about Leuci, the more fascinated he became. Their relationship eventually sowed the seeds for a new documentary, which was just awarded the prestigious Pitch Perfect Award at DOC NYC film festival – a prize given to a work-in-progress during a daylong pitch event.

Blue Code of Silence is currently a 60-minute rough cut, directed by Skatvold and Gregory Mallozzi, telling the story of how Leuci brought down New York City’s most corrupt police unit – at a grave personal cost. Skatvold interviewed and collaborated with Leuci, who tragically died during the making of the film, as well as family members, friends and people connected with the story.

Leuci had agreed in the 1970s to cooperate with the Knapp Commission, which had been formed by New York Major John V. Lindsay following whistleblower revelations by other legendary NYPD officers. The commission aimed to investigate corruption within the system; Leuci, heavily entrenched in a narcotics unit and tainted by participation himself, agreed to go undercover – but insisted on exposing the whole system and not just cops.

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

You can also read my Q&A with Robert Leuci via the below link:

Aircraft Carrier At Sea Under The Stars At Night

I recall as a young sailor serving aboard the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk during the Vietnam War how many and how clearly the stars were in the night sky. A wondrous and memorable sight.    

The U.S. Navy released a photo of the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) transiting the Atlantic Ocean at night under the stars. 

The above photo was taken by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joshua D. Sheppard.

Note: You can click on the above photo to enlarge.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

My Washington Times Review Of Michael Connelly's 'Two Kinds Of Truth'

The Washington Times published my review of Michael Connelly’s crime novel Two Kinds of Truth.

In veteran crime writer Michael Connelly’s previous novel, “The Late Show,” he introduced readers to a new character, Renee Ballard, an LAPD detective working the night shift.

Although I enjoyed the novel and found Renee Ballard to be an engaging and interesting character, I missed reading about Mr. Connelly’s more well-known detective character, Harry Bosch. Like many readers, I enjoy reading about old, familiar series characters and their latest adventures in new novels.

In “Two Kinds of Truth,” Mr. Connelly has brought back Harry Bosch. This is Mr. Connelly’s 20th novel about the dedicated and dogged LAPD detective, whose personal credo is, “Everybody counts or nobody counts.”

Mr. Connelly chose to write the Harry Bosch series in real time, so his character has aged accordingly. In “Two Kinds of Truth” the veteran detective is retired from the LAPD and is lending his considerable talents and skills to the San Fernando Police Department, where he is working as a volunteer on cold cases. As Mr. Connelly notes in the novel, San Fernando is a Southern California city barely two and a half square miles and surrounded on all sides by the city of Los Angeles.

“When Chief Valdez reached out to Bosch and said he had an old jail cell full of cold cases and no one to work them, it was like a lifeline had been thrown to a drowning man. Bosch was alone and certainly adrift, having unceremoniously left the department he had served for almost forty years, at the same time that his daughter left home for college. Most of all, the offer came at a time when he felt unfinished. After all the years he had put in, he never expected to walk out the door one day and not be allowed back in,” Mr. Connelly writes. “At a period when most men took up golf or bought a boat. Bosch felt resolutely incomplete. He was a closer. He needed to work cases, and setting up shop as a private eye or defense investigator wasn’t going to suit him in the long run.”

Harry Bosch is also asked by the chief to help the San Fernando three-person detective squad investigate the robbery and double-murder of father and son pharmacists. Concurrent with this investigation, Harry Bosch looks back at an old LAPD case of his that has resurfaced.
You can read the rest of the review via the below link:

You can also read about the Amazon TV series featuring Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch character via the below link:

Sock It To Me: 'Rowan And Martin's Laugh-In: The Complete Series' Released By Time/Life

I was a huge fan of Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In when I was a teenager in the 1960’s.

The TV show’s fast-paced skits, scatter-shot jokes, political and social satire and catch phrases, such as “sock it to me,” with a crack cast of comics and often featuring prominent people of the era, made me and millions of others laugh each week. I still catch an episode every now and again on the Decades TV channel.

Who can forget a supposedly humorless President Nixon appearing on the show and asking, straight-faced, “Sock it to me?” offers a piece on the release of a DVD on the 50th anniversary of the comedy show.

Before there was “Saturday Night Live” there was “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.”*

Hosted by Dan Rowan and Dick Martin (seen in the above photo), this groundbreaking variety show was a fast-moving barrage of jokes, one-liners, running skits, and musical numbers.

A group of regulars--Goldie Hawn, Lily Tomlin, Jo Anne Worley, Ruth Buzzi, Arte Johnson, Henry Gibson, Judy Carne, Alan Sues, Chelsea Brown, and  Gary Owens--plus frequent guests like Barbara Feldon, Flip Wilson and Don Rickles left a lasting impression on America.

To celebrate Laugh-In’s 50th Anniversary, the Complete Series is now available for the first time ever on DVD.

You can read the rest of the piece and watch a video clip of the fast-paced jokes offered on Laugh-In via the below link:

Note: You can also watch a video advertisement for the DVD with a good number of skits and jokes via the below link:

George Soros-Backed Progressive New Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner Off On Wrong Foot

Veteran Philadelphia reporter Ralph Cipriano offers a piece at on the actions of elected, but not yet sworn in, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, a far leftist elected with massive cash donations generated by George Soros and Philadelphia’s dominant Democratic Party machine.

Attention Philadelphia: your newly-elected District Attorney, Progressive Larry Krasner, is already getting started on his new job, but it may not be a good thing.

According to a Nov. 29th mass email sent out to hundreds of employees in the D.A.'s office, Krasner sought and was granted permission by interim D.A. Kelley Hodge to have his transition team review the personnel files of those hundreds of employees, presumably to help decide who's going and who's staying in a  Krasner administration. The review, according to the mass email, was supposed to be conducted last week, but one union official, FOP President John McNesby, said he did not believe that any of the reviews had actually been done yet.

That may be because of an ongoing ethical problem. Krasner, a longtime civil rights lawyer who's sued the city's police department 75 times, and provided pro-bono representation for the likes of ACT UP, Black Lives Matter, and Occupy Philly, isn't officially the D.A. yet, and he won't be until he's sworn in on Jan. 2nd.

Krasner, who could not be reached for comment, apparently has tasked a lawyer from the firm that he is now of counsel to, Patricia Pierce of Greenblatt, Pierce, Funt & Flores, to help review those personnel files at the D.A.'s office. Krasner also has been seen visiting the D.A.'s office at Penn Square a few times, along with members of his transition team, who supposedly have been given office space by the interim D.A. The reaction among some employees at the D.A.'s office has been paranoia.

"People were freaking out," said one source familiar with the process. "I think everybody's worried about being fired."

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Navy To Resume Role In SOUTHCOM Anti-Drug Mission

Geoff Ziezulewicz at the Navy Times offers a piece on the Navy getting back into anti-drug operations in the Southern Command.

The Navy is set to get back into U.S. Southern Command’s growing and “vital” anti-drug mission, dedicating at least four ships to the effort in 2018, according to a Navy secretary letter obtained by Navy Times.

The Navy stopped providing surface combatants for the anti-drug effort in 2015, when the service retired its last Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate, although patrol coastal ships have operated in the command’s waters since then.

Secretary Richard Spencer’s Dec. 5 memo to Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson states that SOUTHCOM’s joint task force “is a very important element in the control of illegal drug transportation.”al Security Division.

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

Note: The above photo is of Navy Secretary Richard Spencer.