Sunday, December 31, 2023

A Little Humor: Feeling Wanted

During the holiday season, I met a man in a bar who told me about his life over a couple of drinks. 

He said it was funny how circumstances change.

"I was unwanted as a child," the man told me. "Now I'm wanted in 12 states."

Note: The photo above is of Shemp Howard, one of The Three Stooges.  

Friday, December 29, 2023

The Life We Chose: My Washington Times On Crime Column On Mobsters William 'Big Billy' D'Elia And Russell Bufalino

The Washington Times published my On Crime column on The Life We Chose, a true crime book about the Bufalino Cosa Nostra organized crime family in Pennsylvania.   

I thought Matt Birkbeck’s book about mobsters William “Big Billy” D’Elia (seen in the above photo) and Russell Bufalino (who was portrayed by Joe Pesci in Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman”) was interesting, especially the sections on South Philadelphia, where I grew up, currently live, and where I’ve covered organized crime as a reporter for many years.


I was skeptical, however, of some of the book’s claims, such as the subtitle that the Bufalino crime family in Pennsylvania was the most powerful Mafia family in America. Some of Mr. D’Elia’s claims also did not ring true to me.

I contacted Mr. Birkbeck (seen in the above photo) and asked him about the Russell Bufalino crime family.


“Russell’s enormous power and influence came in large part from the Teamsters and via his connection to Jimmy Hoffa as well as his cousin William Bufalino, the general counsel paired by Russell with Hoffa in the 1940s,” Mr. Birkbeck replied.


Did you come across other evidence to support the assertions of William D’Elia?


“Yes. I had a research assistant, who happens to be a very good reporter, work with me, and we were able to confirm some of what Billy told me,” Mr. Birkbeck said. “During the two years I interviewed him, I never found he had lied or embellished his life and career.”


Why did you write the book? 

"I knew who Billy was and that he had never spoken to anyone before, not law enforcement, not the media. S0, I thought it would be a great opportunity to add to the history of the Mafia in America as well as the secretive, unknown world of the Bufalino Family. He didn't disappoint."  

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Bubbleheads, SEALs and Wizards: A Look Back At The U.S. Nuclear Submarine Base in Holy Loch, Scotland

I received a copy of David Mackay’s Bubbleheads, SEALS and Wizards: America’s Scottish Bastion in the Cold War today. 

Having served two years (1974-1975) aboard the U.S. Navy tugboat USS Saugus, YTB 780, at the U.S. nuclear submarine base at Holy Loch, Scotland, the book is most interesting to me. 

The book is also of interest to me, as the author interviewed me a while back. 

Although he confuses me with another former sailor, stating I served as a messcook on the tender, a right of passage for tender sailors, but not for tugboat sailors, my other comments are accurate. 

I’ve read a couple of chapters of the book so far, and I’m enjoying reading about the big picture and Cold War importance of Holy Loch and Scotland and looking back at an interesting part of my life. 

You can order the book at or at Amazon:   

Bubbleheads, SEALs and Wizards: America's... by Mackay, D.G. ( 

Note: You can also read a piece I wrote about Holy Loch via the below link:

Paul Davis On Crime: A Sea Story: A Look Back At American Sailors Hunting Sharks In Loch Fyne

And below are photos of the Holy Loch submarine base and a photo of the USS Saugus.

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

A Little Humor: Soros-Backed District Attorney Prosecutes Illinois Boy For Terrorizing Burglars

 Gotta love the Bee. 

The Babylon Bee offers their satirical take on the Home Alone film. 

GROVELAND, IL - Pierce County's District Attorney has opened prosecution against an eight-year-old boy who reportedly terrorized two burglars robbing his parents' mansion.

The young boy by the name of Kevin McAllister was apparently home alone when the perpetrators attempted to sneak into the estate. McAllister sprang into action with a series of ingenious attacks, including blowtorches, paint cans, and a tarantula. "The child engaged in cruel, vicious behavior that could have seriously injured the two gentlemen known as the ‘Wet Bandits' ," said District Attorney Ansel Hayden. "McAllister literally smashed Marv's face with an iron, when Marv wished nothing more than to rob McAllister's family while doing the child serious bodily harm."

Hayden said the youth's antics involved putting ice on the stairs, heating up doorknobs, and other tactics that put the men in peril. "What has society come to when a child can torture vagabonds just hungry for bread?," wondered Hayden aloud. "I will not allow this county to fall victim to vigilantism."

At press time, Hayden was preparing to file charges against the neighbor who stopped the kindly ‘Wet Bandits' from biting off McAllister's fingers.

You can read other Babylon Bee humorous pieces via the below link:

 Babylon Bee | Fake News You Can Trust 

Monday, December 25, 2023

Sunday, December 24, 2023

Recalling Christmas Eve And Christmas On The Aircraft Carrier USS Kitty Hawk During The Vietnam War

On this Christmas Eve, my thoughts are of the many U.S. soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen who are serving overseas and away from their loved ones during this joyous holiday. 

I recall that on Christmas Eve and Christmas in 1970, when I was an 18-year-old sailor serving on the USS Kitty Hawk, the aircraft carrier was out on “Yankee Station” in the South China Sea and the Gulf of Tonkin off the coast of North Vietnam. 

The Kitty Hawk was launching aircraft who flew combat sorties against North Vietnamese positions in support of the American troops on the ground. 

Thankfully for me, I was single at the time, so I wasn’t as sad and homesick as the Kitty Hawk sailors who had wives and children at home. 

I have fond memories of the fabulous Christmas dinner the ship’s cooks prepared for the nearly 5,000 sailors aboard the aircraft carrier. We had turkey and all the holiday trimmings. 

A 24-hour truce was announced, although the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong quickly violated the truce. I asked our chief if we had the day off because of the truce, and he laughed. 

“There ain’t no truce in Laos,” he replied. “So turn to.” 

I worked 16 fast and furious hours in the carrier’s Radio Communication Division’s message processing center on Christmas. 

But a few days after Christmas, we sailed towards the U.S. Naval Base at Subic Bay in the Philippines, and we spent New Year’s Eve in the wide-open town of Olongapo. 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to today’s American servicemen and women who are on station around the world.   

A Look Back At The Beaton Marionette's 'The Nativity' And 'Twas The Night Before Christmas'

I recall a conversation I had with my granddaughter some years ago about old Christmas traditions. I told her that her grandparents and millions of others used to watch the Beaton Marionettes on TV every year as they performed The Nativety and Twas the Night Before Christmas. 

Marionettes pouncing from strings must seem very low-tech and primitive to a preteen and teenager today, but when we were children in the 1950's and 1960's the marionettes were magical, and we loved them. We watched them every year as we grew up.

The two programs were narrated by the late, great actor Alexander Scourby (seen in the above photo). Scourby also portrayed C. Clement Moore, the author of Twas the Night Before Christmas.

The TV programs brings back fond memories of Christmas as a child. My parents did not have a lot of money, but they always provided a grand Christmas holiday for our family.

You can watch the two short programs via the below links: 

Twas the Night Before Christmas

Part One of The Nativity
Part Two of The Nativity

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Former CIA Spymaster Predicts Russian President Vladimir Putin Will Be Overthrown In ‘Black Swan’ Coup

The New York Post offers a piece on former CIA spymaster Jack Devine (seen in the below photo), who predicts that Russian dictator Vladimir Putin will be overthrown.  

A veteran chief of American’s Central Intelligence Agency has declared Vladimir Putin’s days are numbered, predicting the Russian president will be overthrown in a ‘Black Swan’ palace coup.

And the ousting of one of modern history’s most divisive and ruthless leaders is only a matter of time.

Jack Devine served for three decades with the US spy agency and told The Sun newspaper in an exclusive interview that he wouldn’t be surprised if Putin “disappeared tomorrow”. 

Speculation about the future of Russia’s leadership has been festering for some time, with the country’s bruising performance in its war with Ukraine intensifying talk.

So too have endless reports about Putin’s ill health, with rumors emerging from inside the Kremlin that he has at various points been close to death.

... But Devine, 83, who led thousands of spies on covert and classified missions across the globe for 32 years, believes Putin’s demise will be at the hands of those closest to him.

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

You can also read my Counterterrorism magazine Q&A with Jack Levin via the below link:

Paul Davis On Crime: Good Hunting: My Q & A With Former CIA Official Jack Devine

Friday, December 22, 2023

A License To Kill Creepy Elf On The Shelf

"Which lunatic asylum did they get you out of?"

I saw this amusing photo with the above caption on Facebook.

It made me laugh.

(The line about a lunatic asylum is what Sean Connery’s James Bond asked Robert Shaw’s mad killer Red Grant in From Russia With Love).

My children are grown and have their own homes, so we don’t have an Elf on the Shelf here.

But as I'm an Ian Fleming aficionado and a fan of the Bond films (especially the early ones from the 1960s, with the late, great Sean Connery as Bond), my daughter some years ago bought me the James Bond action figure from Dr. No that appears in the above and below photos.

The James Bond action figure sits on one of my bookshelves in my book-lined basement office, along with mementos from my Navy days and my travels.   

According to the maker of the elf, “The magical Scout Elves help Santa manage his nice list by taking note of a family’s Christmas adventures and reporting back to Santa at the North Pole nightly. Each morning, the Scout Elf returns to its family and perches in a new spot, waiting for someone to spot them. Children love to wake up and race around the house looking for their Scout Elf.       

In my view, the Elf on a Shelf is a most creepy holiday traditional.

It would take James Bond, who has a license to kill, to eliminate this evil elf. 

‘Fat Leonard,' The Contractor In The U.S. Navy's Sensational Bribery And Fraud Case, May Face More Charges

 The Navy Times offers a piece on “Fat Leonard,” the criminal behind the U.S. Navy’s sensational bribery case: 

MIAMI — A defense contractor at the center of one of the biggest bribery scandals in U.S. military history is expected to face additional charges following his return to the United States from Venezuela as part of a broader prisoner swap between the two countries, a federal prosecutor said Thursday. 

Leonard Glenn Francis, who is nicknamed “Fat Leonard,” faced a federal judge for the first time since snipping off his ankle monitor last year and disappearing weeks before a sentencing hearing on charges that he offered more than $500,000 in cash bribes to Navy officials, defense contractors and others.

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

‘Fat Leonard,’ contractor in Navy bribery case, may face more charges (

You can also read my Counterterrorism magazine piece on the Fat Leonard bribery case via the below link: 

Paul Davis On Crime: My Piece On The 'Fat Leonard' U.S. Navy Bribery And Fraud Case 

Thursday, December 21, 2023

The James Bond Film That Is Secretly a Christmas Movie

In an earlier post this month, I included the James Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service as one of my three favorite Christmas movies.

Paul Davis On Crime: Dickens, O. Henry And Fleming Stories: Three Great Old Christmas Movies To Watch And Enjoy This Holiday Season

The film was released during the 1969 Christmas season and largely takes place during the snowy Christmas holiday in Switzerland where James Bond encounters the criminal mastermind Ernst Stavro Blofeld. 

Below is a link to the film's trailer:

 On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) - Official Trailer - George Lazenby Bond Movie HD (

Liam Gaughan at also noted that On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is a surprisingly great Christmas movie.    

A movie fan’s favorite James Bond actor is a very personal decision that is largely dependent upon when they grew up with the character. It’s very easy to associate Ian Fleming’s 007 with the version of the character that you were introduced to first. Younger viewers who grew up with Daniel Craig’s Bond may associate the character with his darker attributes, while older viewers who were introduced to Bond through Roger Moore’s films might think of him as a slightly goofier character. While every actor who has played 007 has their fans, the cheering section for George Lazenby’s version of Bond may not be very significant. Lazenby only got one chance to play Bond, but his screen debut in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was certainly a memorable one. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service isn’t just one of the best Bond films ever made; it’s also a surprisingly great Christmas movie. 

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

The James Bond Film That Is Secretly a Christmas Movie (

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Knife Rights And The Rash Of Stabbings In Philadelphia

Broad + Liberty published my piece on knife rights and the recent rash of stabbings in Philadelphia.

You can read the piece via the below link or the below text:

Paul Davis: Knife rights and the rash of stabbings in Philadelphia (

In the 1987 film “The Untouchables,” the late, great actor Sean Connery portrayed a shotgun-wielding tough Chicago cop who faced off against a gangster who, according to the cop, was dumb enough to “bring a knife to a gunfight.”    

But the knife-wielding gangster had a partner armed with a Thompson submachine gun and he mowed down the cop in a hail of bullets. 

Sean Connery won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role, and the film is still popular today, although “The Untouchables” is historically inaccurate about Elliot Ness, Al Capone and the Prohibition Era (as was “The Untouchables” TV series I watched as a kid).

While it is still not advisable to bring a knife to a gunfight, unless you have backup, a knife and other edged weapons can be just as deadly as a firearm.       

Philadelphia in the past few months has seen a rash of stabbings, most notably the two Macy security guards who were attacked last month, one of whom was killed and the other injured seriously. The two guards at the 13th and Market Street store were stabbed by a disgruntled shoplifter who was made to return the stolen items and told to leave the store.

The frustrated shoplifter returned to the store armed with a knife and he stabbed the two guards. A suspect was later arrested.       

Police also arrested a man they believe is responsible for a rash of stabbings in Pennypack Park. According to the Philadelphia Police, the assailant has a machete-style knife tied to his bicycle and without provocation, he has attacked his victims while they traversed the Pennypack Trail. 

And last month, a knife-wielding man in Center City at the Walnut-Locust subway station stabbed three people before he was shot by a SEPTA police officer. (He brought a knife to a gunfight). 

I hope that this series of stabbings, unfortunate as they are, do not result in a surge of calls for “Knife Control.” 

Like firearms, many people carry a knife for self-defense, as well as a useful tool. Only a small percentage of people use their knife to inflict bodily harm, just as only a small percentage of gun owners use their guns for crimes. 

Unfortunately, progressives who want to ban guns also want to ban knives. 

Philadelphia was one city that attempted to criminalize knife-carrying. But a national advocate group known as Knife Rights sued the city. The organization is dedicated to providing knife and edged tool owners an effective voice to influence public policy and to oppose efforts to restrict the right to own, use and carry knives and edged tools.

Back in August, Knife Rights accepted Philadelphia’s offer of judgment in Knife Rights, Inc. v. Outlaw, their federal lawsuit that sought to declare unconstitutional and enjoin Philadelphia’s laws that ban the possession and carry of any bladed arms (knives) in public. The City also agreed to pay $10,000 to cover Knife Rights’ legal expenses.

“We are excited that after the Supreme Court precedent in Bruen, Philadelphia has recognized that its ban on carry and use of knives in public could not pass constitutional muster,” said Knife Rights Chairman, Doug Ritter. “As the premier advocacy organization for the right to possess and carry knives, Knife Rights looks forward to striking down all unconstitutional knife bans throughout the United States.”

John Dillon, an attorney for Knife Rights, added, “It is refreshing when the government, even local government, acknowledges reality and admits they cannot prohibit arms in common use. We will continue our efforts to ensure that cities and states throughout the United States come to the same conclusion. Our rights are not up for debate.”

As Knife Rights noted, in its 2022 NYSRPA v. Bruen decision, “the Supreme Court emphasized that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, applied against states and local governments through the Fourteenth Amendment, is not “a second-class right, subject to an entirely different body of rules than the other Bill of Rights guarantees.” In 2021, Knife Rights filed an important amicus (friend of the court) brief in the Supreme Court that was cited in the Bruen decision.”

In the United Kingdom, China and Japan, countries I visited while serving in the U.S. Navy, gun control is the law of the land. So, their criminals often resort to using a knife to kill and maim. If one can’t get hold of a gun, a knife will do the job as well if one is determined to cause injury or death. 

But take away all guns and knives, and criminals will use clubs, bats, broken bottles and even cars and vans to kill and injure. 

Paul Davis, a Philadelphia writer and frequent contributor to Broad + Liberty, also contributes to Counterterrorism magazine and writes the “On Crime” column for the Washington Times. He can be reached at

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Davis Departing: On This Day In 1971 I Left The Aircraft Carrier USS Kitty Hawk

On this day in 1971 I saluted the flag sharply and walked down the brow of the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk for the last time as a young sailor in San Diego. 

I served aboard the Kitty Hawk from the overhaul in Bremerton, Washington to the 1970-1971 WESTPAC cruise, the aircraft carrier's 5th Vietnam cruise. 

I served on "Yankee Station" in the Gulf of Tonkin in the South China Sea off the coast of North Vietnam, and made port of calls to Honolulu, Subic Bay in the Philippines, Sasebo, Japan and Hong Kong.

It was quite an adventure for a young man.

I was 17 & 1/2 years old when I boarded the Kitty Hawk and 19 & 1/2 when I departed the carrier. 

Even after all these years, I recall vividly my two interesting years on the great aircraft carrier. 

I have mementos, photos and a framed large poster of the USS Kitty Hawk in my basement office and library, which reminds me daily of my time on the USS Kitty Hawk.

I'm proud of my service on the USS Kitty Hawk.

Monday, December 18, 2023

A Little Night Music: The Late, Great Dean Martin's 'The Things We Did Last Summer'

As I have in past Christmas seasons, I'll be listening to Christmas songs right up to New Year's Day.

One favorite Christmas album is ole Dino's. I love Dean Martin’s cover of the Christmas classics.

One song I love is the pretty and somewhat sad ballad, The Things We Did Last Summer. I'm not sure why this song is on the Christmas album, except perhaps due to the song mentioning winter.

You can listen to a remastered The Things We Did Last Summer via the below link:

The Things We Did Last Summer (Remastered) - YouTube

You can also listen to the entire Christmas album via the below link:

White Christmas - YouTube