THIEF! The Gutsy, True Story of an Ex-Con Artist

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THIEF! character, Vince Eli

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Original Gangster

Mob Writer has mixed feelings reading black gangster Frank Lucas's bio titled Original Gangster (St. Martin's Press.) The book and a "New York Magazine" interview were the basis for the movie American Gangster starring Denzel Washington.

Stay tuned for a Mob Speak interview with renowned crime writer Ron Chepesiuk about Original Gangster and the history surrounding the controversial Frank Lucas.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Slick's Las Vegas Then & Now: 22nd in Series

Lake Meade, Oasis in the Desert

In the 1970s and even later, you could picnic on the clean, sandy beaches of Lake Meade. There were no flies or any other insects. And the water was crystal clear. There were no jet skis to intrude on your conversation. You could travel by boat to one of the tranquil side canyons and watch the huge schools of fish, so many that my dog could practically walk on top of them. You could camp out and enjoy the magnificent lights of Las Vegas in the crisp night air.

As the wise men say: everything changes. Almost 40 years later you must now pay a toll for the privilege of seeing how far the water level in the lake has gone down. The “bathtub ring” is a stark reminder of how much water Las Vegas and other cities have taken out of Lake Meade. They say it’s at 40% capacity. As a result, marinas and boat ramps are closed for lack of water. Good luck trying to find a clean spot to picnic. Along with the human garbage have come all the critters that live off that stuff including flies whose stinging bite leaves a welt.

For a long time, my dream was to buy a simple houseboat and live quietly on the lake with my dog, Herman. But not anymore. The beautiful Lake Meade I loved so much is now just a memory from better times.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Newsweek reports:
Hundreds of Suspected Mafiosi Arrested in Italy and America
July 13, 2010
Ravi Somaiya

Dawn raids make up the biggest operation in 15 years.

It was the largest mafia operation in 15 years. In dawn raids 3,000 police officers in Italy and the US arrested more than 320 people they suspected of links to the Calabrian mafia, known as 'Ndrangheta. Those figures, charged with crimes including murder, extortion, arms and drug trafficking and criminal association, included Domenico Oppedisano, 80, reported to be the head of the family.

The organization is considered more powerful and ruthless than the Sicilian mafia. The raids come, according to Agence France Presse, after its northern branch tried to split from the southern, sparking a war. Analysts, according to the BBC, say that 'Ndrangheta had expanded out of Calabria into organized crime across Europe and drug trafficking across the world. Its annual turnover is estimated at around $55 billion.

Police seized assets, arms and drugs, and arrested many businessmen working in the health care. They prefer that field, says Agence France Presse as "iit allows them to establish contacts with politics and with public administration."

Authorities told the La Times that the raid had hit the gang's "nerve center" and dismantled key structures. It came, said an investigator, after police bugged a dry cleaner owned by Francesco Commisso, a suspected member. "It was almost like a confessional," Diego Trotta told the Times. "People would go and see him every day and tell him about their problems and discussions they had with other mafia members. Francesco would take decisions on who would get a certain building contract, who would get a share of the traffic of toxic waste, drug trafficking etc."

Earlier this year one of the organization's top figures was caught after police used Facebook connections to track him down. Pasquale Manfredi, who called himself Scarface after the movie character, was accused of killing a rival with a rocket launcher.

There were no details on the arrests in the US.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Slick on the 4th of July

To day is the 4th of july. While siting at the pool with a bunch of seniors I was asked would you die for your country? I said yes but not for my country but for Chicago. And to lose my country I lose Chicago where I grew up and left 50 years ago. Ever since I left I was always visiting, never home.
Now the president and family is from Chicago. They have been on the same "El" trains, streetcars and subways as I have and I know he will protect it like I would.