Monday, August 29, 2016

Shootings and Murders in Chicago Continue to Spike

Even before the high-profile shooting death of Nykea Aldridge, NBA star Dwyane Wade's cousin, Chicago had been battling a citywide spike in violent crime. While the connection to one of the country's best-known athletes has drawn national attention to the city's problem with gun violence, the underlying problem remains all too familiar for many Chicago residents.

Following Aldridge's death, nine people were killed and nearly 50 were shot across Chicago over the weekend, ABC Chicago station WLS-TV reported. Aldridge's death took place just one day after Wade participated in an ESPN Town Hall on gun violence in the Windy City, an event also attended by Wade's mother, the pastor Jolinda Wade.

"Just sat up on a panel yesterday, The Undefeated, talking about the violence that's going on within our city of Chicago, never knowing that the next day we would be the ones that would be actually living and experiencing it," she said. "We're still going to try and help these people to transform their minds and give them a different direction, so this thing won't keep happening."

Murders have spiked by 49 percent this year compared to last year, and 81 percent over the same time period in 2014.

With more than 450 murders so far in 2015, Chicago is on pace for its highest overall murder count since at least 2012, when 504 were recorded in the entire year.

Overall shooting incidents -- at more than 2,200 and counting -- have mirrored that rise, with a 48 percent spike so far in 2016.

Police blame gangs for a disproportionate share of the city's violent crime.

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said on Saturday that about 1,400 people -- many of them gangs members -- are driving 85 percent of the city's gun violence. The two suspects in Aldridge's death are both documented gang members, police said.

Tragically, many of the shooting victims get caught in the crossfire.

Aldridge, 32, was hit by stray bullets as she pushed her newborn in a stroller after enrolling one of her children in school, WLS-TV reported.

This year's shootings have intensified with the summer heat. This July alone, Chicago saw 65 homicides — the most for that month since 2006, the Associated Press reported.

On Aug. 8, nine people were murdered in Chicago, making it the bloodiest day in 13 years, according to the Chicago Tribune. The victims that day included a 10-year-old boy shot in the back as he played on his front porch, the Tribune reported. Some 27 children younger than 13 have been shot in Chicago so far this year, according to WLS-TV.

Thanks to J.J. Gallagher.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Full Track List for #Mafia3 Plus Expanded Game Score

Mafia III (Expanded Game Score)

? And The Mysterians: “Ninety-Six Tears

The Animals: “We Gotta Get Out Of This Place”

Aretha Franklin: “Chain of Fools,” “Respect”

Barry Maguire: “Eve of Destruction”

Beach Boys: “Help Me, Rhonda,” “Heroes and Villains,” “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”

Beethoven Ben: “Dance of the Hours”

Big Brother & The Holding Company: “Piece of My Heart”

Blue Cheer: “Good Times Are So Hard To Find”

Bobby Fuller Four: “I Fought The Law”

Box Tops: “The Letter”

Canned Heat: “On The Road Again”

Chambers Brothers: “I Can’t Turn You Loose”

Clarence Carter: “Slip Away”

Clifton Chenier: “Ay-Tete-Fee”

Count Five: “Psychotic Reaction”

Cream: “White Room”

Creedence Clearwater Revival: “Proud Mary,” “Fortunate Son,” “Bad Moon Rising,” “Born on the Bayou”

Del Shannon: “Runaway,” “Keep Searchin’ (We’ll Follow The Sun)”

Delta Rae: “Bottom of the River”

Dewey Edwards: “I Let A Good Thing Go By”

Diana Ross & The Supremes: “Love Child”

Dusty Springfield: “Son of a Preacher Man”

Eddie Floyd: “Knock on Wood”

Elvis: “A Little Less Conversation”

Etta James: “Don’t Go To Strangers”

Four Tops: “Reach Out, I’ll Be There”

Freddie Cannon: “Palisades Park”

Iron Butterfly: “In A Gadda Da Vida”

James Brown: “I Got You (I Feel Good)”

Jefferson Airplane: “Somebody to Love,” “White Rabbit”

John Lee Hooker: “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer”

Johnny Cash: “Folsom Prison Blues (Live),” “Ring of Fire”

Jr. Walker and the All Stars: “Shotgun”

L.C. Cooke: “Take Me For What I Am”

Lightnin’ Hopkins: “Black Ghost Blues,” “Sinner’s Prayer,” “The Howling Wolf”

Lightnin’ Slim: “G.I. Blues”

Little Richard: “Long Tall Sally”

Lonnie Youngblood: “Go Go Shoes”

Martha and the Vendellas: “Nowhere to Run”

Marvin Gaye: “You”

Mercy Dee Walton: “Five Card Hand”

Misfits: “You Belong To Me”

Mourning Ritual (ft. Peter Dreimanis): “Bad Moon Rising”

Otis Redding: “Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay,” “Hard To Handle”

Otis Redding & Carla Thomas: “Tramp”

Otis Spann: “Must Have Been The Devil”

Patsy Cline: “Crazy”

Paul Revere and the Raiders: “Kicks”

Ramones: “Palisades Park”

Roger Miller: “King of the Road”

Roosevelt Sykes: “Hey Big Momma”

Roy Orbison: “Running Scared”

Rufus Thomas: “Walking The Dog”

Sam and Dave: “Hold On, I’m Comin’,” “Soul Man”

Sam Cooke: “Chain Gang,” “Wonderful World,” “Bring It On Home To Me,” “Another Saturday Night,” “I’m Gonna Forget About You”

Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs: “Li’l Red Riding Hood”

Sonny Rhodes: “You Better Stop”

Status Quo: “Pictures Of Matchstick Men”

Steppenwolf: “Desperation,” “Born To Be Wild”

Supremes: You Keep Me Hangin’ On

Temptations: “I Wish It Would Rain”

The Animals: “House of the Rising Sun”

The Avengers: “Paint It Black”

The Band: “The Weight”

The Chambers Brothers: “Time Has Come Today”

The Dramatics: “Get Up and Get Down”

The Duprees: “You Belong To Me”

The Fun Sons: “Hang Ten”

The Miracles: “You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me”

The Rolling Stones: “Mother’s Little Helper,” “Paint It Black,” “Sympathy For The Devil,” “Street Fighting Man,”

The Searchers: “Take Me For What I’m Worth,” “Needles & Pins”

The Shadows of Knight: “I Got My Mojo Working”

The Supremes: “Baby Love”

The Tams: “What Kind of Fool (Do You Think I Am)”

The Temptations: “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg”

The Troggs: “Wild Thing”

Three Dog Night: “One”

Vanilla Fudge: “You Keep Me Hangin’ On”

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Brotherhoods: The True Story of Two Cops Who Murdered for the Mafia

It was a case that took years to make. Former NYPD Detectives Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa were accused of taking part in at least eight gangland murders in the ‘80s and early ‘90s, most while still on the job. In the end they were found guilty; but the judge threw out their convictions, saying the statute of limitations had expired, even though he believed the evidence showed overwhelmingly that the officers were guilty.

“It's sort of crazy and sensible,” explained Guy Lawson, co-author of the book “Brotherhoods: The True Story of Two Cops Who Murdered for the Mafia” about the case. “It's like New York City, it's a paradox. It all makes sense at each stage, but when you put it all together, it seems like madness.”

It makes for a story that is better than fiction. “[It had] murder, kidnapping, and intrigue, and the mafia and hit men,” said co-author of “Brotherhoods”, William Oldham. “[It had] a guy who killed 30 people, and a “good guy” who only killed six people."

Oldham was one of a team of investigators who made the case. He and Lawson have written the first book about it, a book that begins with Oldham's story. “In 1990, I went to work with Stephen Caracappa in the major case squad,” recalled Oldham.

The allegations against Eppolito and Caracappa emerged in the mid-90s, but prosecutors did not have enough evidence to charge them. That is when Oldham started investigating the detectives. “In 1997, everyone had sort of packed up their tents and gone home, and I thought that these two deserved a trial and I began an investigation that lasted seven years,” said Oldham.

“I think the secret to why Oldham took this case is because it was so damn hard,” added Lawson. “You know, there's a certain kind of intelligence that wants to do the hardest thing.”

Oldham eventually produced the key witness, Burton Kaplan, a marijuana dealer who said he was the main contact between the officers and the Luchese family. “The thing about a RICO case, it's a number of criminal instants strung together and you sort of do need a story teller to connect the dots,” explained Oldham.

Thanks to Solana Pyne

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Mafia in Gomorrah, Reminiscent of The Wire and The Sopranos

A pair of Mafia lieutenants, filling a jerry can at a Naples gas station, pass the time discussing the foibles of modern youth. “She put a picture of me and her mom on ‘book,’” the older one says. “Facebook,” his younger colleague tells him. “All the kids have it.” Gangsters — they’re just like us!

That’s the opening scene of “Gomorrah,” the highly popular Italian television series that makes its American debut on SundanceTV on Wednesday. Based on a 2007 nonfiction investigative work by Roberto Saviano, Gomorrah: A Personal Journey into the Violent International Empire of Naples' Organized Crime System, that has also been adapted into a well-known film, the series arrives with a deserved reputation for unrelenting violence — the gas in that can is quickly put to use in a vivid and unpleasant way. But brutality isn’t the whole story. “Gomorrah” operates on two planes. It’s a grim, detailed, quotidian drama about the inner workings of organized crime (which has drawn comparisons to “The Wire”) and at the same time it’s a traditional Mafia saga, a clan melodrama centering on succession and the ups and downs of the family business (which has drawn comparisons to “The Sopranos” and “The Godfather”). Either of these by itself might not be very interesting, but the combination is handled so adroitly that the show sucks you in. It doesn’t have the emotional or stylistic highs of those predecessors, but it carries you along like one of the sleek Italian motorcycles preferred by its wealthier characters.

The 12-episode first season (a second has already been shown in Europe) centers on two members of a drug gang in the Naples suburbs who are like a foster-family version of Sonny and Michael Corleone. Gennaro (Salvatore Esposito) is a Sonny-like hothead, unfit to be in charge but eventually thrust into the role because he’s the only son of the boss. Ciro (Marco D’Amore, whose quiet charisma holds your attention) is a coldly efficient killer and canny strategist — he’s the Michael, but because he’s not in the family, he has to work with Gennaro, or appear to.

The relationship of these two up-and-comers, playing out amid a large cast of other familiar Mafia-drama types (the ruthless but declining boss, the calculating mother, the good soldier, the aggrieved wife), proceeds through an arc of increasingly operatic violence, as rival clans fight for turf and one massacre begets another. The story line is dark, and so is the screen. Under the guidance of the showrunner, Stefano Sollima, the show makes a fetish of low light and shadow. Its most characteristic scenes are not chases and shootouts but small groups of nervous or celebratory men meeting in the dark. They gather on street corners, in crowded discos and in abandoned buildings that serve as drug markets, their faces obscured or invisible. Even during the day, they’re in curtained rooms or prison cells.

The cinematography and lighting fit with the show’s overall sense of desolation, a depiction of the Neapolitan environment as rubble-filled, overgrown and derelict. (Scenes set in Milan offer a pointed comparison to the less prosperous south.) Much of the action is set in faceless, towering apartment blocks that recall the settings of Italian neorealist films, though touches of lyricism creep in, like a beach scene in which a pair of horse carts passing in the background feel like early Fellini.

Mr. Sollima and his colleagues are certainly aware of the many influences to be sorted through in making a modern gangster tale. At one point a young hood, describing the botched job that got him imprisoned, says that cops and helicopters arrived “just like an American movie.” In “Gomorrah,” they’ve achieved a satisfying international blend.

Thanks to Mike Hale.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Hells Angels Biker Gang Readying a Comeback

The weekend funeral of a Hells Angel member provided valuable information for law enforcement officers monitoring the group's attempt to rebuild after being decimated by arrests, said several organized crime experts.

Kenny B├ędard, 51, had only recently become a full member of the biker gang when he was killed in a road accident in New Brunswick last month.But his newcomer status didn't seem to matter to the hundreds of gang members who gathered at a church in Pointe-Saint-Charles for the funeral on Saturday. 

The funeral doubled as a strategic bit of theatre, said one expert, who pointed out the gang has been in restructuring mode since a large police operation in 2009 that led to the arrests of more than 150 members.

"It was a chance for the bikers to show that they're close to each other and at the same time, a demonstration of their strength to other bikers who are their enemies," said Pierre de Champlain, a historian of organized crime in Montreal.

"It shows, 'Us bikers, we are in control of the territory in terms of the sale of drugs.'"

On Saturday, police officers could be seen taking footage of gang members gathering outside the church — a sign, said another expert, that law enforcement is readying itself for the gang's resurgence."These guys are returning," said Guy Ryan, a former organized crime investigator with Montreal police. "They will start reconquering their territory and selling drugs."

Several experts noted the Hells appeared to be no longer keeping a low profile, as they had in the years after Operation SharQc in 2009.

Sylvain Tremblay, a former provincial police officer, believes the gang was emboldened by the failure to prosecute some of the more high-profile cases that stemmed from those arrests.

Five Hells Angels picked up in 2009 on murder and conspiracy charges were released last year when a judge ruled the Crown had violated rules on sharing evidence with the defence."We could say that 2016, even the end of 2015, saw the return of the Hells Angels," Tremblay told Radio-Canada. "I think we'll be seeing them more and more in Quebec."

Thanks to CBC.

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