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Friday, July 21, 2006

Indiana State Police intensify search for Toll Road vandals

Indiana State Police are investigating several incidents of vandalism that have occurred recently on the Indiana Toll Road.
Between 5:30 and 10:30 p.m. on July 7, juveniles were seen throwing rocks at moving vehicles in the area of the 91.2 mile marker. The 91.2 mile marker is in Elkhart County near the County Road 7 overpass. Witnesses said four juveniles had positioned themselves along the north side of the Toll Road in a ditch.
A total of 25 vehicles sustained damage during the incident. Damage to the vehicles is estimated at over $12,000.
The subjects responsible for the crimes could face several misdemeanor and felony charges. The subjects involved are believed to be juveniles and may live in the area of the County Road 7 overpass and the Toll Road.
"This is a crime that we don't take lightly," Indiana State Police Detective First Sergeant Brenda Kaczmarek said. "Innocent people are killed every year by objects that are thrown at moving vehicles. We want the perpetrators caught before someone is injured or killed."
The Indiana State Police is asking for the public's help in solving this crime.
Crime Stoppers has agreed to help pursue these criminals. Crime Stoppers will pay a reward up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest or indictment of the individuals responsible for this crime.

A Keyword of Your very own for $5

Ir8 Search.com, an exciting new web site, is banking on the frustration of small businesses with high Internet advertising costs. Rather than selling high-priced clicks for targeted keywords, Ir8 Search.com rents the keywords on a monthly basis for a $5.00 fee.
Eden Prairie, MN (PRWEB) July 14th, 2006 -- Ir8 Search.com, an exciting new web site, is banking on the frustration of small businesses with high Internet advertising costs. Rather than selling high-priced clicks for targeted keywords, Ir8 Search.com rents the keywords on a monthly basis for a $5.00 fee.
'Small businesses have been struggling with advertising costs for the last several years, ever since the invention of pay-per-click advertising,' says Mike Mancini, Founder of Ir8 Search.com. 'Why can't someone rent a keyword for a monthly fee, a keyword that is linked to their web site alone, without competing for that keyword? Ir8 Search.com offers that definitive marketing advantage.'
Pay-per-click advertising consists of people clicking on keywords in search engines to take them to a web site where they will hopefully find what they are looking for. Businesses pay search engines a set fee each time someone clicks on that keyword, so they can hopefully turn that click into a profit. The price of a click can be as low as $0.01, but it can also be more than $75.00 for high-priced industries, such as the financial world.
Ir8 Search.com (available online at http://www.ir8search.com) gives small businesses the chance to rent even potentially expensive keywords for the flat fee of $5.00 a month. To ensure that the keywords match up to the web site, and therefore provide a benefit to the search engine user, Ir8 Search.com screens the web sites of companies before allotting them the keyword.
There is also a three-month limit on the amount of time that a company can hold on to a keyword. After that, a company will have to join a waiting list if it wishes to repurchase that keyword for another 3 month period. This gives all companies an equal advantage.
'This way, everyone has a shot at getting some of that business, not just the corporate giants with their multi-million dollar advertising budgets,' says Mancini. 'There are so many businesses and websites out there that no one has heard of because they cannot compete with corporate America on the advertising front."

Regine and Ogie in new music video

If you watched SOP yesterday, you must have seen the new music video of the new song performed by Regine Velasquez and Ogie Alcasid. According to its drumbeaters, it was supposed to be the music video's world premiere.
The duet, entitled 'Di Ko Na Kayang Masaktan Pa,' is written by Ogie Alcasid and it's about the pain and heartaches of being in love and letting go.
Many are asking if the ditty is close to home to the two singers who have been intermittently rumored to be making beautiful music in real life. Well, they are as this duet will tell you.
The song is another potential hit from the two, whose past duets 'Hanggang Ngayon' and 'Sa Piling Mo,' easily soared to the top of the charts.
The music video of the new song was conceptualized and directed by Louie Ignacio, who has directed the two in their music videos. This one is a departure from the previous videos of Ogie and Regine. It has been described to be dark but dramatic, sad but meaningful.
'Di Ko Na Kayang Masaktan Pa' is the third single out of Ogie's Lumilipad CD for Viva Records.
If you like the guy and his songs you can catch him on Myx Live! July 19 as he sings several cuts from his new album. His special guest is (does it surprise all of us?) Regine Velasquez.
The singing duo will sing their new single live on the show.
Meanwhile, Ogie is busy preparing for his birthday concert. The show, entitled Komikonsyerto, will be held at the Aliw Theater on Aug. 5 at 8 p.m. Ogie's special guests include Michael V, Wendell Ramos and Francine Prieto, with the special participation of fast-rising BMG recording artist Lovi, and Rufa Mae Quinto.
Masahista on video
Masahista (The Masseur), the award-winning movie by Brilliante Mendoza, finally makes its way from the big screen to your TV screen as it becomes available in video. This compelling drama bagged a trophy as co-winner of the prestigious Golden Leopard award (video division) at the 58th Locarno International Film Festival in Switzerland.
Masahista is about Iliac, a twenty-year-old masseur in a massage parlor that caters to gay clientele. In here, sex is an immediate consequence of massage. One ordinary night, a homosexual romance novel writer becomes Iliac's first customer for the day. But once outside the parlor, his current girlfriend, a bar girl who works in Japan, asserts her sexual dominion over him.
Back home, his estranged father dies and as Iliac makes the trip to the province, he is faced with the reality of death, love, life, and survival. The masseur then carries out his defined duties and roles'to his father and family, to his girlfriend, to his trade and to the one customer who has made him a favorite and seems to return for more.
Masahista has also been invited to the Toronto and Vancouver International Film Festivals, as well as in Chicago, USA, Belgium, Austria, Brazil, Argentina, and Hong Kong. It has also been sold in the United States, Canada, France, Estonia, Lithuania, Germany, and Switzerland. The movie is director Brilliante Mendoza's first feature film and stars newcomer Coco Martin as Iliac, as well as screen legend Jaclyn Jose, ace actor Alan Paule, and Katherine Luna.
Vote for the CloseUp 'Famous 8'
Four pairs of fresh, confident, finalists, dubbed as the 'Famous 8' by the fans of CloseUp to Fame 2, the country's biggest reality model-search on air today, are vying for the title of the 'Next CloseUp Couple.'
With a cool P1 million up for grabs, along with a shot at fame and fortune as the next faces of CloseUp's advertising campaign, it will be a tense wait till the show's grand finals on July 22.
Take your favorite candidate closer to fame: Just grab any CloseUp pack with a 'CloseUp to Fame 2' sticker, text in: CloseUp then send it to 2955. And each time you text in to vote for your favorite finalist, you also bring yourself closer to winning iPods, digicams and P100,000 during the weekly and grand raffle draws on the show.
Tune in for the latest results on CloseUp to Fame 2 as it airs every Saturday, at 3 p.m. on ABS-CBN.
Leading the text votes (as of this writing) are Vince Saldana, an Aries from Dasmari?as, Cavite, who was actually raised in Guam. 'Any votes for me will be my inspiration to strive for excellence,' says this 19-year old.
Frontrunner for the girls is none other than Kat Reyes, also a Cavite?a, who is also a computer applications grad from DLSU-College of Benilde. 'Why should people vote for me? Well, I am who I am, and I never pretend to be what I'm not,' Kat declares.
Kenny Waymack of Bacolod is a close second. A capoiera buff and an expert dancer, Kenny says he is the perfect choice for CloseUp since he's 'wholesome but also fun and exciting.'
Aimee Villarica, a fresh grad from Ateneo de Naga, Camarines Sur, invites people to vote for her in the CloseUp search because of her 'spicy smile and I have the confidence that sparks from within and lasts for a lifetime.'
Reb Sibal, a fitness buff from Caloocan says he 'will do his best and won't let down' all the people who vote for him.
Dimples Guevarra, who just finished her nursing program at the Colegio de la Immaculada Concepcion, Cebu City, is always up for a challenge and says she brings enthusiasm to the search.
Ara Hanesh of Dagupan City, trekked all the way to Pampanga to join the CloseUp to Fame 2 search. 'This is my dream!' she exclaimed.
Micah Munoz, a San Bedan from Bacolod, says fans of the search should vote for him because he 'exudes life, fun, and freshness.'
Reggie Curley in Daisy Siyete
Fresh from the critical success of Mga Pusang Gala, which is reaping awards and nominations here and abroad, model-turned-actor Reggie Curley is playing another interesting role in the new season of Daisy Siyete.
Entitled, 'Landas,' the new season has Reggie playing Alfred, a handsome and ambitious lawyer who stops at nothing in getting his way to the top. Alfred marries wealthy but orphaned heiress Rochelle (played by Sex Bomb Rochelle Pangilinan) but it seems that he has other plans for his new bride. He can't get over his wife's adopted sister, played by Sex Bomb Sunshine, who is truly a revelation here playing an antiheroine. There's a lot of twists and turns in the story and Reggie is truly enjoying his role. He even got to shoot a music video for the movie's theme song, which included snippets from Reggie's wedding scene with Rochelle.

Offline Sales, Online Ads, Offline Tracking" Offline Sales, Online Ads, Offline Tracking

As Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft ramp up the battle for local search dollars, retailers new to the online world need to track the effectiveness of their online advertising campaigns.
Believe it or not, there are thousands of businesses that do not have websites. They have been content to stick with yellow pages, print media, and radio spots to reach the local audience.
That local audience has become more of a consumer of the Internet than ever before, though. Instead of subscribing to a newspaper, they visit the newspaper's website. Instead of turning to the yellow pages to find a business, many people will enter a business category and city into a search engine to see what may be nearby.
The major search engine and advertising players want to help businesses tap that web-savvy audience. A paid search campaign can direct the visitor to a landing page, but if the inventory from the business is not available online, the visitor needs to make a brick-and-mortar visit to complete the sale.
Without some way to track that sale, it will be impossible to tell if a customer at the register is actually a converted online prospect. Internet marketing blogger Shimon Sandler suggested how to track who has traveled from the Net to the store.
The landing page displayed online by the business can contain some sort of trackable item, like a coupon or a code number, that the customer needs to bring into the store. Each sale with that offer can be broken out from the total sales to analyze its effectiveness.
The trackable item idea looks best for the business new to the online community and paid search advertising. Rare is the business that can't or won't offer some sort of sale or discount as a promotion to its customers.
That approach suits both retailers and service industries, like skilled trades or professionals like accountants. A positive number of online to offline conversions may be the cue that a business should make more of a move online.
David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Tiny search engines get 'social'

Other startups, too, have had similar visions for "social search." And today, even large competitors like Yahoo Inc. and Google Inc. are pursuing the concept, hoping it'll help make search results more meaningful and thus expand the companies' market share.
Traditional search results are largely based on objective criteria such as counting the number of links other sites have placed to a given Web page. Social search gives people subjective answers -- the best sushi restaurant in Chicago or the best Web site for information about French impressionism -- not necessarily the site visited the most.
"You're essentially breaking up a problem and sending it out to a huge number of people for a query, getting answers back," said Steven Jones, a communications professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. "It kind of ends up being greater than the sum of its parts. Other people are going to make associations and connections to information you probably would not have made."
At Prefound, launched earlier this year, users contribute to the knowledge pool by submitting clusters of sites they believe would appeal to like-minded people. As an incentive, the largest contributors even get a share of Prefound's advertising money.
A visitor looking for information on, say, New Jersey beaches can get the user-recommended sites, grouped by users. One user's cluster gives you restaurants, Internet cafes and other information on the coastal town of Ventnor City, N.J.
Results are better the more people contribute sites.
Jones said it's too early to know whether social search will dramatically change the way people look for information on the Internet, but it's already changing the way traditional search companies do business.
Yahoo, a distant second to Google, has entered the game largely by buying some of these startups, namely Del.icio.us, a system for discovering new sites based on shared bookmarks, and Flickr, a photo-sharing sites where users tag items with keywords to help friends and strangers alike discover photographs on any topic.
Google has started to incorporate community answers on travel and health questions into its main search engine. It has also established a program allowing users to contribute their own content, tagged with specific attributes, to turn up in search results.
"To some extent the small companies have invented it, but the big companies have been thinking about it for quite a while, too," said Charlene Li, an analyst at Forrester Research.
Steven Marder, co-founder of Eurekster Inc., considered one of the earliest social search sites, said Yahoo's and Google's entry into social search was "validating our philosophy and methodology." [continue]

Face to face with mob killer Author Carlo describes sessions with

For some reason, Philip Carlo has always found himself being interested with what makes a serial killer.
The New York-based author spent hundreds of hours interviewing Richard Ramirez, who had the entire Los Angeles area sitting on pins and needles in the 1980s as he earned the nickname of "The Night Stalker."
"In the process of researching serial killers, Ramirez was fascinating," said Carlo, who wrote the first comprehensive book on Ramirez, entitled "The Night Stalker: The True Story of America's Most Feared Serial Killer," which was published in 1996. "It was an unusual case. Everyone knew what he did."
About five years ago, Carlo came home one night after having dinner and turned on HBO, which was airing the final of its interviews with Jersey City native and former North Bergen resident Richard Kuklinski. The series was called "The Ice Man Confesses: Secrets of a Mafia Hit Man."
In the documentaries, Kuklinski told how he notoriously performed mob hits throughout New Jersey, including three more prominent murders in North Bergen during the 1980s, earning him the nickname "The Ice Man," for keeping some of his murder victims inside a freezer in his garage on Tonnelle Avenue.
"It looked so interesting," Carlo said. "I had vague recollections of him when the story first broke, but while watching this interview and as he was talking, I was struck by his cold candor. Something about him was unusual. Here he was, coldly talking about feeding people to rats while they were still alive."
Kuklinski, who in his heyday stood an imposing 6-foot-5 and weighed 275 pounds, calmly admitted on camera that he killed as many as 100 people during his lifetime, perhaps more.
As soon as the show was completed, Carlo wrote Kuklinski a letter and addressed it to Trenton State Prison, where Kuklinski was serving two life sentences.
"It was like 3 a.m., but I found it all so fascinating that I had to write to him," Carlo said. "I had been looking for another subject to write about and this was him. I just don't want to write about someone who is killing people. There has to be a story behind it."
Carlo had written to two other serial killers. One was Gary Ridgway, who gained notoriety as the "Green River Killer" by pleading guilty to 49 murders of women in the Seattle area in the 1990s. The other was Dennis Rader, who pleaded guilty to being the "BTK (Blind Torture Kill) Killer" in Wichita, torturing 10 murder victims going back to 1974. Neither man responded to Carlo's requests.
"I'm just fascinated with people who live to kill, who are cunning and hide in plain sight," Carlo said. "I wanted to know when on inside his mind, how he was a family man with three children, yet did all these horrible things."
"Three weeks after I sent the letter, lo and behold, I hear from him," Carlo said. "He was interested. He told me that I should also contact Barbara [Kuklinski's ex-wife]. He wanted to know if I was dedicated to the project. He said that Barbara would be of help."
That was all the inspiration Carlo needed. He then set out to write "The Ice Man: Confessions of a Mafia Contract Killer," which was released recently by St. Martin's Press.
The book has caused some controversy because of Kuklinski's boasts in it, including saying he was involved in the death of former Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa.
Carlo remembered one conversation that he had with Barbara Kuklinski that really stood out.
"She told me that he could be the nicest man in the world, a loving father with arms filled with gifts," Carlo said. "Or he could be the meanest son of a bitch that ever lived. I interviewed everyone. There were all these stories about him being a good family man, but he also had a really bad temper. He broke things constantly. He once threw a marble table through the front window. Only a man of super human strength could do that."
Carlo vividly recalls the first time he sat down face-to-face with Kuklinski to begin nearly 250 hours of interviews.
"I was sitting there, not knowing what to expect," Carlo said. "The door opens and he walks in and for a couple of seconds, I couldn't believe how huge he was, with his shoulders, his girth. He had a size 15 foot. His arms were huge. But he walked like a cat and moved very quickly. When he reached out to shake my hand, I knew right away that this man was enormous. I felt like a young child."
"As it turned out, he was very soft spoken and rather engaging," Carlo said. "He had a keen sense of humor and would always catch me off-guard. My plan was to learn everything about his life. My initial interest was how he became the way he was."
Carlo said that he used a very different technique to get Kuklinski to open up to him.
"For the first four or five interviews, I talked only about myself," Carlo said. "I grew up in Brooklyn and knew the Mafia names and knew them well. Richard knew that I could do the walk and the talk. It gave me an insight to mob killers, so he understood where I was coming from. He knew I was real."
Carlo said that he was then amazed how freely Kuklinski opened up to him, telling Carlo that the actual number of people he killed was more like 200 instead of the estimated 100 reported in the HBO specials.
"I think he saw that I was so willing to open up about myself that he trusted me and we developed a rapport," Carlo said. "I asked about his mother and father. I asked about his heritage. Little by little, he told me everything."
Kuklinski detailed in gruesome fashion some of the killings that he was either paid to pull off or just did because of a vendetta.
Kuklinski said in Carlo's book that he was born in Jersey City in 1935 to dirt-poor Polish immigrants and that he started his life in crime by bludgeoning a neighborhood bully to death in downtown Jersey City when Kuklinski was only 14.
"He had an abusive alcoholic father who eventually killed Richard's brother," Carlo said. "I was looking him right in the eye and I could tell he was telling me the truth. He ran the gamut of emotions each time we talked. He was sad, angry, filled with rage. He told me that the only regret he ever had was that he didn't kill his father."
According to Carlo's book, Kuklinski was known by his wife and children as a family man, with the Kuklinski family living in virtual obscurity in Dumont in Bergen County No one knew of Kuklinski's secret life as an assassin for the Mafia.
However, because of the HBO specials and the books, like the one written by Carlo, Kuklinski's status almost grew to that of a horror-movie cult figure, much like Hannibal Lechter of "Silence of the Lambs" fame.
Kuklinski told Carlo that killing was a way to cover up robberies and thefts. He claimed to have shot, stabbed, strangled and poisoned many of his victims.
As one of the main enforcers for the Gambino crime family, Kuklinski earned a reputation of killing with such ease that even the biggest Mafia bosses were uneasy around him.
Among the victims Kuklinski claimed to have murdered was Robert Prongay, a North Bergen businessman who owned a Mister Softee ice cream truck. Prongay's bullet-riddled body was found hanging in a garage on Tonnelle Avenue, near where the truck was regularly parked.
It was believed that Prongay was the person who sold Kuklinski the cyanide that he had used for several killings. Kuklinski would later say that cyanide was one of his most popular ways of pulling off hired hits.
"Why be messy?" Kuklinski said while being interviewed for the HBO documentaries. "You do it nice and neat with cyanide."
Kuklinski claimed to put cyanide into a nasal spray bottle. While walking down the street, he would pretend to sneeze into a handkerchief. While doing so, Kuklinski would spray the cyanide into the face of a passerby, killing them almost instantly. Kuklinski said that Prongay was the person who would provide the cyanide.
When Kuklinski believed Prongay was going to tell the police about the association between the two men, Kuklinski killed him.
Another Kuklinski victim, Gary Smith, was killed when Kuklinski apparently fed Smith a poison-filled hamburger. After Smith was dead, Kuklinski apparently jammed Smith's body under a bed inside a North Bergen hotel room. Smith's body went unnoticed in the hotel room for more than three weeks, before the smell of decomposition drew attention to the room.
Another Kuklinski case that involved North Bergen was the murder of local pharmacist Louis Masgay, whose body was allegedly kept in a North Bergen freezer for more than two years - thus Kuklinski's nickname of "The Ice Man."
Kuklinski apparently kept an industrial-sized freezer in a warehouse space that Kuklinski rented on Tonnelle Avenue. Witnesses had seen Masgay near the warehouse before Masgay's disappearance.
Kuklinski later said that he shot Masgay and kept him in the freezer to try to disguise the time of death. Masgay's body was eventually found in Rockland County in New York, wrapped in plastic bags and wearing the same clothes he had on when last seen.
When the medical examiner did the autopsy, it was determined that although Masgay's body appeared fresh, like a day or two, there was ice in the tissues, which proved that the fatal wounds had occurred a long time prior to Masgay's body being spotted.
Following Kuklinski's eventual arrest in 1986, North Bergen police and FBI agents combed the area in search of a freezer that would have been big enough to store a human body. A freezer was never found - although it is believed that Prongay's ice cream truck could have also been storage for victims such as Masgay.
Kuklinski also confessed to have murdered another unidentified North Bergen man while he "conducted business" in the rented warehouse. Once the unidentified man was dead, Kuklinski apparently stuffed the body into a 55-gallon drum, filled the drum with cement and left the drum outside the victim's favorite hot dog stand on Bergenline Avenue.
Kuklinski said that he took "great thrill" going by the hot dog stand and seeing the drum just sitting there, day after day.
"I found great amusement seeing that drum there for so long," Kuklinski said on the HBO special.
Eventually, the drum was removed and was believed to be taken to local landfills with regular trash. The victim's body was never recovered.
In the 1980s, Kuklinski had become one of the leaders of a robbery and theft ring. At first, he was not connected with any of the murders, just believed to be involved with the theft.
So a task force of state, local and federal agents was set up to investigate Kuklinski and a group of others he was associated with.
Dominic Polifrone, who was an agent for the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, posed as a mobster looking for drugs and just happened to secretly record Kuklinski admitting to several murders. That was enough evidence to arrest Kuklinski.
However, in Carlo's book, it is written that Lt. Pat Kane of the New Jersey State Police monitored Kuklinski's actions for more than five years.
"Polifone only did it for four months," Carlo said. "Lt. Pat Kane pursued Richard for five years."
In 1986, Kuklinski was arrested outside of his Dumont home. At the time, Kuklinski was only charged with five murders, including the murder of Gary Smith.
In 1988, Kuklinski was convicted and sentenced to consecutive life terms for the murders of Smith and colleague Daniel Dessper. Later that year, he pleaded guilty to the murder of Masgay. But he was never charged with any of the murders that he claimed to have carried out during the HBO series.
Kuklinski was all set to testify that famed mob rat Sammy "The Bull" Gravano hired him in 1980 to kill New York City detective Peter Calabro on a snowy night in Upper Saddle River, N.J. Kuklinski said that he kept in constant contact with Gravano that night and that Gravano was nearby at the time of the killing, as Kuklinski shot Calabro while Calabro was sitting in his car.
Kuklinski pleaded guilty to the murder of Calabro in 2003, two years after the HBO show first aired. Murder charges were filed against Gravano, who is currently serving a 20-year term in federal prison for a drug conviction after turning state's evidence against the mob.
However, the charges against Gravano were dropped soon after Kuklinski died last March.
"If that trial took place, it would have been the biggest story outside of 'The DaVinci Code,' " Carlo claimed. "Richard died March 5 and the charges were dropped March 6."
Of all the claims of murders and hits done by Kuklinski, perhaps the most controversial one mentioned in the book is the claim that Kuklinski was involved with the famous disappearance of former Teamsters president Jimmy Hoffa in 1975.
Carlo said that he had heard rumors on the street, as well as comments from the now-retired Kane, that Kuklinski had something to do with Hoffa's disappearance.
"Richard never told me about Hoffa," Carlo said. "Lt. Pat Kane did. When I went back to [Trenton State] prison to talk to Richard, I said, 'You know, I might have heard something that you had something to do with Hoffa,' and he snapped at me, 'I don't want to talk about that.' That was it for a while. I asked him three times and he kept saying, `I don't want to talk about that.'"
The persistent Carlo figured that Kuklinski had a story to tell.
"On the fourth time I asked him, he proceeded to tell me a detailed story about Hoffa," Carlo said. "He said that they all met in Union City, but when they met, he didn't know who Hoffa was."
Carlo wrote that Kuklinski admitted to having stabbed Hoffa in the back of the neck in Detroit, then drove his body back to Kearny, where it was dumped in the swamps there.
"It was incredible," Carlo said. "I even asked him at the time about taking the body all the way back to Jersey, some 10 hours or so in the trunk. I asked what that smelled like. He said the smell was bad."
In the book, Kuklinski claims that on July 29, 1975, he was with four other guys who drove to Detroit from New Jersey with a contract to kill Hoffa, but Kuklinski didn't know who Hoffa was.
The book reveals that Kuklinski, a mobster named "Tony P.," a pair of brothers named "Gabe" and "Sal" and "another guy named Tommy," were there when Hoffa was killed.
The men whom Kuklinski tried to implicate are believed to be Anthony "Tony Pro" Provenzano, Gabriel and Salvatore Briguglio, and Thomas Andretta. Those four men were the focus of a grand jury investigation regarding Hoffa's disappearance. However, all four have denied having anything to do with Hoffa's disappearance and have never been charged.
According to the book, the men took the 10-hour drive to from Union City (where Hoffa was last seen alive a day prior) to Detroit and were told to go to the suburban Detroit restaurant where Hoffa was eating.
Kuklinski claimed that Hoffa left with the men in the car. Then, Kuklinski claims to have hit Hoffa in the back of the head with a blackjack, then plunged a hunting knife into the back of his neck.
Kuklinski said that the men put Hoffa's body in a body bag at a rest stop in Bloomfield, Mich., and drove back to New Jersey with Hoffa's body in the trunk. They took the body to a junkyard in Kearny.
In the book, Kuklinski said that once the group got to Kearny, Hoffa's body was placed in a 50-gallon drum and set on fire.
The drum was then sealed and buried in the junkyard. However, feeling the heat about the disappearance, the drum was later dug up and placed in the trunk of a car that was crushed and sold as scrap metal to Japanese car makers.
"He's part of a car somewhere in Japan right now," Kuklinski says of Hoffa in the book.
Kuklinski told Carlo that he received $40,000 for the hit on Hoffa.
Since the book was released, Carlo has been under fire by experts who have stated the story is pure fiction.
"I took what he said at face value, and until someone proves me different, I believe it," Carlo said. "I think he did it. He didn't sound like someone who lives in a fantasy world. Of course, when he first told me, I was a little skeptical. But I still wrote it as he told me. I told that to St. Martin's Press, and they told me to go with it. It really sounded real."
Incredibly, while Carlo's book was being printed and shipped to bookstores for its July release, federal officials were excavating a Bloomfield, Mich. farm, acting on a tip that Hoffa's body might be buried there.
"I was thinking that if they found his body there on that farm, I would have been totally shocked," Carlo said. "It was a little more than coincidence that this search happened when the book was coming out. I honestly didn't attach that much importance to the Hoffa murder. I always thought the story of Richard's life was more important, not just one given incident. There's no way to definitely know if it was true. But what was I supposed to do? Not write it?"
Added Carlo, "I suddenly found myself in a whirlwind of bad intentions. I spent years of my life writing this book. Now they're saying that Richard Kuklinski is a liar, after he's dead?"
Carlo said that he's already begun his next project, on the life of reputed Luchese underboss Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso, who spent nearly three years on the lam avoiding the federal agents, until he was caught in 1993 and turned state's evidence against the mob a year later.
"The Ice Man: Confessions of a Mafia Contract Killer," written by Philip Carlo, is available in all bookstores and via Internet book sites like Amazon and Barnes and Noble.com.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Mumbai ko gussa kyo aata hai

This column, about anger ' or the lack of it is going to get me many angry responses I'm sure.
The thing is amidst all this talk of Mumbai being angry, very very angry, Mumbai asking questions, Mumbai not taking things lying down, Mumbai standing up, shaking its fist hunting down the guilty, settling scores ' I wonder what's wrong with me that I don't feel any anger.
Sadness yes, I feel enormous sadness, compassion, empathy sympathy. But I look deep in my heart in the darkest recesses for that teeny bit of anger, anger that will blaze through the pain, anger that will enable me too to sit in TV studios with high-pitched anchors that look in to cameras with their jaws set firmly and say, 'We can feel Mumbai's anger.' Anger whose presence will indicate that I am alive, I have normal human responses, and I belong to those multitude of my fellow beings who say we demand our rights, we will bring down governments who have not protected us, we will search and find those responsible for Tuesday's acts, we will kill them, stamp out their existence destroy their progeny. But yet, there is nada, nothing, no fire no brimstone.
Which makes me believe that perhaps I am not alone in this response. Perhaps there are others like me who too cannot respond to the blasts with anger.
Mumbaikars who in their hearts know that however easy it is to blame the railway authorities and politicians and police and intelligence for not averting the blasts, there was little they could do in the situation: People who see our overcrowded, bursting-at-the-seams-about-to-explode city and know that the fault lies not in the easy targets before us, but in deeper places: the fact that Mumbai attracts thousands of settlers each day, the fact that lakhs use an outmoded and crumbling form of transport, the fact that when terror strikes even the most sophisticated cities like London or New York are helpless in its face.
And I believe there are enough like me who are disturbed by the mood for revenge that seems to have set in. I watch people who ought to know better commend George Bush and America for its response to 9/11. The same people who were appaled by America's heavy handed response. Who are suddenly baying for blood. As if revenge has ever resulted in a cessation of violence. As if an eye for an eye would not leave the whole world blind.
Call me a wimp, but I am sure there are others like me who will weigh in for thoughtfulness introspection at times like this. It may not make for very striking TV sound bytes, and its so much sexier to be strident.
I believe there are other people like me who in their personal as well as public lives respond to injustice not with revenge but trying to rise above it. That is the way I have personally coped with every challenge that has come my way. Telling myself that those who have wronged me will get their comeuppance. That my job is only to become stronger, bigger, better. Perhaps for Mumbaikers too this is a valid response. Leaving aside thoughts of blame and revenge and busying itself becoming stronger, bigger, better in every way it can.
I told you this column might make you angry. Very very angry. And the irony is that it's about anger, and the lack of that I feel...

Containing the Military Industrial Complex

More than any other weapons system, the chief products of the military industrial complex are lies. We just learned this week that Congress was cracking down on corruption by denying another contract to Halliburton. In reality, Halliburton has completed its main task of building five permanent bases and doesn't care as much about more contracts for services for soldiers. And, in fact, last month the Senate rejected, nearly along party lines, a bill to create honest contracting and impose penalties for fraud of the sort almost openly engaged in by Halliburton.
Lies and secrets are what the military industrial media complex sells us. We say the phrase "military industrial complex," but the lies that it hides behind permeate our thinking and dominate the politics of both major parties. Some of these lies are:
The wars we wage are fought for reasons related to foreign threats or international relations.
These lies are engrained in all of us, and you will find vestiges of them in yourself long after you reject them. The fact is that the larger our military grows, the less safe we are - because the size of it encourages its use, and its use creates enemies and terrorists.
The Bush Cheney gang has increased spending on weapons and wars to create the largest deficit ever. Our kids and grandkids will pay for this with their dollars and possibly their lives.
Congressman John Murtha recently sent his colleagues a letter comparing the $8 billion a month we're spending to kill Iraqis with the costs of various other projects, but Murtha has voted each year to spend that war money, and the alternatives he offered focused on so-called "Homeland Security" and included a plea to build more ships and planes for the military.
Where does this drive come from to only oppose a war with language that encourages the growth of the Military Industrial Media complex?
The first place we instinctively look is bribes, or what in Washington we call campaign contributions. And those are not insignificant: $16 million in 2004 from weapons makers, 63% of it to Republicans, and $53 million from energy companies, 75% of it to Republicans. The biggest profiteers in the current war are oil companies. If the illegal war bothers you and the price of gas bothers you, it may be even more disturbing to understand that the war was fought in order to raise the price of gas.
But the bribes from weapons makers and oil drillers are small beside those of other industries. And there are members of Congress who do not take them but still behave as if they took them. I'd like to suggest three ways to explain this.
FIRST, Congress Members fear and pander to the corporate media, and the corporate media will not tolerate opposition to the military industrial complex. Just prior to the attack on Iraq, FAIR found that over three quarters of the guests discussing the coming war on ABC, CBS, NBC, and PBS news were current or former government officials, and three-quarters of those who were not government officials were still supporters of the war. Meanwhile less than 1% were identified with organized protests or anti-war groups.
Of course that makes sense if you're covering a coming war, as opposed to covering a real debate that might not lead to war. When the Downing Street Memo came out, we promoted it at AfterDowningStreet.org, and editors and producers told us it was old news. It was to them. They had known that the war was decided on. They just hadn't told their viewers.
One force that integrates the media into the military industrial complex is advertising. Another is ownership. Many media magnates - people like Rupert Murdoch, who is hosting a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton, his designated '08 loser, have links to weapons companies. GE, which owns NBC, is a weapons company. The Carlyle Group is also getting into media ownership.
Another force is ratings. More people watch TV when there's a war. Another force is think tanks. The Project for a New American Century, whose Deputy Director has been hired by Lockheed Martin, had a heavy presence of talking heads and columnists selling the war.
The MIM Complex sold us the WMD lies and profited handsomely. Halliburton even got $40 million to search for the mythical weapons. But a lot of Democrats refused and still refuse to oppose the lie machine. Here's a typical self-destructive pseudo attack on Bush's war penned by Josh Marshall in October '03:
"Every big new piece of legislation needs a catchy title. And I think I've come up with a good one for the $87 billion. How about 'The Bush Crony Full Employment Act of 2003'? Now, before you get up in arms, I'm for however much money our troops need to get the job done in Iraq...."
But we are afraid to speak against war and have been for many years. I'm convinced that the ease with which we've accepted the utterly incoherent notion of a "war on terror" can be partially credited to our acceptance of such language as "war on poverty" or "war on drugs."
How about peace to end poverty, and prosperity to end terrorism? How about media reform, public media, independent media, and honest news?
The SECOND explanation I would offer for why we fight is that the MIM Complex is the major engine driving our economy. Democratic Congress Members support weapons factories for the sake of the jobs, even knowing that two-thirds of the bribes from the profits will go to Republicans. Within weeks of 9-11, the Department of Attack asked weapons makers for proposals to help "fight terrorism," and the Carlyle Group took a company public, citing 9-11 as a reason why it could.
Under Bush, military spending is up dramatically - it's at roughly $400 billion per year, not counting another $500 billion for war, not counting Homeland Insecurity, and not counting weapons sales to other countries. But this is a horribly inefficient way to stimulate an economy. Just like Bush's tax cuts (which, in contrast to his military spending, Democrats are not afraid to criticize) military spending puts too much money in the few pockets that are already bulging - and it is incredibly wasteful and corrupt. We need a way to drive our economy that benefits those who need it and does so without sacrificing American lives to kill other people. And we need to spend in a sector of the economy not associated with flag waving and war anthems, thus allowing Congress to exercise sober oversight. Some ideas include infrastructure in our cities, renewable energy, energy-efficient transportation, and retraining all of those people who can now stop searching our shoes and laptops when we get on planes.
We also need a ban on sending the National Guard abroad, a mandatory use of the draft for any war, taxes for war paid weekly and called a War Tax, and a requirement that children of Members of Congress, the President, and the Vice President go to war.
The THIRD and final explanation I'll propose for the MIM Complex's influence on our government is this: The Bush White House is a wholey owned subsidiary of Weapons R Us. The National Institute for Public Policy, which hired several so-called thinkers from weapons makers has three alumni in the Bush Administration. The Center for Security Policy, which has 8 weapons executives on its board, has 22 former board members or associates in the Bush Cheney gang. Thirty-two major appointees in the Bush Administration are former executives, consultants, or significant shareholders of weapons companies. Seven members of the Bush Administration came from Northrop Grumman and eight from Lockheed Martin - on whose board Dick Cheney's wife served until 2001, receiving a half a million dollars for whatever it was she did.
The Secretary of the Navy came from General Dynamics, and the Deputy Secretary of State from Raytheon and Boeing - a company that Karl Rove owned $100,000 to $250,000 worth of stock in. Then there are those, like James Woolsey, who serve on advisory boards to the Bush Administration, while simultaneously profiting from the policies they advise on. The LA Times had a lengthy article a year ago yesterday on the long list of people who helped promote a war on Iraq and then set up new companies to profit from it. Bush himself has an uncle and two brothers profiting from this war. But then he had a grandfather who profited from the Nazis and worked with one of Hitler's top funders. So there is a substantial family tradition to uphold. Speaking of which, well known people connected to the Carlyle Group include not just the bin Laden family, but also James Baker, Frank Carlucci, and George Bush the First. The Carlyle Group owns an arm of the British Ministry of Defense, a former branch of the Italian military, and the company in Santa Clara, United Defense, where Bush Jr. gave a speech after waddling across a flight deck to declare mission accomplished.
And then there is Cheney. As Secretary of Attack he paid Halliburton to write a report recommending shifting more work to companies like Halliburton, which got most of the work. Cheney then worked for Halliburton for 5 years and $44 million before going back to what he calls governing. But he continued to receive a salary and hold stock options.
We've moved beyond the sort of war profiteering that Truman called treason. We've moved into a threat to our democracy that is exactly what Madison and Jefferson meant by high crimes and misdemeanors. There is only one thing we can decently do, and that is to impeach the criminals and remove them from office.
And while it is obscene to put electoral considerations ahead of our duty to impeach, those who do so should attempt to remember that no matter how many times they're told impeachment is good for Republicans, all of the evidence points exactly the other way.
DAVID SWANSON is a co-founder of After Downing Street, a writer and activist, and the Washington Director of Democrats.com. He is a board member of Progressive Democrats of America, and serves on the Executive Council of the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild, TNG-CWA. He has worked as a newspaper reporter and as a communications director, with jobs including Press Secretary for Dennis Kucinich's 2004 presidential campaign, Media Coordinator for the International Labor Communications Association, and three years as Communications Coordinator for ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. Swanson obtained a Master's degree in philosophy from the University of Virginia in 1997.
You said How about 'The Bush Crony Full Employment Act of 2003'? Now, before you get up in arms, I'm for however much money our troops need to get the job done in Iraq...."
Like most Americans you are a hypocrite. You think you can live there and believe the idea that war is sometimes necessary, and on the other hand don't.
Americans need to realize that there is no middle ground. You can not serve 2 masters! You either support the War machine, or you don't.
by ikster (7 articles, 286 comments) on Sunday, July 16, 2006 at 5:41:04 PM

Don't Get Swept Up in Contest Scam

About a week ago, something wonderful happened to Daniel LaCapra, who is 60 years old and living on a fixed income in a mobile home park in Lakeland.
A letter with a cashier's check for $2,800 arrived unexpectedly. And even better, the letter, from Prime Trust Corp. of Ontario, Canada, informed LaCapra that he was one of several winners of the International Sweepstakes and the total payout to him would be $55,850.
But LaCapra, a retired private detective from Connecticut, tends to be skeptical. The check came from People's Bank in Ohio, but the letter came from Canada, which LaCapra found odd.
The letter started out saying, "Following the second and final winning notification that was sent to you on March 25th 2006 . . ."
LaCapra had never received any notification from this company. And he had never entered any sweepstakes.
The letter included a telephone number, with instructions to call "your account manager" immediately. Failure to do so before
July 10 would nullify the cashier's check and his winnings, the letter said.
The check was supposed to cover the "processing fees" that were associated with the sweepstakes.
LaCapra called People's Bank in Ohio, and was told the check was fraudulent.
According to Lakeland police and the Tampa Bay office of the Secret Service, several things could have happened next if LaCapra had fallen for the scam.
If he had called that number and reached a person there, they might have asked for his Social Security number and bank account number, or other personal information. And they would have told him that the $2,800 was an advance so he would not have to pay for his processing fees, and he needed to wire the money to a certain bank account as soon as he had deposited that check.
What he would quickly have discovered, according to Lakeland police Sgt. Jeff Birdwell, is that the check was bad. If he wrote any checks on his account, expecting that the $2,800 cashier's check would cover it, they would have bounced -- and he would be liable for the money.
And the $2,800 he wired for "processing fees" would have vanished into the ether. Of course, he would never have seen a penny of the $55,000 sweepstakes he supposedly won.
And worse, he could have been arrested and criminally charged with depositing a counterfeit check.
In one case in March, a Lakeland woman was arrested briefly when she tried to cash a $1,990 check at Amscot. The check was fraudulent, and an Amscot employee called police. The woman told police that she got the check in the mail along with a letter. She said that she had recently applied for a loan, and she assumed the check was an advance on that loan.
Police took her into custody, but when her brother brought them the letter, they realized it was a sweepstakes scam. Police called the phone number on the letter and a person answered and told the officer that he was a winner of a lottery, and after he deposited the check in his account he needed to wire $1,642.90 to the name and address on the letter.
Police released the woman from custody, according to the report.
Several similar letters and checks are on file at the Lakeland Police Department, in which the recipients were told to deposit a check and then wire some money so they can collect lottery winnings.
The Federal Trade Commission says this is one of the top five scams currently being perpetrated in the United States.
"All these people are winning lotteries they never entered," Birdwell said. He suspects that there are many more people out there who have received similar letters and didn't report it, especially if they fell victim to the scam and are embarrassed to tell anyone.
And what can a person who has been victimized by such a scam do about it? Not much other than report it, Birdwell said.
"We can document that it happened," Birdwell said. "That's about it."
Because the scammers are usually from overseas, and the amounts they steal are relatively small, it is not worth it to attempt to find and prosecute them, Birdwell said. They are notoriously hard to track down because they give out fake addresses and names, and they frequently pack up and move to new locations. And even if they could be found, there are major challenges in getting someone extradited from other countries, especially for such a small amount of money, Birdwell said.
There is no way the Lakeland Police Department, or any other agency, will send officers to Canada, Nigeria or England to try to prosecute someone for the theft of a couple thousand dollars, Birdwell said.
However, people who receive suspicious letters are urged to bring them to the Police Department, where a report will be made and the officers can keep an eye out for trends and try to alert the public about new scams whenever possible.
John Joyce, spokesman for the Tampa Bay Secret Service, agrees with the LPD. "I'll be brutally honest, chances are very slim that victims will get their money back," he said. "Law enforcement just doesn't have the resources."
The best thing to do, law enforcement officials say, is not to fall victim in the first place. If you haven't entered a sweepstakes or a lottery, you did not win one, Joyce said.
And doing any kind of business with strangers overseas is risky, Joyce said.
If you are in the Tampa Bay area and have received a letter or check that you think may be part of a scam, you can call the Secret Service at 813-228-2636.
You can also visit the Federal Trade Commission Web site at www.FTC.gov and search the site for alerts on recent scams, or call 877-FTC-HELP. Again, the Federal Trade Commission is unlikely to be able to get money back for victims in most cases, but they can alert others to the scam, and in some cases they may be able to prosecute the scammers.
Dana Willhoit can be reached at dana.willhoit@theledger.com or 863-802-7550.

Nightmare's Children

Yasmin, a 15-year-old girl of Srinagar , Kashmir, and many other young girls like her is forced to serve government officials of India, ministers, police and security forces officials of the rank of SSPs, DSP, and DIG as sex slave or comfort women a phenomenon which we are fairly known during the WWII, Vietnam war and so on , However Yasmin was luckier than of Abeer Qassim Hamza, a sixteen year old Iraqi girl Mahmoudiya , who was raped and then killed by the 'liberators' US marine. Her body was then set on fire to cover up their crimes, her father, mother, and sister murdered.
The coincidences are strikingly similar in these two regions though geographically they are thousands of kilometers apart from one another. In Iraq the US and allied forces are doing atrocities on the common citizen and here in Kasmir the same thing is being materialize by Indian security forces. India is now deploying more than 700,000 troops in the valley in the name of War Against Terrorism, whereas US has deployed tens of thousands of troop to 'liberate' the Iraqi people from Tyranny.
It is simply the game of jargons, the use and disuse of certain terms , evolving new words and replaced it with the word of their choice. For example replace the word "overthrowing tyranny" and "liberation" with the word "War against terrorism" and you will transform Kashmir into Iraq and vise-versa.
Rape continues to be a major instrument of Indian repression against the Kashmiri people while the majority of casualties in Kashmir are civilians. There were more than 200 incidents of rape in Doda in January 1994 alone. Rape is used by the Indian security forces to attack Kashmiri women suspected of sympathizing with Freedom Fighters. Through rape, the security forces are aiming to punish and humiliate the entire community.
The Indian security forces are well equipped with not only sophisticated arms but also with the various like laws like TADA, Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, The National Security Act which allowed the Indian security forces to detain citizens up to one year without formal charges, due process of law, or any formal trial. Above all The Armed Forces Special Powers Act (Jammu and Kashmir) empowers the armed forces to search houses without warrant, arrest Kashmiri citizens without warrant, destroy houses and villages and shoot at unarmed civilians on the streets to kill. For any of these actions, Article 7 of the act, any member of the armed forces who conducts the above described human rights violations - summary executions of unarmed civilians, burning down homes and villages, torture and arbitrary arrest - can do so with immunity from prosecution.
Like Indian army and security forces the coalition forces are also guarded by decrees issued by former US Civil Administrator Paul Bremer. One decree issued 18 June 2003 stipulates that, "No Iraqi court has legal authority over any member of the coalition regarding any issue, be it civil or punitive."
Stephen Green, a former member of the 502nd infantry regiment, was charged last week in a US court with rape and murder. Mr Green, a former private, was granted an honourable discharge from the military for a personality disorder before the alleged rape and murder came to light.
Is this a mere coincidence that the reported gang-rape of nine women at Shopian in October 1992 by an army unit was dismissed off-handedly after investigation by army and police, the very units charged with the crime, despite solid medical evidence to the contrary; no independent investigation by an impartial agency was carried out.
The reported mass rape of over 20 women at Konan Poshpura in February 1991 was also handled in a similar evasive manner; the complaint was not investigated in a timely manner by an impartial agency and the medical evidence was dismissed without good cause; one of the victims who was nine months pregnant during the incident delivered a baby with a fractured left arm.
After the massacre in Haditha when it became clear that the civilians had been shot by US soldiers, the marines switched to saying that the deaths were the fault of insurgents who "placed non-combatants in the line of fire as the marines responded to defend themselves", just like the massacre of 35 Amarnath pilgrim In August 2000, where it has come to light that most of the people were killed in fact by the panic-stricken CRPF jawans who continued firing for another 20 minutes after the two suspected militants were killed.
According to the PTI release of 13 september 1998some 2477 civilians had been killed by the Indian forces in the period 1990-1998 .Killing at Gawakadal bridge, in Sopore, Biejbehara ,Brakpora, Panchalthan, Pahalgam' the list is endless.
Civilians suspected of having information about militants, many of them innocent, are routinely detained, tortured and killed in custody. Methods of torture include severe beatings, electric shock, crushing the leg muscles with a wooden roller, and burning with heated objects.
The above paragraph is a part of the report of Amnesty international on the Kashmir , but can't it be fitted perfectly with any prison of Iraq?
Renegades are former militants who have surrendered and changed sides to the Indian forces. Since the 1989 insurgency in Kashmir, renegades have been used for extra judicial executions of militants (besides human right activists, journalists and other civilians) and later conveniently dismissed as "inter group rivalries". Many of these groups have been responsible for grave human rights abuses, including summary executions, torture, and illegal detention as well as election-related intimidation of voters. They are never arrested or prosecuted and go scot-free.
Replace the word renegade by death squads or The national guard and you will get the picture of Iraq.
In the name of Liberation, US has devastated a country by humiliating, repressing and endangering the common people of the country like Iraq and Indian state is doing the same thing with a little difference as she is doing same thing with in her own territory.
US is doing every thing to make the world a safer place to live in and the logic behind the Indian atrocities in Kashmir was Unity and Integrity till few years back, now the cause has changed .Now Indian state is using the same language and that is 'Fight against terror'
Now at least a section of US society is out openly against their own state and at this juncture we the Indian people are lagging behind. We are still disillusioned with blind nationalism. The coffins of our soldiers and tourists killed in Kashmir do not make us to raise demand of withdrawal of our soldiers from Kashmir. We are providing our full support to our ruthless and rouge state .
Just imagine yourself as an individual of Iraq or Kashmir. Your sister or mother is raped, your brother or father is murdered or imprisoned, you are living under constant fear, your home is bombarded. The humiliation ,cold blooded murder, rape and above all the immunity provided to the criminals has virtually transforms the places like Kashmir and Iraq as breeding ground for counter attacks, the revenge.
The incidence of 9/11 and recently happened 7/11 , the train attacks of Madrid or Mumbai and a countless incidence has proved that we the common people are the only target to all such attacks and that's why we are being tagged as "soft Target".
It is up to us whether really want to make our world a safer place to live in, to live with dignity and respect or become the counterpart of 'terrorist' attack victims of Madrid, Tel Aviv, Mumbai or New York .