Site of New Dig in Queens May Be
Burial Grounds for Mob Figures
The FBI and New York police detectives have unearthed the mob equivalent of an elephant graveyard.
Descending on Ruby Street, in a far-flung corner of Queens, the agents dug for a week in watery soil. At first they found nothing but dog bones -- then they came across a few skeletons. Apparently these are the earthly remains of Bonanno crime family captains Phil Giaccone and Dominick Trinchera (who was identified by his Citibank card). Both wound up on the (very) wrong end of a family power struggle back in 1981.
Decades back, local children found the remains of another ill-fated capo, the mellifluously named Alphonse "Sonny Red" Indelicato. But new leads brought agents back to the old dig.
It's believed that John Gotti and the Gambino family selected this lot -- surrounded by housing projects and abandoned cars -- as their favored dumping ground. The police also hope to find the remains of John Favara, a neighbor of Gotti's who accidentally struck and killed one of his sons in March 1980 while driving in the neighborhood. Favara disappeared six months later and is presumed to have come to a bad end.
As one wiseacre detective told Newsday after spending a week at the Queens dig: "This is 'the Sopranos' meets 'Six Feet Under.' "
-- Michael Powell
States Make It Their Business
To Lure Away Other States' Business
In August, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger cruised the Las Vegas Strip in an 18-wheel moving van with "Arnold's Moving Co." written on the side, as he helped relocate a company from Nevada to his state.
Last week, a Nevada economic development coalition launched an advertising campaign that depicts bruised and beaten workers, and asks the question: "Will your business be terminated?"
Whether the ads do anything for economic development anywhere -- or simply promote some of Schwarzenegger's old "Terminator" movies -- the Hollywood-influenced campaign is the latest in a recent salvo of interstate economic warfare.
It started with a tanned, muscular Schwarzenegger, arms folded and wearing a T-shirt adorned with the California state flag, appearing on billboards in nearly a dozen cities, including Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas and Seattle. The message: "Arnold Says: 'California Wants Your Business.' (Actually, he says, 'Kah-li-fornia.')."
Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney responded with billboards in San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles depicting him in a blue dress shirt and tie, arms folded. That message: "Smaller muscles, but lower taxes! Massachusetts means business."
-- Kimberly Edds
Food Fights Can't Be Resolved
Through Lawsuit, Illinois Law Says
Blame cheese fries, blame triple mocha lattes, blame your mother -- but keep the restaurant out of it.
Illinois eaters unhappy with their physique and troubled by the consequences of obesity may not sue the eatery where the eating took place, the Illinois legislature declared in a law signed by Gov. Rod Blagojevich. The act is called the Illinois Common Sense Consumption Act.
No one has sued, but the Illinois Restaurant Association, among others, was not going to take any chances, given the national tendency toward litigiousness. A plaintiff in Florida sued the local water company a while back after she slipped on water that had leaked from her washing machine.
"Look at McDonald's. Who would've thought they'd get sued for hot coffee? Seven years ago, who would've thought tobacco companies would get sued?" asked Colleen McShane, president of the Illinois Restaurant Association. "We are extremely pleased."
At least a dozen other legislatures have passed similar laws, also known as "cheeseburger bills." Two lawsuits accusing McDonald's of causing obesity in children were dismissed last year by a U.S. district judge in New York, who said people cannot ask courts to "protect them from their own excesses."
"Everything in moderation," McShane counseled.
-- Peter Slevin
Travel Guide for Students Says:
Use Chopsticks, Forget Money Talk
There is a new guide for the student traveler, and it has nothing to with pocket maps, handy foreign phrases or how to live on $20 a day. It is about how to be a good U.S. ambassador, especially at a time of high anti-American sentiment abroad.
Produced by Southern Methodist University in Dallas, the World Citizens Guide is a 60-page, passport-size booklet created with help from the group Business for Diplomatic Action.
The booklet touches on etiquette: "In Asian countries, if you don't use chopsticks, it would be like using your soup spoon for salad." But the purpose is to teach how to travel and "appreciate how other people think and live."
The advice ranges from understanding that "many people you'll meet do not understand or agree with our country's foreign policy" to avoiding discussions about net worth: "Impress people by what you do, how you listen and observe. . . . You're going to visit places where you'll experience things that no amount of money could ever buy you."
Five SMU students helped write the guide as part of an advertising class last spring. "We want to help dispel the Ugly American stereotype," student Meredith McKee said.
-- Sylvia Moreno