Former member of the Columbo crime family, Sal Polisi, discussed his intimate knowledge of the Mafia, which he was involved in for 15 years, before he testified against John Gotti in 1984. The Mafia originally started out as a way for a group of Italians to protect their own families, but eventually turned to money-making through crime, he explained, adding that the organization eventually deteriorated from excessive greed, involvement in the drug trade, and loss of values. Nicknamed Sally Ubatz ("Crazy Sally"), in the early 1970s, Polisi ran a gambling den and Mob hangout in New York that became known as the Sinatra Club. The club was unique in that it was frequented by all the members of the various Mob families, and they got along peaceably as no guns were allowed.
Polisi noted that the Mob hated Bobby Kennedy, and were invested in casinos in Cuba, which may have been related to their involvement in the JFK assassination. He talked about the power and charisma of John Gotti, as well as his own involvement in such crimes as hijacking trucks and shaking down business people (taking a percentage of their profits). When Polisi decided to get out of the Mob life, he provided testimony against Gotti and other key people, and explained to the Feds how various operations worked.
During this time, he and his family were placed under federal witness protection. At one point they were hid in an underground building in Washington, DC, and had to turn in all their assets to the government (though Polisi was able to get away with stashing valuables on his son). Polisi said once he left the witness protection program, he went on to have a successful career in various endeavors such as selling toys on eBay back in the 1990s, as well writing screenplays and working on entertainment projects (he wrote the 2010 film Sinatra Club).
First hour guest, aerospace and defense systems developer Sir Charles Shults shared updates about Mars. He believes recent NASA photos from the rovers (image 1/image 2) show signs of fossilized tree trunks with circle-within-a-circle features. While he contends there was biological life on Mars, he doesn't subscribe to the notion that artificial structures exist there, and suggested that so-called "pyramids" were formed by glacier activity. Shults also talked about unusual properties of Saturn's moon, Titan, and Neptune's moon, Triton.
The 3-mile wide asteroid 4179 Toutatis (pictured in a computer generated image) is making a flyby past Earth tonight. At a distance of 4.3 million miles it doesn't pose any impact threat, but it's close enough to be seen by high-end telescopes. For more, including live video footage from the Slooh Space Camera, go here.
Bumper music from Tuesday December 11, 2012