On This Date In History: Remember how in the Sopranos that the FBI guys were trying to get Tony to help them out to catch terrorists? Well, in real life that sort of thing has happened in war-time. In WWII it has been said that the underworld controlled the docks in New York and that the government turned to the criminal element for national security help to prevent sabotage and capture spies. Though the veracity of the claim is unclear, US Navy Lieutenant Commander Charles Radcliffe Haffenden was put in charge of New York dock security and said:
“I’ll talk to anybody, a priest, a bank manager, a gangster, the devil himself, if I can get the information I need. This is a war. American lives are at stake. ”
When the government approached the mobsters to help out Uncle Sam with domestic dockside security, bigshot Meyer Lansky, recalled not being too impressed. He said, “Everybody in New York was laughing at the way those naive Navy agents were going around the docks. They went up to men working in the area and talked out of the side of their mouths, like they had seen in the movies, asking about spies.” Now, the USS Normadie had been converted to a troop ship (aka USS Lafayette) and on Feb. 9, 1942 it mysteriously burned (video) while at the New York docks. The suspicion was sabotage and the event spurred both the mob and the Feds to get together for the good of the country and the story is that the government stayed out of the activities of organized crime on the docks in return for security.
While he never actually acknowledged that he and his cohorts helped out in the war effort stateside, it is notable though that Lansky never denied helping the government. Anyway, the real boss in the New York syndicate was Charles “Lucky” Luciano who had risen through the ranks of organized crime after arriving in the US as a poor immigrant from Sicily earlier in the century. He earned the “Lucky” moniker by numerous escapes from “hits” put out on him by his competition. In 1943, Luciano was serving a 30-50 year prison sentence. The allies were planning on invading Sicily but didn’t have much intel. Luciano is portrayed as having an allegiance to the United States but he also had a vendetta against Benito Mussolini who had cracked down on the mafia in Italy in the 1920’s. So, on this date in 1942 US Naval intelligence asked for Luciano’s help as the Allies attempted to invade Italy. Lucky eventually agreed and the results were spectacular. With the hundreds of informants attracted with Luciano’s help,
United States intelligence officers were able to infiltrate Italy’s naval headquarters and get all sorts of maps and documents. It is said that Luciano’s helpers were even able to convince some Italian soldiers not to fight…but they weren’t doing much of that anyway as the German army did most of the heavy lifting. Of course, the invasion was successful and the rest, as they say, is history.
The US Navy tried to cover its trail regarding the work with the underworld but eventually it came out with perhaps the greatest evidence being the inexplicable release of Luciano from prison in 1946 after serving just 10 years of his sentence. Luciano was deported to Sicily continuing his fame as being Lucky Luciano.
Kentucky Derby Weather Forecast: We’re going to need a lot of luck for Derby Day because, if you want good weather for the Kentucky Derby, come back next year. Now, Oaks Day looks great. But the story that I’ve been eyeballing all week is really getting lots of data supporting it. In general, it would seem to me that we get a cold front coming close to us and it stalls. It gets parallel to the Southwest to Northeast Jetstream flow and stays oriented from around Gary, IN to east of St. Louis to Texarkana and on through San Antonio. At low levels, there will be lots of moisture converging up the Lower Mississippi and Ohio Valleys. I think we’ll have two time frames of maximum rain as two separate jet streaks comes through associated with an upper low.
Oaks Day will be fine..in fact it will be great. Oaks Day weather looks to be in the low to mid 80’s, breezy and partly cloudy. Then the first disturbance and strong upper energy comes through bringing heavy rain from say 6 AM to Noon. Then, I would think that we’d see more scattered activity on Saturday afternoon during most of the races and the condition of the track will be a function of how well the track drains. The NAM follows what makes sense to me and is most likely as it has an inch of rain from 7AM to 1 Pm and then a tenth of an inch in the afternoon. Then, the second wave comes through Saturday night with the strong upper jet winds as it may even develop into a surface feature. If we get severe weather, it seems that this would be the most likely time and high winds would be the biggest bugaboo. But, the story will be rain. The NAM concludes at 7PM on Sunday with a 36 hour total of about 4 inches. I’m referring to the 12Z Thur run so it doesnt’ go beyond 7 PM on Sunday but I bet it would have slightly more rain in the offing. This scenario seems most sensible to me.
HOWEVER….the GFS…has a similar solution except that it has heavy rain all day on Saturday and carries it through Sunday night. By early Monday morning, the GFS has over 5.1″ of rain in less than 36 hours. The biggest difference is that the GFS has substantially more rain during the races on Derby Day than the other models. The GFS solution has been closest to what is now the consensus all week and it makes the least sense should we have two seperate jet streaks. With two different streaks it would call for something less in between. However, we are going to stay in a jet stream flow over the top of us and, if there is no confluence aloft to limit rain, then we would get persistent rain.
The Derby will be wet one way or another. The degree of wetness is the question. For we locals, make sure that drains are clear because, unlike the South, our geology is not conducive to supporting such rainfall….not to mention the pumps of which I might remind the authorities only work properly if you turn them on!