The Nightmare Begins For Danielle Chiesi

Chiesi at a press conference outside court today

Danielle Chiesi, the former beauty queen turned stock trader was just sentenced to 30 months in prison by Judge Richard Holwell in Manhattan Federal court.

Chiesi, who was once had the ear of hedge fund billionaire Raj Rajaratnam, pled guilty last January to three counts of conspiracy to commit securities fraud.

The domino effect for the District Attorney’s office began here, eventually snaring Rajaratnam himself, along with other traders who are also awaiting sentencing themselves. Donald Longueuil, the former SAC trader will be sentenced on July 29, and Rajaratnam faces his own music on September 27. In addition, her former boss at new Castle, Mark Kurland is currently serving 27 months for the same crime.

Ceisei passed on the information to her married boss and lover, Kurland. Chiesi’s lawyers had been asking for a lesser sentence, given she had never traded on any of the illegal tips in her personal account, but the judge didn’t agree.

Chiesi was colorful fodder around the water coolers on Wall Street, as she once compared insider trading to having an orgasm. on top of everything else, she has agreed to pay $540,000 to settle related civil charges with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Unfortunately, I know from experience just what she was going through. I myself was sentenced for securities fraud back in June of ’07. you stand before the Judge listening to everyone around you speak but you’re not hearing much, it’s all just a blur as you await the magic number. will it be at the high range of sentencing guidelines, the middle, or best of all, at the lower end.

As I outlined in my recently published book, “My Road Home,” your legs are wobbly, but stand you must, you try to remain stoic, keep the brave face as best you can. you think to yourself: how the hell did I get here? what happened to my moral compass, what took me off the rails so thouroughly? How could I let so many people down? The questions could go on and on, too many to even fathom.

Ms. Chiesi was no doubt hoping the Judge would give her some time to get her affairs in order before having to report to prison, which he indeed did or would she be remanded immediately as I was? I knew that was going to be the case when I walked in the courtroom, I wasn’t coming out until I was a free man. In my case as soon as the Judge produced his sentence, I could see three court officers step in behind my chair, one of them slowly reaching for his handcuffs. The dreaded moment is here, no one can help you now. It’s all crashing down on you now as you here him say, “Sir, please put your hands behind your back.”

The nightmare begins……..

5 iOS 5 Features That I Really Like

iOS 5 was released to the public yesterday and the good news is that there is a lot to like in this new version of iOS. For me most of the features address some of my long time criticisms of iOS. Although they are long over due, I welcome them just the same. Here are 5 of my favorite features right off the top:

1. WiFi Sync

This is one that I've actually been waiting for since the early iPod days. I have an iPod that stays in my car and I always envisioned the day that I'd just be able to pull into my garage and it would sync with my computer in the house via WiFi to grab the latest music and updated playlists. iOS 5 brings this feature to life. You can now either initiate a wireless sync from the computer or iDevice manually or automatically when you plug your iDevice into a power source, say to charge it overnight.

2. Notifications screen

While this is a rip off borrowed feature of the Android OS notifications screen, I'll take it! I hated picking up my iPhone and having to dismiss 50 push notification pop-ups before I could do anything else. Now the notifications all accumulate on a single notifications screen. Just swipe down from any screen and see all your past notifications including the current weather and stock quotes. Nice and long overdue!

3. Built-in Shortcuts

Recently I got hooked on TextExpander. While TextExpander works with just about any app on the Mac, the iOS version is limited to only the Apps that support it. Apple has built-in a universal Shortcuts feature located in the Keyboard prefs. You can type in your shortcut and the text that it should expand to. For example, "omw" expands to "On my way!" It's great to have this work in all Apps now!

4. Camera Access from the Lock Screen

By the time you swipe to unlock your iPhone, enter your passcode, find the camera App and launch it, you've probably missed the shot. Now you can double tap the home button and you'll have immediate access to the Camera App. Sweet!

5. Adding Photos to Albums

People accumulate hundreds of photos on their Camera Roll. This is largely due to the fact that there was no way to move the photos into Albums. You'd have to sync them to your computer first, delete them off the device, organize them into Albums/Folders and then sync them back on. Now you can just put them in Albums directly on your iDevice. You still can't edit existing Albums that were added from your computer, but this is a big step in the right direction.

The Bottom Line

iOS 5 has a lot of useful features and the above 5 are just a few of my favorites. There's a lot to digest in this iOS update as well as iCloud, updated/new Apps from Apple and the new iPhone 4s.

Seal Beach shooting: Death toll rises to eight

Salon shooting: Seal Beach police said they do not yet know why a suspect opened fire on a busy Seal Beach salon Wednesday afternoon, killing six people and critically wounding three others.
The shooting rampage at a Seal Beach hair salon claimed the lives of six women and two men, police said Wednesday night.
Authorities are investigating a non-injury fire that occurred today at an apartment complex, officials said.
Barton Mac Leod lived in the home 20 years before Scott DeKraii moved in, the man police say opened fire in a Seal Beach salon. Mac Leod shares his feelings on his tie to the tragic story. By Barton Mac Leod I was watching the local news on television
Salon shooting: Seal Beach police said they do not yet know why a suspect opened fire on a busy Seal Beach salon Wednesday afternoon, killing six people and critically wounding three others.

We Are All Matthew Shepard

In whаt hаѕ bееn ԁеѕсrіbеԁ аѕ a galvanizing moment fοr America's lesbian, gay, bisexual аnԁ transgender (LGBT) community, 21-year-οƖԁ college student Matthew Shepard died 13 years ago today — five days аftеr being brutally attacked, robbed аnԁ beaten
Matthew Shepard wаѕ savagely аnԁ fatally attacked 13 years ago tonight. 11 years later thе Matthew Shepard & James Byrd, Jr. Hаtе Crimes Prevention Act became law.
Bу CHRIS SILK Patricia Clopton, Gabriela Elvir, Lucy Harris, аnԁ Lori Moreau рοrtrау media people listening tο Jack Weld, аѕ Rulon Stacy, gives аn update οn Matthew Shepard. "Thе Laramie Project," whісh runs through Oct. 22 аt thе Laboratory Theater οf
Matthew Shepard's ѕtοrу іѕ well known, bυt іt іѕ worth remembering. On October 6, 1998, Matthew Shepard, a twentysomething frοm ɡοοԁ families аnԁ better present studying Political Science, One night hе wаѕ attacked,
Bу Editors Today іѕ thе day thаt thе name Matthew Shepard became synonymous wіth thе consequences οf unchecked hatred. Today wе remember Matthew Shepard, whο 13 years ago wаѕ beaten аnԁ left fοr dead bесаυѕе hе wаѕ gay.

Theo Epstein to the Cubs for $20 Million Over 5 Years.

Theo Epstein, the GM who used Moneyball theories to cobble together* World Series-winning teams for the Red Sox in 2004 and 2007, is leaving to become GM of the Chicago Cubs. Unconfirmed reports this morning pegged the deal at five years for $15 million, but Buster Olney says the figure is closer to $20 million.

How long will it take Epstein to make over that roster? The Cubs haven’t made the postseason since 2008, and haven’t won a playoff game since 2003.

The offense is led by three players, age 33-or-older from the DR: 1 strikeout king (Carlos Pena), 1 with an awful contract (Alfonso Soriano) and 1 broken down 3B whose last three years have been plagued by injuries (Aramis Ramirez). The Cubs only have two regular hitters under the age of 27 in the lineup: Barney and Castro. Their bats must get younger.

Besides taking the Cubs job for the obvious – money and to be That Guy who brought titles to long-starved Boston and Chicago (if he pulls it off in Chicago, Epstein will be the most famous GM in baseball history) – I’d guess this job was attractive to Epstein because the Cubs potentially have quality pitching. Dempster/Garza/Wells are a nice trio. Zambrano is a nut-job, and I surmise he won’t be back. Marmol is erratic, but when you combine him with Samardzija (Notre Dame represent) and Marshall, you’ve got a nice pen, too. The farm system isn’t loaded with prospects, but pitcher Trey McNutt is considered a Top 100 guy and outfielder Brett Jackson might be worth a look in 2012.

The best news here for Cubs fans – the White Sox will go back to being irrelevant without Ozzie Guillen mouthing off, and everyone will be closely watching the Cubs rebuild. Toss in the fact that the Astros will be continue to be a mess for a few more years, the Cardinals could lose Pujols this offseason, and the Brewers could lose Fielder this offseason, and Epstein could feasibly have the Cubs back in the postseason in 2012 (though I think 2013 is more realistic).

Civilian Superhero Phoenix Jones Arrested For Assault

Phoenix Jones and his band of civilian superheros have been fighting crime on the streets of Seattle, but this weekend Jones was on the other side of the law. Jones was unmasked by police after they arrested him for spraying a group of people with pepper spray.

Yes, Phoenix Jones true identity was released to the public. Benjamin Francis was arrested early Sunday morning while still wearing his black and gold costume and his bullet-proof vest. Yahoo reports that Francis is part of the civilian superhero group the Rain City Superhero Movement.

Jones said that he was trying to stop a fight under a Seattle bridge, but police arrested him for assault.

Detective Mark Jamieson, a Seattle Police Department public information officer said:

“In this particular case, he perceived that this group was fighting and when we contacted them, they said they weren’t fighting. Unfortunately, he used force. He committed a crime, an assault against these individuals. That’s against the law.”

Peter Tangen, a photographer who also works as a spokesman for Phoenix Jones, said:

“The first thing Phoenix did was to scream out to call 911. He’s been doing this four or five nights a week this entire year and he has never been charged with a crime. To assert that he ran into a bunch of people dancing and pepper sprayed them is entirely inconsistent with what he has done consistently this entire year.”

Jones told Good Morning America in January that he hopes that the Rain City Superhero Movement inspires people to be more pro-active in their communities.

Jones said:

“It’s a pretty simple message. Citizens need to be more accountable. Calling 911 is a great start, but it’s not the end all to end all. Criminals feel free to just run wild in my city, and I’m not going to stand for it.”

But police don’t exactly agree with Jones’ philosophy. Jamieson said that it’s only a matter of time until someone seriously gets injured because of a civilian superhero.

Jamieson said:

“We applaud their civic-mindedness and that they want to be involved. That’s all great. The problem and the concern that we have is that somebody is going to get hurt. They don’t have the training. They don’t have the authority.”

What do you think about civilian superheros? Should Phoenix Jones and his superhero pals sit idly by as the world slowly descend into a pit of violence? Is the occasional arrest just part of the job?

Columbus Day

Today is Columbus Day, one of the few federal holidays I support, marking the day that the intrepid explorer Christopher Columbus “discovered” the New World on his mission to what was supposed to be India or the Far East dispatched by the Catholic Monarchs King Ferdinand of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castile. Yet, as we have discussed before, this is still a controversial holiday. Native Americans take the opportunity to protest and draw attention to their long history of misfortunes, heaping all of the blame on the head of the late, ambitious navigator. As most readers will no I have a great affinity for the American Indian, a great deal of sympathy for them and share ancestry with a number of them. However, to blame all the evils of European colonialism in the Americas on Christopher Columbus seems quite absurd to me. As I see it, that would be rather like blaming every traffic accident in the history of the world on the man who invented the internal combustion engine.
I would prefer Native Americans seize on some other day as a shared holiday of their own, though admittedly I have no idea of when this could be. The various nations have relatively little in common other than their shared history of mistreatment and seizing on some victory by one group or the other, such as the battle of the Little Big Horn for instance, might be seen as being in bad taste to some people.

So, American Indians protest on Columbus Day, an occasion not many other people seem to care a great deal about. In North America much was made of the fact that Columbus was not the first European to “discover” America (though I don’t know why as we have always known that to be the case) and in Latin America whereas once it was considered a pretty ‘big deal’ (it is known as La Dia de la Raza) as the start of Hispanic culture in the New World but these days most would rather emphasize their native ancestry rather than their Spanish blood, partly I think to help in claiming victim status. The Catholic Church in America, particularly the Knights of Columbus were instrumental in getting the holiday on the calendar but, in recent times, even they have slacked off of emphasizing it, preferring to take the symbolic side of the poor, blighted native or, more the case these days, the poor illegal immigrant. So, who is left to celebrate Columbus Day in the United States and to try to counteract the protests? The Italian-American community, both because of their just pride in the historic deed of Columbus and because there is really no other similarly well-known figure Italian-Americans can seize on to celebrate their people. Mexicans have the Fifth of May, Irish-Americans have St Patrick’s Day, German-Americans have Oktoberfest and Italian-Americans have Columbus Day.

When it comes to exploration much praise is given to the Portuguese, and rightly so as they were the trailblazers in the discovery of the Cape of Good Hope and the eastern route to India. Praise is often also given to Spain but the Italian people deserve their share of credit as many of the navigators commanding those Spanish ships were Italians and their ranks include a number of important explorers even if not everyone has heard of them. To start with, obviously, there was Christopher Columbus who, although he was not the first European to “discover” America, it was his discovery, frankly, that mattered. It started the great race of European nations to colonize America and originally this included Spain, Portugal, France, England, the Netherlands, Sweden and others associated with them. Some dispute where Columbus was born but the accepted time and place was 1451 in the Republic of Genoa (one of those pre-revolutionary republics where the Doge wore ermine robes and a crown). I do not see how it is appropriate for anyone to moan and groan about Columbus. Without him, none of us (people in the Americas other than the pure-blood native Indians of which there are precious few) would be here.

Another was Amerigo Vespucci, born in 1454 in the Republic of Florence, who was a navigator, cartography and who traveled with a number of Portuguese expeditions at the invitation of King Manuel I and to whom we owe the name of “America”. Another was Alessandro Malaspina, a native of Mulazzo, Italy who joined the Royal Spanish Navy and explored and mapped most of the west coast of the Americas from Cape Horn to Alaska. There was Giovanni da Verrazzano who probably came from Florence and who was employed by the King of France and was the first European since the legendary voyages of the Vikings to explore the North Atlantic coasts of New England and Canada. He later made southern voyages of exploration in the Caribbean. Another is one many may know but they may not know he was an Italian and that is John Cabot whose real name was Giovanni Caboto. His birthplace has been speculated as being either Genoa or Gaeta but by nationality he was of the Republic of Venice and is credited with being the first European since the Vikings to set foot on North American soil, at Newfoundland according to Great Britain and Canada. Finally there is one of my favorites, a native of Venice, Marco Polo who opened up trade with China and befriended the great Mongol Emperor Kublai Khan.

So, remain positive I say and a happy Columbus Day to all.