Friday, July 31, 2015

Top Auto Failures of the past Decade

Ford Thunderbird (59,200 sold) After being on hiatus for several years, Ford introduced a new Thunderbird for 2002.
Returning to the original formula for the Thunderbird, the latest version had a two-seat coupe/convertible layout like the first-generation Thunderbird and retrofuturistic styling to match.

With sales dropping off significantly after its first model year, Ford decided to make the 2005 model year the Thunderbird's last. The last car rolled off the assembly line on July 1, 2005.
Chevrolet SSR (23,479 sold) Some people like the SSRs, but those people probably have never driven one. They are big, heavy, and cumbersome. A convertible pick up truck with two seats is a problem nobody asked for the answer to.
Cadillac XLR (13,302 sold) Cadillac's flagship sports car, the XLR was based on the Chevrolet Corvette's Y platform. The XLR featured its own unique styling, interior, and suspension, and power-retractable aluminum hardtop, along with the Cadillac Northstar engine. The XLR ended production after the 2009 model year.
Acura ZDX (5,828 sold) They made an incredibly ugly crossover with no utility. You can't fit anything or anyone in it, and its disgusting to look at. I'm pretty sure they don't remember what they were thinking either."
Lexus LS 600h L (2,055 sold) A hybrid version of the LS 460, it's supposed to compete with the 12-cylinder versions of the BMW 7-series and Audi A8, the problem is it doesn't perform as well as them, and it gets far worse fuel mileage. And it costs a ton of money.
Mitsubishi i MiEV (1,420 sold) "Meev" is a tiny little electrically powered pod. Essentially its a little electric car with very little range.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Hells Angel Damiano Di Popolo sues blogger for defamation - Update III

Vancouver Police Det. Brad Stephen, one of Plante’s handlers throughout E-Pandora, surveys the East End HA clubhouse on East Georgia in December, 2012.
Former police agent Micheal Plante met with Vancouver Sun crime reporter Kim Bolan in late 2012 to tell his incredible story about infiltrating the East End chapter of the Hells Angels and helping police put 12 men behind bars.

Unaware that police agent Micheal Plante was secretly collecting evidence implicating them in drug deals, extortions, and other crimes, the Hells Angels finally accepted him into their fold as an “official friend” in September 2004.
“They gave me a pamphlet from the world headquarters of Hells Angels, right? You read it and then they took it away,” Plante said. It reminded those entering the program that the Hells Angels owned all property imprinted with its deathhead logo. “It was about infringement rights. It said: ‘You don’t own the vest. The Hells Angels owns the vest. If you leave the Hells Angels, you must return anything that says Hells Angels on it.’”

Sergeant-at-arms Tom Gillis told Plante he would no longer be able to wear his favoured long shorts now that he was “on the program.” “After I got in, he said, ‘Micheal, we have a dress code. I want you to wear black jeans, black shirts, black vest.’ I said, “What about black shorts?’ He said, ‘No shorts.’”

Plante tended bar on New Year’s Eve from 5 p.m. until 11 a.m. A week later, he did security at the Drake, as Damiano Dipopolo put on a party there.
Plante’s elevation to “official friend” was significant for the police investigation. It would give the agent the ability to get closer and closer to club business. If things went according to plan, Plante would become a “hangaround” next, then a “prospect’” and finally a “full-patch” Hells Angel, meaning he could wear the infamous deathhead logo on his back.

Damiano Di Popolo
The former wife of a Hells Angels member believed her husband operated in a “cash universe with a multitude of suspicious cash receipts and purchases.” Janette Wu, in her divorce proceedings against Damiano Dipopolo, said he had not fully reported his income ... "

There was also the sum of $40,000, which at one point he said he “borrowed from his motorcycle club” and at another point explained as being related to an "investment"

When contacted by The Province, Dipopolo said he “didn’t yet understand” the ruling and needed to speak to his lawyer, but was angry to hear that his divorce case was newsworthy.
More than two dozen of the longshoremen unloading container ships on the docks of Metro Vancouver are Hells Angels, their associates, or other gangsters, a Vancouver Sun investigation has found.

The infiltration of gangsters and criminals into the port workforce is perpetuated by a longtime employment practice that allows existing union members to nominate friends, relatives and associates when new jobs become available.
The Sun has identified at least six full-patch Hells Angels who are active members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. Some have worked on the docks for years, like Al DeBruyn, a senior White Rock Hells Angel who started in 1981.

Other Hells Angels joined the longshoremen more recently. Rob Alvarez of the elite Nomads chapter and Kelowna Angel Damiano Dipopolo started on May 24, 2012. West Point Hells Angel Ryan Sept started just last year, nominated by another full-patch member of his chapter.
The Sun has documented 27 active longshoremen with gang or criminal links from various sources of information, including public records and union membership lists. That number doesn’t include the “inactive” members of the union who are also Hells Angels — East End President John Bryce, Nomads Angel Gino Zumpano, Haney member Vince Brienza, West Point member Larry Amero and former Vancouver president Norm Krogstad.
A judge has ordered Surrey blogger Dennis Watson to remove from his website any articles he’s written about Hells Angel Damiano Dipopolo.

An assault rifle, handguns and nearly $4 million in cash is seen in this RCMP handout photo.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Ronald Skolrood also ordered Watson, who has been running his “gangstersout” blog for six years, to refrain from writing or speaking about Dipopolo ever again.

East End president John Bryce shows media damage from police raid on Jan. 16, 2005

Damiano Di Popolo
A member of the Hells Angels has launched a defamation suit against a Surrey, B.C., blogger committed to "outing" members of the gang. In a B.C. Supreme Court notice of civil claim, Damiano Di Popolo claims a series of five articles published on Dennis Watson's Gangsters Out Blog have exposed him to "contempt, ridicule and hatred."

Di Popolo says the posts imply he's a member of a criminal organization involved with a drug trafficking and stolen car ring.

But he claims nothing could be further from the truth.

Di Popolo says he has never been charged with a criminal offence or convicted, and the Kelowna Hells Angels have never been collectively charged either.
A 2011 B.C. Supreme Court ruling identified Di Popolo as a member of the Hells Angels. According to the claim, Watson's articles said the longshoreman was "president of the Kelowna Hells Angels that was charged in a large drug trafficking ring and convicted in of a huge stolen car ring."

Di Popolo claims Watson also implied he sent someone to the blogger's home to threaten him and scare his daughter.
(Note - The HA's center patch was modified to stitch the mouth closed)

Kelowna Hells Angel Joseph Bruce Skreptak

Robert Leonard Thomas
"Two members of the Hells Angels have been sentenced to 15 years in jail for beating a Kelowna man to death.

Norman Cocks, 33, and Robert Thomas, 49, will have their sentences reduced to 12 years in prison for their part in the June 2011 slaying of Dain Phillips, 53, after receiving credit for pre-sentence custody. Associate Chief Justice Austin Cullen called it a “brutal and determined” attack with weapons on an unarmed man trying to resolve a dispute involving his sons."

Robert Leonard THOMAS

Father and son killers Norm Cocks (left), 31, and Robert Cocks, 52

(old HA center patch)

Argyle Pinks

Argyle Pinks

Australia's Argyle Diamond mine is the world's primary source (95%) of rare pink diamonds. Pink diamonds are at very least 20 times the price of an equivalent white diamond. This places them in the rarified air of most highly concentrated form of wealth on Earth.

After being cut and polished at Rio Tinto’s diamond cutting and polishing factory in Perth, exceptional pink diamonds from each year's production are sold individually at 'tenders'.

The diamonds average around a carat each (1/20 of a gram) with 40 to 50 carats in total sold each year. Of every million carats of rough diamonds produced at the Argyle mine, less than one carat is suitable for sale in one of the tenders. Prices can range from US $100,000/ct to US$1,000,000/ct and far beyond.

8.41 carat Purple-Pink Diamond

The 12.04-carat "The Martian Pink" sold for $17m in May 2012, twice it's pre-sale estimate of $ 8m.
In March 2012 a 12.76-carat pink diamond was unearthed at Argyle, the largest ever found. It was christened as the Argyle Pink Jubilee. "A diamond of this caliber is unprecedented -- it has taken 26 years of Argyle production to unearth this stone, and we may never see one like this again," said Argyle Pink Diamonds Manager Josephine Johnson in a statement.

Rio Tinto expects that after two months of assessment and planning, it will take ten days to cut and polish the stone.

The Argyle Siren, 1.32 ct. square radiant cut Fancy Vivid Purplish Pink, VS2

The Argyle Toki is a 1.59ct emerald cut Fancy Intense Purplish Pink diamond

The Red Wonder Cross. It was designed by Oren Seren and features 11 fancy red diamonds (0.42-0.93 carats), as well as colourless and blue diamonds, set in white gold.

The Argyle Prima is a 1.20ct Pear Fancy Red diamond

The Argyle Cardinal is a 1.21ct radiant cut Fancy Red diamond

Laurence Graff set the entire first tender of Argyle pinks in this brooch

The 24.78 carat Graff Pink Diamond and a 5 carat Fancy Vivid Pink

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