Cory Doctorow writes: Neil Moore was locked up in England’s notorious Wandsworth Prison when he used a smuggled cellphone to send an email to the prison that appeared to come from a court clerk who was ordering his release on parole.
“A lot of criminal ingenuity harbours in the mind of Mr Moore. The case is one of extraordinary criminal inventiveness, deviousness and creativity, all apparently the developed expertise of this defendant.”
The prison figured out what had happened three days later when his lawyer showed up to interview him and he was gone. He turned himself in to the police three days after that. Moore is a convicted fraudster who stole £1.8M with social engineering techniques, including a gift for voice impersonation.
Southwark Crown Court heard he had set up a fake web domain which closely resembled that of the court service’s official address.
He then emailed the prison’s custody inbox with instructions for his release. Read the rest of this entry »
Here are 12 celebrities who have been convicted of killing other people, whether they meant to or not.
One year after his breakout hit “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” Matthew Broderick was driving with then-girlfriend Jennifer Gray (who played his sister in the movie) while on vacation in Northern Ireland when his rental car swerved into the wrong lane and killed a 28-year-old woman and her mother. He was charged with careless driving and fined $175. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)
“Mork and Mindy” and “Designing Women” actress Fay Dewitt was convicted of stabbing and killing her husband with a letter opener in 1965…(see the whole 12-pack of killer celebs)
A beautiful display of dancing lights illuminated the skies of Britain and Ireland on Thursday night through to Friday morning. Feb. 28
The U.S.’s economic future may not be as bright as its past.
Michael Barone writes: Some bad news for America, not on the political front this time, but in what corporate executives call human resources.
It’s from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s report on adult skills, based on 166,000 interviews in 24 economically advanced countries in 2011 and 2012.
The verdict on the United States: “weak in literacy, very poor in numeracy, but only slightly below average in problem-solving in technology-rich environments.”
On literacy, just 12 percent of U.S. adults score at the top two levels, significantly lower than the 22 percent in largely monoethnic and culturally cohesive Japan and Finland. American average scores are below those in our Anglosphere cousins Australia, Canada, England, and Northern Ireland.
One-sixth of Americans score at the bottom two levels, compared with 5 percent in Japan and Finland.
On numeracy the United States does even worse — only 8 percent at the top levels and one-third in the lowest.
Because the BBC had a series of run-ins with Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s, and is hardly well disposed towards the Tory-led Coalition, I had expected it to pour buckets of cold water over the memory of the Iron Lady.
To begin with, I was pleasantly surprised. The tone of BBC News 24 on Monday afternoon was slightly awed, even reverential, as is befitting when any great figure dies. Some of the newscasters even wore a black tie. A picture of Margaret Thatcher was shown as silence was observed.
Of course, as was only right and proper, lots of people who did not at all admire Lady Thatcher were interviewed, such as Labour leader Ed Miliband and former Labour deputy leader Roy Hattersley, but they were almost always measured, respectful and reasonable.
Thank God for the BBC, I began to murmur to myself. For all its faults, the Corporation knows how to behave on these occasions. It is capable of setting aside its prejudices, and rising above party politics.
But as the evening wore on, and the new day dawned, I began to change my mind. In many of the television and radio news bulletins, it seemed that Margaret Thatcher was on trial, and the case for the prosecution was subtly gathering force.
Again and again we were shown the same footage of 1990 poll tax riots, and familiar pictures of police grappling with miners during the 1984-85 miners’ strike. The clear message was: This is how it was under Thatcherism. Words such as ‘divisive’, ‘polarised’ and ‘out of touch’ began to be bandied about freely by BBC journalists describing the events of the 1980s. Charges were made against her which weren’t explained or placed in context.
For example, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams was interviewed stating that Lady Thatcher had inflicted ‘great hurt’ on Northern Ireland. Now that Mr Adams represents himself as a democratic politician it is right he should have his say. But shouldn’t the BBC have mentioned that at the time of the Brighton bombing in 1984, which very nearly killed Margaret Thatcher, and did kill five others, the judgmental and seemingly virtuous Mr Adams was leader of the IRA’s Army Council?
Equally, Lady Thatcher’s opposition to sanctions against ‘apartheid South Africa’ was repeatedly cited by BBC television news, and her isolation among Commonwealth countries over the issue dwelt on.
What was not mentioned, at any rate while I was watching, is that she opposed sanctions largely because she believed they would harm black people most, though the BBC did grudgingly concede that she wasn’t in favour of apartheid.
Nor did the Corporation recall that after he was let out of prison in 1990, Nelson Mandela, the leader of the African National Congress, visited No 10 to thank Margaret Thatcher for her part in securing his release. These caveats should have been entered. Why weren’t they? I suggest the reason is that they do not accord with the Corporation’s historically distorted depiction of her as an inflexible extremist.
And then, of course, there were countless interviews of people who claimed they or their families had been victims of Lady Thatcher’s allegedly draconian economic policies which supposedly ‘decimated’ British manufacturing. The similar (or sometimes worse) experiences of other advanced economies were not mentioned.
I don’t deny she was a ‘divisive’ figure – not in the sense of intending to divide people, and deliberately setting them against one another, but because she sometimes had this effect. It is therefore perfectly reasonable to interview people who believe they suffered as a result.
But on such a massive scale so soon after her death? It was when I was listening to the BBC World Service in the early hours of yesterday morning, and heard a disgruntled Welshman having a swipe at her over the Falklands War, that I decided I’d had enough, and the BBC was being unfair.
If anything, radio was worse than television, despite the repeated use of TV footage implying that the 1980s were one continuous riot. On Radio Five yesterday, I heard a young woman being interviewed who had taken part in a celebration of Margaret Thatcher’s death in Brixton.
Although she admitted she knew virtually nothing about Lady Thatcher’s record as Prime Minister, and was relying almost wholly on what her Liverpudlian parents had told her, this ridiculous person was taken seriously.
Perhaps the nadir of radio coverage came yesterday evening when the BBC World Service unearthed someone called Mark, who had been promoting a song, Ding, Dong, The Witch Is Dead, taken from the film Wizard Of Oz. This was not simply unfair. It was in appallingly bad taste to give airtime to someone capable of pushing such a song about a woman who had died the previous day. Let him sing it in his bath, if he must, but this poison should have been kept off the airwaves.
God knows what foreign listeners to the often admirable BBC World Service will have thought when they heard a just deceased great stateswoman being referred to in this way. I don’t suppose it could happen in any other country on earth.
Nor can I remember any major political figure being so treated by the BBC so soon after his or her demise.
Humane: When Winston Churchill died, the BBC rightly dwelt on his wartime achievement (itself not without blemishes) and left it to historians to write about his failings
You may say Margaret Thatcher was unusual in being so divisive, and so is bound to be dealt with in an unusual way. But every statesman who has ever lived made lots of mistakes.
When Winston Churchill died, the BBC could have chosen to make much of his many cock-ups, and the evidence of his extremism: his controversial involvement in the bloody Sidney Street siege in 1911; the disastrous Gallipoli expedition, which he proposed in the First World War; his return to the Gold Standard when Chancellor; and his reactionary opposition to Indian Home Rule in the 1930s.
But the BBC rightly dwelt on his wartime achievement (itself not without blemishes) and left it to historians to write about his failings. That is the natural, humane and sensible thing to do when a great figure dies. So it should have been with Margaret Thatcher.
For all her faults and errors, it is widely agreed, even by people such as Tony Blair, that she managed to save Britain from economic calamity. That is a wonderful thing to have done.
She would not have received such treatment from the BBC had she been of the Left. No, the shortcomings of Leftists are usually indulged. On a much smaller scale, when the ex-Marxist historian and former sympathiser of Stalin, Eric Hobsbawm, died, the BBC kindly drew a curtain over his support for a totalitarian regime.
My submission is that an intelligent young person knowing little or nothing about the 1980s, who watched and listened to as much BBC coverage as I have, would come away with the false impression that she was a destructive leader who did more harm than good.
I would like to tell this young person that she won three elections, two of them with very large majorities, and that she achieved some great things, not least of which were liberating many working-class people in Britain, and helping to destroy Soviet communism. This democratically elected leader was not such a divisive and polarising person as the BBC pretends.
But that is how it often represented her when she was Prime Minister. The BBC hated her in life. The evidence of the past couple of days is that it still hates her in death.
via Mail Online