What an Omnishambles: Discussing the state of the Brtish media with Ian Hislop – An interesting and very open interview with the Private Eye editor.
Invasion of the cyber hustlers – “The cyber-credo of “open” sounds so liberal and friendly that it is easy to miss its remarkable hypocrisy. The big technology companies that are the cybertheorists’ beloved exemplars of the coming world order are anything but open. Google doesn’t publish its search algorithm; Apple is notoriously secretive about its product plans; Facebook routinely changes its users’ privacy options.”
The Innocent Man, Part One (and Part Two) – Very long but fascinating tale from Texas of Michael Morton, who was convicted for the murder of his wife in the 1980s and then proved innocent of it in 2011.
Town planning: Infrastructure – A hypothetical from Mark Wadsworth that makes some interesting points.
Newtown and the madness of guns – “So let’s state the plain facts one more time, so that they can’t be mistaken: Gun massacres have happened many times in many countries, and in every other country, gun laws have been tightened to reflect the tragedy and the tragic knowledge of its citizens afterward. In every other country, gun massacres have subsequently become rare. In America alone, gun massacres, most often of children, happen with hideous regularity, and they happen with hideous regularity because guns are hideously and regularly available.”

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Interesting story here about employees of a Las Vegas casino being arrested for scamming money from the poker room’s bad beat jackpot. (via Tao of Poker) Especially interesting to me as the Planet Hollywood poker room was one I played at a few times when I was in Las Vegas last year, so it’s possible that I may have met one or more of the people who were running the scam. However, I can’t claim to have been affected by the scam as they were skimming money off the top of the jackpot pool, and I didn’t win one of those while I was there – and not just in Planet Hollywood, I failed to win one anywhere.

It’s a shame, because the poker room at Planet Hollywood was a nice place to play, but I can’t see that poker players are going to want to go there again now this news has broken. They’re a superstitious lot, and there’ll be lots of them muttering ‘once bitten, twice shy’ before turning away from the threshold of Planet Hollywood.

But the best take on this does come from Pauly at the Tao of Poker:

The Planet Ho 4 are lucky that it’s 2009 and not 1979. Thirty years ago, they’d be listed as missing persons with their bodies nowhere to be found. Back in the rough and tumble days when the mob ran Vegas, if you got caught stealing from a casino, you’d end up in a hole on the edge of Death valley sleeping with the scorpions.

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We have a new contender for the list of Greatest Things Ever:

Via Graham Linehan, who states entirely reasonably: ‘This is my favourite news ever. Why isn’t this ON the news?’

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Two in one

Two committee meetings in one night last night, as Strategic Overview and Scrutiny Panel was followed by the first meeting of Colchester’s Crime and Disorder Committee. This is a new committee we’ve been required to create by the Government to scutinise the work of our local Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership. Rather than set up an entirely new committee to do this, we decided to make it part of the SOS Panel’s work – technically, it’s a separate committe, but it has the same membership as the SOS Panel, and meets after that meeting is finished.

So, we got to interview senior police officers and talk about crime statistics. I must admit that thanks to my TV-watching habits of recent weeks it was hard not see the similarities with The Wire and imagine myself in a Comstat meeting. Of course, it turns out that I wasn’t the only politician having delusions about parallels between Britain and David Simon’s vision of Baltimore, but I chose not to make a big speech about mine.

Read the rest of this entry

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So, Chris Grayling has declared that parts of Britain are ‘like The Wire‘. Interestingly, BBC Two are now showing series 5 of that, where we see that a smooth-talking politician who was elected on a promise of change and a ‘new day’ turns out to have no answers to a crippling financial crisis other than cuts, cuts and more cuts.

In the same spirit, I’d say Chris Grayling is like Party Animals – poorly researched and unconvincing.

UPDATE: It turns out that Grayling has only seen a few episodes from the first series, so he may in fact not own a TV. So please regard this post as being titled ‘Gotta keep David Davis way down in the hole’ from now on.

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