Tim Murphy

Tim Murphy

Reporter

Tim Murphy is a reporter in MoJo's DC bureau. Last summer he logged 22,000 miles while blogging about his cross-country road trip for Mother Jones. His writing has been featured in Slate and the Washington Monthly. Email him with tips and insights at tmurphy [at] motherjones [dot] com.

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Now Scammers are Trying to Make Money off Mandela's Death

| Thu Dec. 19, 2013 7:00 AM EST

It's officially a tradition: When something bad happens to the international community, email scammers attempt to exploit it. There was Hurricane Katrina. There was the 2005 tsunami. There was the Haiti earthquake. And now there's Nelson Mandela's death. Here's an email Mother Jones received from an emailer purporting to represent the late South African president's charitable organization, the Nelson Mandela Foundation:

Good Day,

I hope my mail finds you well. This is my second email to you without any
response. I am Maeline Engelbrecht Nelson Manuela's Donor relations manager. For
couple of years we have been in a global approach in fighting the pandemic, and
emphasizes the importance of strengthening relationships with UNICEF, Save the
Children Fund and other governments. Giving Aids to orphans. In 2002 the Fund
raised 34-million Dollar through donations, programmed funding and fundraising
initiatives locally and internationally. The continual growth of the Fund has
led to the establishment of offices in the United Kingdom, United States,
France, Australia, the Netherlands, Canada and now Spain. For more details you
can read from the link below, although, there are a lot of reforms for security
purposes.
http://www.southafrica.info/mandela/mandelachildrensfund.htm#.UO5dq1LEPMw

OR

http://www.looktothestars.org/charity/nelson-mandela-foundation

Due to deteriorating situation of Mandalas' health, He has suggested that the
fund allocated to his organization from the UK Based Anglo American mining
Company should be directed to a responsible and a reliable hand not here in
South African but other country as well, as this is one of his struggles in
life. On this basis I have contacted you for assistance to have it operated and
monitored by you in your country. Please We have created a good reputation in
the past and would not want anything to dent our image so if you cannot handle
this foundation in your country I suggest you ignore the email. On the contrary
get back to us for a way forward.

Please Reply us here:nelsonmandelaf@safrica.com  OR
maelineengelbrecht@hotmail.com

Regards
Maeline Engelbrecht
Mandela's Donor relations manager"

This isn't the first time a scammer has attempted to use the name Engelbrecht—who left the foundation in 2008—to make money off of Mandela. In January, the Nelson Mandela Foundation published a warning about a nearly identical email: "Any such messages received should be viewed as fraudulent and reported to the Centre of Memory."

Don't get scammed, kids.

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How Tallahassee Police Blew the Jameis Winston Case

| Fri Dec. 13, 2013 12:31 PM EST

Last week, prosecutors in Tallahassee announced they would not press charges against Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, over allegations he had raped a former FSU student in December of 2012. Investigators had sat on the case for almost a year, and an attorney for the accuser (who withdrew from school after coming forward) alleged that Tallahassee police had told her to tread carefully, because she was in a "big football town." The press conference announcing that no charges would be filed was interrupted frequently by laughter from the (mostly male) attendees.

On Friday, the Tampa Bay Times broke down just how lax the Tallahassee Police Department's investigation really was. After interviewing the accuser in January of 2013, police were presented with a number of obvious sources to follow up with: they knew the bar where she'd been drinking; they knew she'd taken a taxi; and they knew that a football player named "Chris" had walked in on the alleged rape. Among the details:

  • "More than 200 pages of documents showed no signs that police ever questioned anyone at the bar or requested surveillance footage. The bar had more than 30 cameras that could have shown how much the woman drank, if she interacted with Winston and whom she left with."
  • "Police also seemed to quickly give up on finding the cab or its driver, though a specific company (Yellow Cab) was known to offer student discounts."
  • "Back then, police also didn't look for the freshman football player named Chris. A simple review of the Seminoles' 2012 roster shows Chris Casher was the only true freshman on the team with that first name. Investigators later learned that Casher was Winston's roommate and had walked in on the sexual activity—in part to record it on his cellphone. By the time investigators interviewed Casher in November, the recording had been deleted and the phone discarded."

That last item may be the most damning—there was literally a video of the alleged crime and police never tried to find it.

That's not to say Winston would have been found guilty. Maybe the leads investigators never followed might have led them to the same conclusion they ultimately drew. But the nature of the investigation made it clear that the odds were stacked against the accuser from the start. It would hardly be the first time.

America's Best Hate-Reads, 2013

| Thu Dec. 12, 2013 7:00 AM EST

The year is almost over. Thank God. If you're anything like us, you spent a good portion of the last year tearing your hair out over something you read on the internet. (Did you know millennials have a sense of entitlement? It's true!)

Here are 46 stories we couldn't stop complaining about in 2013:

Modern Times

"Eric devoured the sandwich as if it were a five-star meal, diving in with large, eager bites. 'Babes, this is delicious!' he exclaimed."

New York and Not-New-York

"The brunch is all the same."

Washington Post Columnist Richard Cohen

"Miley Cyrus twerked. I had to look up the word since my indefatigable spell checker had no idea what I meant."

Money

"The preferred terms, he said, are 'hackers,' 'makers' or 'coders.'"

Politics

"Now, let me be clear. I love the gays. I have gay friends, gay mentors, gay acquaintances and associates."

"Women, How Do They Work?"

"When you puzzle over why the elegant Huma Abedin is propping up the eel-like Anthony Weiner, you must remember one thing: Huma was raised in Saudi Arabia..."

Love Actually

"Love Actually says, yes, you're crazy, but other people are crazy, too, and you should find out if maybe they're crazy about you."

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