John Hayward

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'Robocop' revisited

With all the talk of militarized police flying around these days, and the name of Robocop frequently invoked (or his image dragged into Photoshop tomfoolery) in criticism of the police response to the Ferguson riots, this seemed like a good time to catch up with the "Robocop" remake on DVD.  Alas, it proved a significant disappointment, although it made an interesting attempt to incorporate Surveillance State anxiety into the venerable Eighties action film. Aug 15, 2014 8:56 PM PT

The Ferguson story changes dramatically

Writing at length about the latest developments in the Ferguson saga, I thought the praise given to Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson was generally well-deserved.  The town wasn't quite as peaceful last night as the Shangri-La portrayed in Big Media reports - there were several instances of violence, including rocks thrown at cops, that simply were not reported, because they were unhelpful to The Narrative - but it was much improved.  Johnson, who grew up in Ferguson, hit the streets personally, and people responded well to him.  That's leadership, and it counts. Aug 15, 2014 9:55 AM PT

Challenging Edward Snowden and the information vigilantes

I've had strong misgivings about the freelance arbiters of secrecy ever since Wikileaks got off the ground.  Since I'm also institutionally suspicious of the government agencies they raid for information, and particularly suspicious of what the government has mutated into over the past six years, that poses a bit of a dilemma.  Can you respond to the information provided by someone like Edward Snowden, while simultaneously harboring deep misgivings about him claiming the power to decide what secrets should be exposed?  There's already considerable evidence that he jeopardized national security, while also exposing programs that made many Americans uncomfortable with the extent of the Surveillance State. Aug 14, 2014 12:52 PM PT

Murder suspect allegedly asks his iPhone for help disposing of a corpse

Reports were swirling around the Internet today about a University of Florida student named Pedro Bravo - dubbed an "idiot killer" by website BGR - asking Siri, the voice-response program of the iPhone, for assistance with disposing of a corpse.  The even stranger twist to the story is that Siri responded. Aug 13, 2014 1:55 PM PT

New Internet toothache: unstoppable bitcoin thieves

The Dell computer corporation's SecureWorks Counter Threat Unit recently discovered an unknown hacker quietly "hijacking networks belonging to Amazon, Digital Ocean, OVH, and other large hosting companies between February and May 2014."  During that period of time, the hijacker used a complicated but time-tested "redirection" technique to steal $83,000 of profits from the currency miners.  ("Cryptocurrency" refers to virtual online currency, the most famous example being Bitcoin.  The miners were basically using automated programs to engage in sophisticated high-speed currency speculation.) Aug 13, 2014 8:57 AM PT

ISIS recruiting effort going well enough to pull in Denver teenager

Not only are the brutal tactics of ISIS, combined with the howling vacuum of American leadership, breaking the morale of their enemies, but it's produced a recruiting bonanza.  They've been doing so well in conquered Iraqi territory that the government in Baghdad launched airstrikes against a Mosul mosque, because ISIS was using it as a recruiting center.  They're also pulling in jihadists from beyond Iraq and Syria. Aug 12, 2014 9:51 AM PT

Surprise: Obama's pinprick strikes fail to halt advance of al-Qaeda Junior Varsity squad

When Valerie Jarrett told Barack Obama he'd have to cut a few hours out of his fiftieth luxury vacation and do something in Iraq, lest he go down in history as the President who lounged at poolside while genocide went down, his initial statements insisted it would be a matter of launching a few quick airstrikes against ISIS... even as everyone in the defense establishment was muttering about long-term commitments and a lack of easy solutions.  On Saturday, Obama came off the back nine to give another press conference and finally admit that the situation in Iraq would be a "long-term" project. Aug 10, 2014 10:09 AM PT

Flashback: Mitt Romney on Iraq

It's a pity, at this dangerous juncture, that America can't send Barack Obama - The Man Who Was Wrong About Absolutely Everything - to the showers and replace him with Mitt Romney.  Obama's foolishness has cost America and the world dearly.   Aug 9, 2014 8:22 PM PT

Horrors of ISIS

How bad is the genocidal terror state created across Syria and Iraq on Barack Obama's watch?  This bad: Aug 8, 2014 9:55 AM PT

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