News

Why I’m Not Enjoying the Ashley Madison Hack

by Bill Brenner August 24, 2015 News

Because I have a happy marriage and am not the cheating type, I thought I’d enjoy the fallout over the Ashley Madison hack, in which millions of people using the adultery site were outed. One of the outed individuals was reality TV star Josh Duggar, a self-proclaimed devout Christian who preaches the virtues of family values. Everyone likes to see hypocrites fall, right? Mood music: I spent a lot of time pondering what I could write…  [Read More]

Vincent Bugliosi Inspired My Work in Journalism, InfoSec

by Bill Brenner June 10, 2015 News

Vincent Bugliosi, the man who prosecuted Charles Manson and his family and then detailed the case in his book Helter Skelter, has died at age 80. Indirectly, I owe some of my career trajectory to him. Mood music:  I’ve chronicled my interest in the Manson case at length in this blog. Those posts capture the mental health issues that led to the crimes, as well as my own OCD-fueled obsession with the case. But Bugliosi’s…  [Read More]

Ireland’s Gay Marriage Vote Was Inevitable

by Bill Brenner May 26, 2015 News

Some on social media are surprised Ireland voted so overwhelmingly to legalize gay marriage. One reason may be because Ireland is so predominantly Catholic, and Catholic doctrine says homosexuality is wrong. As an American Catholic, I think the vote went as it did because more and more Catholics are thinking as I do on this subject. Mood music: My conscience tells me that government has absolutely no business defining what marriage — and, more to the…  [Read More]

The Good in Baltimore

by Bill Brenner May 6, 2015 News

The top news story last week was about the rioting and looting in Baltimore. The discussion has been full of anger over what many see as thuggery. The violence makes me angry, too. But there have been many rays of sunshine in Baltimore as well. The good news is there, if you know where to look. Here are some examples. Mood music: “10 Images of the Baltimore Riots You Won’t See on TV” (News.mic) Missing…  [Read More]

RIP to Haverhill’s “Crazy Mike”

by Bill Brenner May 5, 2015 News

I’m sad to report that the man known around Haverhill as “Crazy Mike” has died. He was found in some bushes along the Main Street side of Pentucket Bank’s Merrimack Street branch Monday morning. Police aren’t confirming his identity pending an investigation, but yesterday I touched base with his brother, who confirmed it was him. Mood music: I connected with his brother on Facebook a couple years ago, after I wrote some posts criticizing some fellow Haverhill…  [Read More]

Brian Williams and the Line Between Truth-Lie

by Bill Brenner February 10, 2015 News

Brian Williams lied and ought to be fired. Mood music:  The NBC Nightly News anchor says he “conflated” events when he told the world he was on a chopper that was shot at during the Iraq War. In fact, he was in another chopper an hour behind. I don’t see how one could possibly misremember something as huge as getting shot at. As this shitstorm intensifies, we’re hearing about other points where he embellished his…  [Read More]

Stop Fussing Over That Belichick Kiss

by Bill Brenner February 5, 2015 News

I’ve said it before: My interest in football is minimal, though my attention perks up a bit when my hometown New England Patriots play the Super Bowl. My focus usually turns to how people behave in the heat of the moment. Whether their team wins or loses, people latch on to the supremely stupid after the big game. Mood music: Sometimes Patriots fans are the worst. After the team lost the Super Bowl a couple years…  [Read More]

Accused Haverhill Church Vandal Needs Help, Not Hate

by Bill Brenner January 15, 2015 News

Over the holidays, there was much outrage over the news that someone stole the Baby Jesus figure from a Nativity scene at Sacred Hearts Parish in Haverhill, leaving a severed pig’s head in its place. I was among those offended and troubled. It happened on Christmas morning and had all the hallmarks of a hateful act. A lot of people speculated that it was a hate crime. My guess at the time was that it…  [Read More]

Manson’s Getting Married

by Bill Brenner November 19, 2014 News

When traffic on older posts starts shooting through the roof, it’s usually a sign that something new is happening with the people and events I’ve written about. The latest example: Charles Manson. Mood music: It appears that Charlie has obtained a marriage license and plans to wed 26-year-old Afton Elaine Burton, who goes by the name Star. The young lady says she loves Manson because of his environmental activism. She’s apparently willing to look beyond the…  [Read More]

Blackstone House of Horrors: The Story Doesn’t Add Up

by Bill Brenner September 15, 2014 News

There’s a pretty awful story unfolding here in Massachusetts, about four children living in filth and neglect at a home in Blackstone. It reads like a horror movie: The house was infested with vermin, 2-foot stacks of dirty diapers were everywhere and feces covered the walls. The two youngest kids showed signs of neglect. Police found the remains of three infants and a number of dead animals in the house. Mood music: The mom, 31-year-old Erika…  [Read More]