On Friday, November 1, 2019, the FBI arrested a self-proclaimed white supremacist named Richard Holzer, who was allegedly planning to bomb Temple Emanuel in Pueblo, Colorado—the second-oldest synagogue in the state.
This is, largely, a good thing. After sleeping on the white supremacist infiltration of police departments all across the country, it's nice to see the FBI is actually taking action against this hugely dangerous epidemic. And there's absolutely no question that Richard Holzer was a white supremacist with violent intentions. As the Justice Department explained in a press release:
Holzer, who self-identifies as a skinhead and a white supremacist, told undercover FBI agents that he wanted to do something that would tell Jewish people in the community that they are not welcome in Pueblo, and they should leave or they will die. The affidavit states that during a meeting with the undercover agents, Holzer repeatedly expressed his hatred of Jewish people and his support for RAHOWA, shorthand for a racial holy war.
Holzer also told the undercover FBI agents that he had already hired a "witch doctor" to "hex and poison" the water at the Temple, paying a Mexican cook to add arsenic into the pipes. It's unclear if this actually happened, or if it actually accomplished anything—but clearly, this guy was trouble. Read the rest
There's nothing more fun than a prank that brings great laughter to its victims, and this is what Chance the Rapper does when he becomes an undercover Lyft driver for a day. He drives unsuspecting passengers around Chicago and chats with them about all sorts of things, including rappers. It takes a while, but these passengers finally realize who they're really talking to, and their reactions are priceless (especially the last woman, who comes after you think the video is over, so watch to the end).
Chance pulls this stunt to bring attention to his charity, The New Chance Fund, which raises funds for art and literature enrichment in the Chicago public schools. Read the rest
Forty years ago, investigative journalists in Chicago hatched an audacious plan to create a fake tavern packed with hidden microphones, cameras, and reporters everywhere working as bar staff and customers. Their goal was to document local corruption. Topic has a great oral history of the project. Read the rest
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Sacha Baron Cohen, the man behind Ali G and Borat, is back with a new show which premieres this weekend. In the promo for the satirical half-hour series, called Who is America?, the British comedian can be heard asking, "Dick Cheney, is it possible to sign my waterboard kit?" The former Vice President answers, "Sure!" and is then shown autographing an empty plastic water jug. It then cuts to him, "That's the first time I've ever signed a waterboard." Troll level: expert.
From the official description: "In the works over the past year, the seven-episode series explores the diverse individuals, from the infamous to the unknown across the political and cultural spectrum, who populate our unique nation."
Showtime Networks president and CEO David Nevins said in a statement, "Sacha is a comedic genius who shocks you with his audacity, bravery and inventiveness. He is the premier provocateur of our time, but not for the sake of ‘gotcha’ moments. Behind the elaborate setup is a genuine quest for the truth about people, places and politics. Nobody knows how to cause a stir like Sacha Baron Cohen, and it’s going to be fascinating to watch what happens when Who Is America? is released on the world.”
The show begins airing Sunday, July 15 at 10 PM ET/PT on Showtime.
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For a publicity stunt for his new movie The Foreigner, the lovable Jackie Chan signed up for a bunch of new online accounts under the name "ActuallyJackieChan" and humorously started answering questions from fans. Of course, without verified checkmarks on those accounts, the martial arts actor just looked like someone posing as Jackie Chan.
Here's what he wrote on Reddit:
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The New Yorker released a tape today from 2015, between then 22-year-old model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez and Harvey Weinstein.
This was taped as part of an undercover operation with the New York Police Department the day after Weinstein had sexually abused Gutierrez in his office, "groping her breasts and putting his hand up her skirt," according to The Guardian. Wearing a wire, Gutierrez is standing in the hallway of his hotel room as he tries to get her inside.
This audio shows how forceful, disrespectful and egotistical Weinstein is. Some lines between the two from the tape:
G: Yesterday was kind of aggressive for me.
W: Don't embarrass me in the hotel. I'm here all the time.
G: But I don't want to.
W: Come here. Listen to me... You'll never see me again after this... I'm a famous guy. Please come in now.
G: Why yesterday you touched my breast?
W: Oh, please, I’m sorry, just come on in. I’m used to that. Come on. Please.
G: You’re used to that?
W: Yes. Come in... I won’t do it again, come on, sit here. Sit here for a minute, please?... Don’t ruin your friendship with me for five minutes. Read the rest
At Hopes&Fears, Kristen Felicetti has tips from private dicks on how to lose someone who is following you, in a car, on foot, and on public transportation. Read the rest
Most of the time, when somebody goes undercover inside a meat processing facility, it's done with the express goal of convincing other people to stop eating meat. But that wasn't what journalist Ted Conover had in mind. He was more just curious, especially given the growing trend of state laws preventing undercover infiltration of agribusiness facilities. So, using his real name and address, Conover got a job as a USDA meat inspector at a Cargill plant.
What's fascinating here is that the problems he finds have less to do with animal abuse (Maryn McKenna reports that Conover was surprised to find himself in a clean, safe, humane facility) and more to do with the abuse of antibiotics — a trend that is a major contributor to antibiotic resistance.
You can't read the full story for free, unfortunately. Such is the way of Harpers. But Maryn McKenna has a summary, Conover has a blog post on agribusiness gag laws, and you can buy access to the full story with a Harper's subscription. Read the rest