“At six feet four and 260 pounds, he fills up a room without meaning to, though he never wastes time trying to merge with his surroundings. He’s funny and profane and could charm a lampshade off its base with his whiskey-sour drawl and Harley swagger. Small wonder that even strangers at the Quik Mart call him Tex, though he’s as much from Amarillo as you or me.
But being a giant with full tat sleeves is its own disguise: No one sees you and thinks ‘plainclothes cop’ hiding cameras in your leathers. That’s the trademark of a crack undercover: a genius for playing yourself.”
The troubled life of Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez.
The difficult process of finding asylum for fixers, translators and other allies in Iraq and Afghanistan whose lives are now threatened for working with the U.S.:
“We were told it would take a while, but it’s been more than three years, and we can’t even get an update on his status,” says Kinsella, a Princeton grad who’s now at Berkeley Law School, preparing to become a Marine judge advocate. He decided to be a lawyer after his 2010 Afghan tour, at least partly to guide Mohammad and others like him through the visa process, which he describes as Kafkaesque. “First, ‘terps need a mentor, an officer they work for, to go out and spend months getting letters of recommendation, and logging every death threat they get,” Kinsella says. Then, if the officer is still in-country when the application is completed, they need him to bird-dog its progress at the embassy, lest it languish on someone’s desk or be dismissed by one of the clerks. If it passes muster there, it goes to Washington, D.C., for a months-long crawl at the National Visa Center, then an endless and redundant series of background checks by the CIA, FBI, and Department of Homeland Security, any of which can, and do, spike the application for a misspelled name or wrong date. When, or if, it finally runs the gauntlet there, it bounces back to Kabul for further review, including cross-examinations of the applicant and his family. “It’s completely insane – these guys get constantly vetted while they’re working for us,” says Kinsella. “They’re given counter-intelligence tests every few months to keep their security clearance. Also, they’ve had years to kill Americans on base, and not one of them ever has.”
Animal rights activists uncover the dark underbelly of factory farming:
Carlson’s secretly recorded footage, compiled over more than a month, triggered a cruelty indictment and cost the dairy a major buyer. The takedown, in 2008, was Carlson’s first assignment. Hired out of college by Kroll Advisory Solutions to gather business data, he left to find work at a nonprofit firm devoted to social justice. Neither the Polaris Project nor the Environmental Investigation Agency called back, but Mercy for Animals did. After several weeks of training, he hired on at Willet, a giant dairy in Locke, New York, that churned out 40,000 gallons of milk a day. So damning was his footage of standard factory-farming practice – chopping the tails off calves without anesthesia; gouging the horns off their heads with hot branding irons, also without anesthesia; punching cows, kicking calves, beating desperately sick downers – that Nightline ran it on national TV, confronting Willet’s CEO on camera. “Our animals are critically important to our well-being, so we work hard to treat them well,” droned Lyndon Odell of the 5,000 cows standing in lagoons of their own shit. Shown tape of the tortured calves, and pressed on whether a cow feels pain, he rolled his shoulders and mumbled, “I guess I can’t speak for the cow.” It bears saying here that nothing would have come from the tape if left to the whims of Jon Budelmann, the Cayuga County DA. “We approached him with our evidence and he told us to fuck off – he wasn’t going to take on Big Dairy,” says Carlson. “It was only after we went to the media with the tape that he got off his ass and brought charges.” (Budelmann later cleared Willet of any wrongdoing, telling the Syracuse Post-Standard that while Willet’s practices might seem harsh to consumers, they’re “not currently illegal in New York state.”)
If the West is ground zero for the unholy experiment being conducted on weather shifts, then Yellowstone is first up on the blasting range. The oldest and most magical of our national parks, its 2 million acres stretch to three states, boast a spectacular chain of rivers, lakes, and creeks, and sit, a vast chunk of them, on a supervolcano that spawns half the world’s geysers and hot springs. There is grandeur on all sides of you, but graveyards, too: mile after mile of zombified forests, dead from the roots but still standing.