Only in America
October 25, 2011

The champion goat at the Colorado State Fair has lost his title after failing a drug test. The goat, named Theodore, was declared Grand Champion for his size — 83 pounds — and general condition. Subsequent urine tests, however, revealed the presence of ractopamine, a banned additive used in hogs. "It's just shocked the heck out of me," said owner Susan Weinroth, who suggested that "sabotage" was to blame. The Week Staff

This is a big deal
10:18 a.m. ET

Chipotle is officially the first major restaurant chain to go completely GMO-free.

The fast-casual chain has worked to eliminate genetically modified organisms from its offerings for more than two years, The Wall Street Journal reports. Some of the transition included, for instance, substituting a GMO-free sunflower oil for a genetically modified soybean oil.

Some GMOs are approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the Journal notes, but GMO critics believe they are bad for the environment and potentially harmful to humans. Common GMO crops include corn and soybeans, which are modified to be pest-resistant. The Journal notes that more than 90 percent of U.S. corn and soy is from genetically modified seeds.

"This is another step toward the visions we have of changing the way people think about and eat fast food," Steve Ells, founder and co-chief executive of Chipotle, told The New York Times. "Just because food is served fast doesn't mean it has to be made with cheap raw ingredients, highly processed with preservatives and fillers and stabilizers and artificial colors and flavors." Meghan DeMaria

at the movies
10:01 a.m. ET
Grant Lamos IV/Getty Images

The Tribeca Film Festival ended by screening one of the defining films of its founder, Robert De Niro: Goodfellas, the classic gangster movie that celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. In a post-screening Q&A moderated by The Daily Show's Jon Stewart, a panel of Goodfellas cast members — including De Niro, Ray Liotta, Lorraine Bracco, and Paul Sorvino, alongside writer Nicholas Pileggi, on whose novel the film was based — reflected on their memories from the film.

Liotta, who played real-life gangster Henry Hill in Goodfellas, explained what Hill thought of the completed film. "[Martin Scorsese] didn't want me to talk to him before [the movie]," explained Liotta. "So after the movie, I got a call to meet him at a bowling alley in the valley in California, with his brother. So I go to the bowling alley and there's Henry — I knew him from pictures. And the first thing he says to me was, 'Thanks for making me not look like a scumbag.' And I said, 'Did you see the movie?'"

The panel discussed the painstaking precision with which Goodfellas attempted to capture the real-life story; when a scene called for De Niro to use a bottle of ketchup, he asked the real Henry Hill how Jimmy Burke, on who his Jimmy "The Gent" Conway was based, used to hit a bottle of ketchup. "It's that little moment of insane authenticity that makes Marty's movies work," said Pileggi. "He just insists on it."

That same kind of obsessive work ethic continued even after Goodfellas was completed. "We went to the premiere at the Ziegfeld, and I was sitting next to [Scorsese]," said Pileggi. "At the start of the movie, I get this elbow. I look over, and he says, 'Oh, no. We should have cut that. You see that?' I said, 'Marty, buddy, you're in a tuxedo. It's the opening of the movie. We're in the Ziegfeld. Editing is over.' His mind, I think, is constantly thinking about improving it or changing it or altering it." Scott Meslow

Caught red-handed
9:35 a.m. ET

Officials have apprehended a group of thieves who attempted to break into China's ancient Guanghui Temple, in the Hebei province.

The eight-member gang of tomb raiders hatched quite an elaborate plan: They rented a restaurant near the temple and tried to dig a 165-foot tunnel into the ancient site. The group hoped to loot the temple's Hua Pagoda, which is decorated with elaborate carvings, including Buddhas as well as elephants and other animals, Ancient Origins reports. The temple dates to the Tang Dynasty, which lasted from 618 to 907 C.E.

The plan almost worked, too: The thieves made it within 65 feet of the pagoda before they were caught. Police grew suspicious when the restaurant never opened, and they eventually received a tip about suspicious activity there. The officials found the tunnel just in time, and their investigation revealed that the group had been at work on the tunnel for months.

Five people involved in the attempted heist were arrested, but the other three are still at large. Ancient Origins notes that tomb raiding is common in China, and criminals are developing more and more elaborate schemes to get their hands on historical treasures. Meghan DeMaria

Fool me once
9:24 a.m. ET
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) didn't suffer facial fractures at the hands of some mob goons, according to a man who claims to have concocted that tall tale.

Larry Pfeifer, a 50-year-old from Las Vegas, tells the Las Vegas Sun that after seeing a conservative site question Reid's version of events — the senator said he sustained the injuries in a freak workout accident — he wanted to ensnare some gullible sites with an unfounded rumor of his own. Sure enough, the plan worked.

The rumor spread quickly after Hinderaker published it April 3, landing Pfeifer on conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham’s radio program six days later when Hinderaker was a guest host, and leading to a conversation between Pfeifer and Rush Limbaugh. Pfeifer said he tried to get on Limbaugh’s show, where he planned to admit he’d made up the story. [...] He said he decided to present the truth after Limbaugh rejected him as a guest but repeated the rumor April 15 on his talk-radio show. [Las Vegas Sun]

Pfeifer said he was surprised how rapidly the story spread considering he spiced it with blatantly false details. And he expressed remorse for bringing prolonged scrutiny to Reid's injuries.

"I would really like to apologize to Harry Reid and his brother," Pfeifer told the Sun. "What I did was [expletive] up." Jon Terbush

Boston Marathon Bombing
8:46 a.m. ET
FBI/Getty Images

A new poll shows that support for the death penalty for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has decreased in recent months among Massachusetts residents.

Only 15 percent of Boston residents believe that Tsarnaev should be executed, according to the poll. And while almost a third of Massachusetts residents reported support for the death penalty, just 18.9 percent thought Tsarnaev should receive it. That's a significant decrease from a Boston Globe poll in September 2013, which found that 33 percent of Massachusetts residents favored the death penalty for the bomber.

"It seems that voters have concluded that Tsarnaev does not deserve a quick death, but rather should spend the remainder of his days in a windowless cell contemplating the heinous acts that put him there," Frank Perullo, president of Sage Systems LLC, which conducted the poll, told The Boston Globe. “To voters, it would seem death is too easy an escape."

A jury is in the midst of Tsarnaev's trial's penalty phase, in which they will decide whether to sentence him to the death penalty or life in prison. Meghan DeMaria

This week in Washington
8:04 a.m. ET
Andrew Burton/Getty Images

The Senate is likely to vote this week on a bill giving senators some oversight of the Iranian nuclear deal being negotiated by Iran and the U.S., plus five other world powers. The bill passed out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with a 19-0 vote, but last week Republicans filed a number of amendments that would strip away support from Democrats, depriving the measure of not only its sheen of bipartisanship but also enough votes to overcome a filibuster or, if 60 senators still vote in favor, enough to overcome a veto from President Obama.

"It's important that this stays bipartisan," said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). "We should not intermingle emotional amendments with this bill. I'm appealing to people, 'Don't throw this bill in a ditch.'" The bill, as it stands now, would prevent Obama from waiving sanctions on Iran for 30 days while the Senate votes on the underlying bill. Some Democrats suggest that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) wants Obama to veto the legislation. Peter Weber

This just in
7:53 a.m. ET

Just weeks after being hit with a $30 million fine from the U.S. Department of Education, Corinthian Colleges has closed all 28 of its remaining schools. The department had fined for-profit Corinthian for providing students with false job placement rates.

Corinthian announced the closure on Sunday in a statement and an email to its 16,000 students. According to NBC News, Corinthian's closure marks the "biggest shutdown in the history of higher education in the United States."

"What these students have experienced is unacceptable," the Education Department said in a statement. "As Corinthian closes its doors for good, the department will continue to keep students at the heart of every decision we make." Meghan DeMaria

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