Gamespot:

The game, originally released in 1984, featured a bicycle-handlebar-shaped controller that was used to control a neighborhood newspaper-delivery boy. As gamers tried to keep customers happy with well-placed newspapers, they could also earn points by preventing thieves from breaking into homes, knocking over tombstones, or breaking the windows of nonsubscribing houses.

The Xbox 360 version will be updated with a new cooperative multiplayer mode, as well as “modernized” audio and “new artwork.” Paperboy will be available February 14 at 1 a.m. PST for 400 Microsoft Points ($5). For more information, read GameSpot’s previous coverage.

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WFMU’s Beware the Blog:

Mike Warnke is one of the most famous figures in American Christianity. However, unless you’re a Christian, a Satanist, a scandal fiend, obsessive internet troll, or a vinyl collector, there is still a good chance you don’t know his tale. Mike Warnke is a stand-up comedian. A Christian stand-up comedian. And despite a scandal-ridden career that would put Jim Bakker to shame, Warnke alone is responsible for what has turned into an enormous multi-million dollar industry – Christian stand-up comedy. Kinda nutty, ain’t it?

In reality the Mike Warnke story has been recounted several times over the past decade and, yes, we’re about to go through it again. This piece is more than that, however. It is a history of Christian stand-up comedy, from its roots in ventriloquism to its modern day standing as perhaps the wealthiest of all weirdo subcultures.

Here.

LA Times:

In 2005, the Dallas Morning News obtained a copy of a DVD showing unknown kidnappers interrogating four men allegedly working for the Gulf cartel. One of the captives is executed on camera. A Mexican official told the newspaper that video was part of a rival cartel’s “counterintelligence strategy.”

The video of that killing has shown up in several YouTube postings, including one that threatens revenge for the killing of singer Valentin “The Golden Rooster” Elizalde, whose narcocorrido ballads were taken up as anthems to Sinaloa cartel leader Guzman.

“This is directed to all those who call themselves Zetas … and to the Gulf cartel,” the YouTube video begins in a hip-hop cadence. “You’ll pay with your lives for what you did to our Golden Rooster.”

A 30-second video of Elizalde’s autopsy in the border city of Reynosa after his slaying in November circulates widely on the Internet. As of Wednesday, one version on YouTube had been viewed more than 850,000 times.

Here.

LA Weekly:

As we’ve seen from British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, one actor’s deadpan dedication to heavily accented cultural naiveté in the face of unsuspecting victims can do wonders. But actor Ken Davitian, who played Borat’s bearded and oversized film producer, confidant and combatant, Azamat Bagatov, already knew the power of anonymity before he’d ever heard of Cohen or Borat, because it won him the job.

“I didn’t break character,” says Davitian, 53, of his audition. The breakdown called for a “frumpy Eastern European” man who didn’t understand English. But instead of showing up as his needy American bit-player self and then performing the role for a casting camera, Davitian arrived as a bewildered foreigner sporting baggy threads, a gruff demeanor and a parlance inspired by his Armenian relatives. Outside the audition, among fellow actors he recognized from the ethnic-part circuit, all dressed as themselves, he kept up the act. “One of the guys came up and said, ‘You really want this part.’ ”

Inside, Davitian didn’t even hand over a real résumé. “I had a white 8-by-10 that was folded in my jacket pocket,” he says. “I took it out, straightened the creases and gave it to them, and you could see in their eyes, ‘How did this guy get in?’ From what I understand, they thought, ‘This is so sad. Let’s just go through with it a little bit and ask him to leave.’ ”

Here.

LA Weekly:

Bastards starts in the present, then leaps back to the great African-American migration from the South to the West in the mid 20th century. It chronicles the racism black folk encountered upon their arrival, and how they slowly carved neighborhoods and communities of their own. News to many will be the fact (also detailed in a comprehensive 2006 report on the history of the Bloods and the Crips by Sheriff’s Department gang expert Detective Wayne Coffey) that white gangs — with names like the Spook Hunters — planted the seeds of modern gang strife in L.A. when black school kids banded together to protect themselves from attacks. By the time white flight solved the problem of white gangs, black gangs like the Slausons, the Farmers and the Gladiators began to turn on one another.

The axis of the film, however, is the new life it breathes into the not-altogether-novel argument that the federal government, and the FBI in particular, pitted the Black Panther Party, and its L.A. leader, Bunchy Carter, against Ron Karenga and his US (United Slaves) movement, leaving both movements in ruins and creating a devastating political and cultural — not to mention spiritual — void in the local African-American community. Bastards is filled with fantastic gangsta-on-the-street interviews, archival photos and news footage, and interviews with Geronimo Pratt, other black activists and L.A. historian Mike Davis. As it unfolds, it presents an ever-deepening perspective not just on gang lore but on the black experience in Los Angeles, with its ripple effects on the national stage.

Here.

Daily Sun, Nigeria’s King of the Tabloids:

A fraudster known as Kamoru Adeyemi who specializes in duping people through mystical means has had his secrets blown open. The police nabbed him when he was about to collect a supposed gold necklace from his victim, a 16-years-old girl.

The police who acted based on information by the girl’s father swung into action and got him trapped. The family gave the police the information when they noticed that their daughter had given the sum of N2.3 million to Adeyemi. Adeyemi currently in detention at Lagos State Criminal Investigation Department where investigations are still on as to the whereabouts of his accomplice one Olomu who disappeared when the police came calling. Police investigation reveals that Adeyemi and his group had been making use of a hose and a Koran to produce voice, which Adeyemi would tell his victims, belongs to God.

Here.

Journal of a Photographer:

I was assigned to create the Magnum Blog… The first step back home was to do a layout and design for it. Once the design was ready I started the technical implementation. That proved to be a bigger challenge then I expected. I mean this was not the first blog I set up but I implemented many new features and techniques that I did not use before or that I did not use in the same way.

The new Magnum Blog is ready, approved and online now which means that my part in creating a blog for Magnum is over. By declining the job Magnum offered me a few months back, I gave away the chance to administrate the blog. To find topics, talk to photographers about ideas for stories, motivate them to write their own articles from the field, invite authors to join, make sure that the blog evolves.

Here.

Amazing collection of winners. An unflinching take on the world. The best photojournalism.

Here.

NYT:

The long-awaited report by the Pentagon’s acting inspector general, Thomas F. Gimble, was sent to Congress on Thursday. It is the first major review to rebuke senior officials working for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld for the way intelligence was used before the invasion of Iraq early in 2003.

Working under Douglas J. Feith, who at the time was under secretary of defense for policy, the group “developed, produced and then disseminated alternative intelligence assessments on the Iraq and Al Qaeda relationship, which included some conclusions that were inconsistent with the consensus of the Intelligence Community, to senior decision-makers,” the report concluded. Excerpts were quoted by Senator Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat who has long been critical of Mr. Feith and other Pentagon officials.

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Nieman Watchdog:

The shortcomings of Iraq coverage were not an aberration. Similar failure is a recurrent problem in times of national stress. The press was shamefully silent, for instance, when American citizens were removed from their homes and incarcerated solely because of their ancestry during World War II. Many in the press were cowed during McCarthyism’s heyday in the 1950s. Nor did the press dispute the case for the fact-challenged Gulf of Tonkin resolution that led to a greatly enlarged Vietnam war.

The press response to the build-up to the Iraq war simply is the latest manifestation of an underlying and ongoing reluctance to dissent from authority and prevailing opinion when emotions run high, especially on matters of war and peace, when the country most needs a questioning, vigorous press.

Here.

NYT:

The resulting stir within the usually well-mannered book world spiked this week when the president of the Circle’s board, John Freeman, wrote on the organization’s blog (bookcriticscircle.blogspot.com): “I have never been more embarrassed by a choice than I have been with Bruce Bawer’s ‘While Europe Slept,’ he wrote. “It’s hyperventilated rhetoric tips from actual critique into Islamophobia.”

The fusillade of e-mail messages on the subject circulating among the Circle’s 24 board members mirrors a larger debate over a string of recently published books that ominously warn of a catastrophic culture clash between Europeans with traditional Western values and fundamentalist Muslims — books including “Londonistan” by Melanie Phillips, “The Truth About Muhammad: Founder of the World’s Most Intolerant Religion” by Robert Spencer, and “America Alone” by Mark Steyn.

Here.

Wooster Collective:

To give a little life to drab seats on buses and trains in Sweden, Ulrika performs random acts of “public embroidery” – small images or short words (for example hello, hugs) that are quickly cross-stitched on seats in public transportations.

Here.

NYT:

It goes like this: “The more megapixels a camera has, the better the pictures.”

It’s a big fat lie. The camera companies and camera stores all know it, but they continue to exploit our misunderstanding. Advertisements declare a camera’s megapixel rating as though it’s a letter grade, implying that a 7-megapixel model is necessarily better than a 5-megapixel model.

A megapixel is one million tiny colored dots in a photo. It seems logical that more megapixels would mean a sharper photo. In truth, though, it could just mean a terrible photo made of more dots. A camera’s lens, circuitry and sensor — not to mention your mastery of lighting, composition and the camera’s controls — are far more important factors.

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PunkNews:

The Asbury Park Press has released an article speculating on the possible involvement of the “crew” FSU, or “Friends Stand United”, in the recent death of a James Morrison at a scheduled Ramallah show in Asbury Park, NJ.

According to numerous letters, emails and phone calls to both Morrison’s mother and the Asbury Park Press, Morrison and a few friends were allegedly attacked at the concert venue by FSU members because of one of Morrison’s friend’s shirt, which was southern rock group Lynyrd Skynyrd and featured a Confederate flag. According to the accounts, members of FSU immediately approched Morrison and friends, demanding the shirt be removed. When they refused, a brawl insued which lead to Morrison and two friends being pushed out the door by security, supposedly after a severe beating which may have included Morrison being struck with a bar stool.

Here.

Featuring Corey Smith, Meredith Edlow, Mario Sughi, Bryan Mitchell, Charlie Blackledge, Yana Payusova, Eduadorian children edited by Ashley Franscell, Ross Mantle.
Check it out here.

Digital Journalist:

Contact Press Images celebrated 30 years of remarkable photography in 2006. Founded by Robert Pledge and David Burnett in 1976, the agency has maintained its involvement with humanitarian and human-rights issues. This involves the responsibility to understand an issue and see that it could have consequences beyond the borders of one’s own town, region or country. Doing long-term stories on regime change, civil wars and genocide when they first appear on the horizon often means that a Contact photographer is aware and knowledgeable when the event evolves into a world news event. The vivid images of apartheid in South Africa, the civil war in El Salvador, the fall of the Shah of Iran, and 9/11 are visual markers of the 20th–21st centuries. Contact is one of the agencies that changed the landscape of photojournalism in Europe and America during the 1970s–1980s.

Here.

Digital Journalist:

Plagued by 60 percent unemployment and chronic poverty, crime in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, in Oceania is rampant, earning the city a reputation as being one of the most dangerous places in the world. Much of the violent crime – armed robbery, rape, and carjackings – is committed by young gang members known as “Raskols.” In 2004, Stephen Dupont infiltrated a Raskol community to document the individuals behind the facelessness of gang warfare. Building trust over several visits Dupont was able to set up a makeshift studio in which to photograph his subjects. The resulting portraits depict the “Kips Kaboni” or “Red Devils,” Papua New Guinea’s oldest Raskol group.

Here.

Ramin Rahimian, Digital Journalist:

Being a citizen and a journalist from the U.S. worked in my favor and against me. In a busy deli in downtown Caracas, close to the capitol – a heavily Chavista area – I was approached by a middle-aged man wearing the party’s traditional red T-shirt. He was belligerent and seemed drunk. He got in my face in this crowded deli and pulled at his shirt, telling me that I’m the devil and that this was his country. He was unrelenting. All I could do was agree with him, “Yes, I know, I’m the devil. I know.” Anything so that he would not knock me out.

Photographing, or should I say street shooting, in that neighborhood was very difficult for me. It is a Chávez stronghold. I had heard countless horror stories from other shooters of theft, knife attacks, and general harassment and distaste for foreign journalists. It was tough not to shoot; I felt like I missed out on showing the downtown environment in my own way.

Here.

NYT:

The most successful contractors are not necessarily those doing the best work, but those who have mastered the special skill of selling to Uncle Sam. The top 20 service contractors have spent nearly $300 million since 2000 on lobbying and have donated $23 million to political campaigns. “We’ve created huge behemoths that are doing 90 or 95 percent of their business with the government,” said Peter W. Singer, who wrote a book on military outsourcing. “They’re not really companies, they’re quasi agencies.” Indeed, the biggest federal contractor, Lockheed Martin, which has spent $53 million on lobbying and $6 million on donations since 2000, gets more federal money each year than the Departments of Justice or Energy.

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CJR:

The most shocking, and simultaneously compelling, aspect of the Baghdad dispatch in the New York Times this past Monday was its intimate close-up of one soldier’s death. It was impossible not to feel frustrated by the story of Hector Leija, an Army staff sergeant who was struck down by a sniper while on a sweep through the apartments of the once posh Haifa Street. He was killed by a single bullet that came in through a kitchen window. The drama that ensued of getting Leija to a medic and then retrieving his gear, still on the floor of the now lethal kitchen, was captured by the embedded Times reporter, Damien Cave, with all the narrative tautness of a Hemingway short story. A shaky video later posted on the Times Web site further captured the panic of the moment and the despair of men who had lost a beloved leader.

Here.

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