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NYT on Mastadon:

This time the story line is land beasts. In the lyrics, one encounters a sasquatch with a Cyclops eye, called a Cysquatch. (You hear him on one track: it is Mr. Dailor, his voice distorted by a ring modulator.) A tribe of birch-tree men patrols a forest near the mountaintop. Blood-sucking flies are involved. Deep in the mountain is the Grail-like Crystal Skull, whose magical powers the traveler especially needs at the summit because there is an angry Ice God up there.

The story ideas, as well as the riffs, came together jointly: “Blood Mountain” is a strong record by a powerful band nearing an ideal of cohesion.

Here.

Wooster Collective:

“Little hand-painted people, left in London to fend for themselves.”

Here.

Washington Post:

Intelligence officials think that bin Laden is hiding in the northern reaches of the autonomous tribal region along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. This calculation is based largely on a lack of activity elsewhere and on other intelligence, including a videotape, obtained exclusively by the CIA and not previously reported, that shows bin Laden walking on a trail toward Pakistan at the end of the battle of Tora Bora in December 2001, when U.S. forces came close but failed to capture him.

Many factors have combined in the five years since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to make the pursuit more difficult. They include the lack of CIA access to people close to al-Qaeda’s inner circle; Pakistan’s unwillingness to pursue him; the reemergence of the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan; the strength of the Iraqi insurgency, which has depleted U.S. military and intelligence resources; and the U.S. government’s own disorganization.

Here.

Featuring the work of Jesse Lefkowitz, Paul blow, MAKESHFT, Guillaumit, Meredith Edlow, Travis Lampe, Matt Mallams, Jeff Marmorstone, Barto, and Corpicrudi.

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Washington Post:

Baghdad’s morgue almost tripled its count for violent deaths in Iraq’s capital during August from 550 to 1,536, authorities said Thursday, appearing to erase most of what U.S. generals and Iraqi leaders had touted as evidence of progress in a major security operation to restore order in the capital.

Separately, the Health Ministry confirmed Thursday that it planned to construct two new branch morgues in Baghdad and add doctors and refrigerator units to raise capacity to as many as 250 corpses a day.

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BBC, via Boing-Boing:

Banksy has replaced Hilton’s CD with his own remixes and given them titles such as Why am I Famous?, What Have I Done? and What Am I For?

He has also changed pictures of her on the CD sleeve to show the US socialite topless and with a dog’s head.

A spokeswoman for Banksy said he had doctored 500 copies of her debut album Paris in 48 record shops across the UK.

She told the BBC News website: “He switched the CDs in store, so he took the old ones out and put his version in.”

Here.

Photos (NSFW): Here.

Video: Here.

NYT:

I have experienced nearly all of these threats firsthand. In May 2004, a Canadian journalist and I were seized by insurgents inside Falluja. I was able to convince our captors that the Canadian, who spoke no Arabic, was not a Westerner but my older brother, and that he had suffered a stroke that left him unable to speak.

A month later, National Public Radio sent me to Najaf to report on a protest against the fighting between the Americans and the Mahdi Army. Iraqi police officers handcuffed me, beat me and dragged me into the main government building. The governor’s deputy released me on the condition that I not take Mr. Sadr’s side in my reporting.

The Mahdi Army then arrested me that September, in the Sadr City slum of northeastern Baghdad. I had been reporting from the hospital, where I was interviewing injured civilians. The militia men took me to a mosque, where a very young sheik questioned me. I lied about my employer, which was still National Public Radio, saying instead that I worked for a German station. He told me that I had better not be a spy, or else. My identity papers were copied and returned to me.

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International Crisis Group:

Eight actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated in August 2006, according to the new issue of CrisisWatch,* released today. Sri Lanka saw full-scale military clashes in eastern and northern regions kill hundreds and displace some 200,000. Sudan’s Darfur region continued its slide, with the government launching a new offensive and the World Food Programme estimating that 500,000 people are now cut off from emergency food aid. After security forces killed a key Balochistan leader, Pakistan experienced violent protests and province-wide strikes. International tensions over nuclear programs in both Iran and North Korea worsened. The situation also deteriorated in Burundi, Kuril Islands/Northern Territories (Russia/Japan) and the Taiwan Strait.

Four conflict situations showed improvement in August 2006. Following 34 days of war between Israel and Hizbollah, a UN-brokered ceasefire commenced on 14 August. In Uganda, the government and rebel Lord’s Resistance Army signed a truce, though significant barriers to peace remain. The situation also improved in Angola and Togo.

For September 2006, CrisisWatch identifies Democratic Republic of Congo, Lebanon, Pakistan, Somalia and Sudan as Conflict Risk Alerts, or situations at particular risk of new or significantly escalated conflict in the coming month. A Conflict Resolution Opportunity has been identified for Uganda.

Here.

NYT:

This spring and summer, the slow and methodical siege of this southern provincial capital intensified. The Taliban and their allies set up road checkpoints, burned 20 trucks and slowed the flow of supplies to reconstruction projects. All told, in surrounding Helmand Province, five teachers, one judge and scores of police officers have been killed. Dozens of schools and courts have been shuttered, according to Afghan officials.

“Our government is weak,” said Fowzea Olomi, a local women’s rights advocate whose driver was shot dead in May and who fears she is next. “Anarchy has come.”

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NYT:

IF P. T. Barnum had hired Breughel or Bosch to paint sideshow banners, they might have resembled the art of Joe Coleman. Obsessively depicting a grim moral universe of transgression and retribution, Mr. Coleman paints grotesque images of murderers and victims, freaks and monsters, disease, depravity and perversities of every kind.

In his painstakingly detailed paintings, Charles Manson leers, JonBenet Ramsey pouts, pinheads dance, drunkards lie with poxied whores, and corpses display their wounds like obscene stigmata. Drug addicts loll in ruined cityscapes under boiling H-bomb skies, 1930’s gangsters grin on their way to the gallows, and Mr. Coleman and his wife, Whitney Ward, reign over the apocalypse, enthroned on the head of a giant Satan. In a startlingly prophetic vision of his from 2000, the twin towers burn.
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I’ve been in Vegas photographing Warren Jeffs and my Powerbook is in the shop. I’ll post something about photographing Jeffs once I get a minute or two.

SL Trib:

Items in the vehicle when Jeffs was captured included: 27 stacks of $100 bills, worth $2,500 each; 14 cellular phones; a radar detector, two Global Positioning System units; two female wigs, one blonde and one brunette; several knives; several CDs; three watches; three Ipods; multiple credit cards; seven sets of keys; a photograph of Jeffs and his father; a Bible and a Book of Mormon.
The items were seen on pool video footage created with official permission.

Here.

  • Misc

KSL:

FLDS prophet Warren Steed Jeffs, 50, was taken into custody after he and two other people were pulled over late Monday by a Nevada Highway Patrol trooper on Interstate 15 just north of Las Vegas, FBI spokesman David Staretz said.

Here.

  • Misc

NYT:

But the case has since taken a surprising turn, even by the bizarre standards of violence, organized crime and police brutality that have accompanied Chechnya’s lingering war. It turns out Elina Ersenoyeva, 26, led two lives.

In addition to her public positions, she was a secret bride of Shamil Basayev, the one-footed Chechen terrorist leader and Russia’s most wanted man, who died in an explosion on July 11.

Ms. Ersenoyeva’s mother said her daughter had not voluntarily married Mr. Basayev, who remained unapologetic and defiant after sending female suicide bombers to Moscow and onto passenger jets, and who had planned the lethal hostage sieges in a Russian theater and a public school. She agreed to marry him, her mother said, only because the separatists had threatened to kill her two brothers if she did not do as they said.

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Washington Post:

A crowd of as many as 5,000 people, including hundreds armed with AK-47 assault rifles, attacked Camp Abu Naji and hauled away window and door frames, corrugated roofing and metal pipes, despite the presence of a 450-member Iraqi army brigade meant to guard the base.

“The looters stole everything — even the bricks,” said Ahmed Mohammed Abdul Latief, 20, a student at Maysan University. “They almost leveled the whole base to the ground.”

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Wooster:

Made with 323 Rubiks cubes. Lovely.

Here.

Wired:

Regardless of the threat, from the would-be bombers’ perspective, the explosives and planes were merely tactics. Their goal was to cause terror, and in that they’ve succeeded.

Imagine for a moment what would have happened if they had blown up 10 planes. There would be canceled flights, chaos at airports, bans on carry-on luggage, world leaders talking tough new security measures, political posturing and all sorts of false alarms as jittery people panicked. To a lesser degree, that’s basically what’s happening right now.

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NYT:

In Capcom’s action game Dead Rising, almost everything is a weapon, including mall benches, mannequin arms, stuffed animals and wire hangers. Not that beating a zombie with a stuffed animal is very effective, but you can do it.

The game begins as Frank West, a photojournalist, arrives by helicopter in a small town that has been sealed off by the National Guard. The game begins, not with killing zombies, but with photographing them; one can unlock new skills through points awarded for photos of zombie hordes, imperiled humans or the cleavage of scantily clad female zombies.

Here.

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