Afternoon Miscellany

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–Nearly 10 years in, the war in Afghanistan may have hit its nadir, at least by one crucial measure: June was the deadliest month yet for coalition forces in Afghanistan. 59 of the 102 casualties were U.S. servicemen. Over to you, Gen. Petraeus.

–By some estimates, the BP oil spill is now the largest ever in the Gulf of Mexico, surpassing the Ixtoc I disaster of 1979.

NPR has a piece about the claims director who has become the face of the company’s p.r. campaign.

–Undeterred by the flagging advertising and atomized audiences that have vexed the publishing industry, an al-Qaeda outfit has launched a new English-language magazine called Inspire. The inaugural issue–replete with editor’s note, an inspirational missive from radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and service pieces on “What to Expect in Jihad” and how to “Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom”–carries a whiff of satire. U.S. counterterrorism officials seem convinced of its authenticity; others aren’t so sure.

–Reductive title aside, the New York Times Magazine‘s new profile of Lindsey Graham is a great read.

-There’s never a dull moment in the Blagojevich trial. A day after the defense made three separate motions for a mistrial, we learn that despite Gov. Goodhair’s money woes, the family spent more than $400,000 on clothes in the years leading up to his arrest. You can follow the proceedings on the Sun-Times’ Blago Blog.

–Don’t be fooled by Goodluck Jonathan’s sunny name. The Nigerian president has given the Super Eagles a two-year timeout from international competition after their first-round exit from the World Cup. Imagine if he were president of France.