Daily Briefing

Deep buzz for the content-deprived

Every weekday, while you get showered and dressed, we pluck these dewy- fresh, breaking stories from the info-clogged byways of the datasphere. Pour yourself a cup of coffee and stoke up on everything you need to know, or at least enough to fake it.

The Doors Never Sold Out To Crass Commercialism
John Densmore, The Daily Beast | The Doors Never Sold Out To Crass Commercialism | October 2, 2013

At the risk of sounding grandiose, I will say that, to me, rock ’n’ roll is sacred. It started out mid-twentieth century, and when dirt-poor Elvis bought his first Cadillac, that was his way of “blinging” the uptight ’50s. Sixty years later, I said no to Cadillac, by vetoing the idea of a Doors song becoming the soundtrack to encourage folks to buy cruise mobiles. For all those years a tradition has been building. A tradition built on the idea that this music means something. And if compromised, its power could be lessened. We need to keep the flame burning, burning through hypocrisy, seeking truth...

Ancient City Of Idu Discovered Beneath Mound In Iraq
Owen Jarus, The Huffington Post | Ancient City Of Idu Discovered Beneath Mound In Iraq | October 1, 2013

In the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq archaeologists have discovered an ancient city called Idu, hidden beneath a mound.


Cuneiform inscriptions and works of art reveal the palaces that flourished in the city throughout its history thousands of years ago.


Located in a valley on the northern bank of the lower Zab River, the city's remains are now part of a mound created by human occupation called a tell, which rises about 32 feet (10 meters) above the surrounding plain. The earliest remains date back to Neolithic times, when farming first appeared in the Middle East, and a modern-day village called Satu Qala now lies on top of the tell.

The city thrived between 3,300 and 2,900 years ago...

WWII Vets Appear To Push Past Gates, Storm Shut-Down Memorial In D.C.
Geoffrey Ingersoll, Business Insider | WWII Vets Appear To Push Past Gates, Storm Shut-Down Memorial In D.C. | October 1, 2013

A massive group of World War II veterans arrived in D.C. today to an ill-timed government shutdown expecting to still be let in to tour their memorial.

People on the scene reported that the vets "pushed down" gates surrounding the memorial. Further reports say that authorities gave in and opened the memorial, while the official word from park police was that they were "seeking guidance on how to respond."

Meanwhile, the storming vets had a soundtrack...

Seymour Hersh On Obama, NSA And The 'Pathetic' American Media
Lisa O'Carroll, The Guardian | Seymour Hersh On Obama, NSA And The 'Pathetic' American Media | September 28, 2013

Seymour Hersh has got some extreme ideas on how to fix journalism – close down the news bureaus of NBC and ABC, sack 90% of editors in publishing and get back to the fundamental job of journalists which, he says, is to be an outsider.

It doesn't take much to fire up Hersh, the investigative journalist who has been the nemesis of US presidents since the 1960s and who was once described by the Republican party as "the closest thing American journalism has to a terrorist...

New Rule: Conservatives Who Love To Brag About American Exceptionalism Must Come Here To California

New Rule: Conservatives who love to brag about American exceptionalism must come here to California, and see it in person. And then they should be afraid -- very afraid. Because while the rest of the country is beset by stories of right-wing takeovers in places like North Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin, California is going in the opposite direction and creating the kind of modern, liberal nation the country as a whole can only dream about. And not only can't the rest of the country stop us -- we're going to drag you along with us.

It wasn't that long ago that pundits were calling California a failed state and saying it was ungovernable. But in 2010, when other states were busy electing whatever Tea Partier claimed to hate government the most, we elected a guy who actually liked it, Jerry Brown.

ince then, everything Republicans say can't or won't work -- gun control, immigration reform, high-speed rail -- California is making work. And everything conservatives claim will unravel the fabric of our society -- universal healthcare, higher taxes on the rich, gay marriage, medical marijuana -- has only made California stronger. And all we had to do to accomplish that was vote out every single Republican...

Sorting Fact From Fiction On Health Care
Jerome Groopman and Pamela Hartzband, The Wall Street Journal | Sorting Fact From Fiction On Health Care | September 27, 2013

In recent town-hall meetings, President Barack Obama has called for a national debate on health-care reform based on facts. It is fact that more than 40 million Americans lack coverage and spiraling costs are a burden on individuals, families and our economy. There is broad consensus that these problems must be addressed. But the public is skeptical that their current clinical care is substandard and that no government bureaucrat will come between them and their doctor. Americans have good reason for their doubts—key assertions about gaps in care are flawed and reform proposals to oversee care could sharply shift decisions away from patients and their physicians.

Consider these myths and mantras of the current debate...

Argh! Pirate Booty Found From 1717 Shipwreck
Associated Press | Argh! Pirate Booty Found From 1717 Shipwreck | September 27, 2013

This road runs along Cape Cod's shifting seafloor, and undersea explorer Barry Clifford believes it leads to undiscovered treasure from the wreck of the pirate ship Whydah. About two weeks ago, Clifford and his dive team took a trip back to the wreck site, and Clifford returned more convinced than ever that the road he's exploring is a path to riches.


"We think we're very, very close," he said.


The Whydah sank in a brutal storm in 1717 with plunder from 50 ships on board. Clifford discovered the wreck site in 1984 off Wellfleet and has since pulled up 200,000 artifacts, including gold ornaments, sword handles, even a boy's leg. But just this year, Clifford learned far more treasure may be resting with the Whydah, the only authenticated pirate shipwreck in U.S. waters. Colonial-era documents discovered in April indicated the Whydah raided two vessels in the weeks before it sank. Its haul on those raids included 400,000 coins, the records said...

Ted Cruz's Fake Fight Against Obamcare Is Making Millions
Patricia Murphy, The Daily Beast | Ted Cruz's Fake Fight Against Obamcare Is Making Millions | September 25, 2013

When Sen. Ted Cruz went to the Senate floor Tuesday to block a bill that would fund the federal government for the next two months, he said to the C-SPAN cameras, "We don't need fake fights.  We don't need fake votes.  What we need is real change." 

But at that moment, Cruz was leading a fake fight over a fake vote that nearly all in Washington agree would never actually defund Obamacare the way Cruz said it would. 

As for the “real change” Ted Cruz said he was looking for, that change has arrived in Washington, and the change is Ted Cruz himself.  Almost single-handedly, the freshman Tea Party apostle has upended the clubby U.S. Senate, roiled the tradition-bound GOP, and revolutionized the business of power in the nation’s capital, all thanks to the health-care bill that Cruz, former senator Jim DeMint, and a small army of conservative operatives have essentially made a living out of hating...

A Holographic Big Bang
Matthew R. Francis, Slate | A Holographic Big Bang | September 25, 2013

Did the universe begin with a black hole in a higher-dimensional reality?

Depending on your level of cynicism, that question sounds like either an exciting idea or something you might hear from the stoner in your social circle. The reality: It's a bit of interesting but speculative science from physicists attempting to solve a somewhat obscure problem in cosmology. Despite media coverage in Nature (later picked up by PBS and io9), the paper describing the research is unpublished and doesn't correspond to existing observations. It's still an interesting idea—one that can help us understand the study of our universe...

It's Hip To Be Hip, Too
Luke O'Neil, Slate | It's Hip To Be Hip, Too | September 24, 2013

Those of us in our 30s and younger have come of age during a time of incessant media-based self-reflection. Not of the meaningful, “Where do I fit into the universe?” kind that might've passed for existential maturation in a more philosophical era, but of a more superficial stripe. “What is my personal brand?” we ask ourselves. It's something that was a lot easier to answer in the past, when there were only so many to choose from, and when a career or class did most of the heavy lifting for you. Today the perpetually splintering brackets of contemporary demographic specificity engender an eternal anxiety of self, one in which we're meant to renew our vows of identity with regularity. And the choices are many. Identifying as bros, or tech nerds, foodies, gamers, health-conscious types, fashionistas, politicos, or the sports-obsessed are all viable branding options. There's just one type that we're not supposed to assume for ourselves, which is strange, because we're all obsessed with it: the hipster...