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.

Gibson Guitar Wails on Federal Raid Over Wood
James R. Hagerty and Kris Maher, The Wall Street Journal | Gibson Guitar Wails on Federal Raid Over Wood | September 2, 2011

Gibson Guitar Corp., a big user of ebony and other scarce woods, for years has allied itself with Greenpeace and other environmental groups to show it was serious about preserving forests.

That didn't stop the Nashville-based company, whose guitars are used by such musicians as B.B. King and Angus Young of AC/DC, from running afoul of U.S. authorities over allegedly illegal imports of wood. Though no charges have been filed, Gibson factories have been raided twice, most recently last week, by federal agents who say ebony exported from India to Gibson was "fraudulently" labeled to conceal a contravention of Indian export law...

NATO Keeps War Footing in LIbya Until Gaddafi Regime Smashed
Julian Borger, The Guardian | NATO Keeps War Footing in Libya Until Gaddafi Regime Smashed | September 1, 2011


Nato will remain on a war footing in the skies over Libya until the last remnants of the Gaddafi regime have been defeated, European diplomats have said.

World leaders are converging on Paris on Thursday for a Friends of Libya summit intended to acclaim the National Transitional Council (NTC) as the country's new interim government, and mark a pivot point in the international community's efforts in Libya from war to reconstruction...

End of House Page Program is Bittersweet for Some Lawmakers
Felicia Sonmez, The Washington Post | End of House Page Proram is Bittersweet for Some Lawmakers | September 1, 2011

A rare example of bipartisan agreement over cost-cutting is about to leave many members of Congress with a conundrum: Who will fill their water glasses, raise flags over the Capitol building and ring the bells that notify them that it’s time to vote?...

German Officials Alarmed by Ex-Rapper's New Message: Jihad
Souad Mekhennet, The New York Times | German Officials Alarmed by Ex-Rapper's New Message: Jihad | September 1, 2011

The man German security officials call a major security risk looks like a figure from a rap video, especially with the tattoos on his hands. The right one says “STR8,” and the left one “Thug.”

“This is from the days when I lived the life of an unbeliever,” said the man, Denis Mamadou Cuspert, as he clenched his fists and looked at the tattoos. “Allah will erase them from me one day.”...

Tripoli Divided as Rebels Jostle to Fill Power Vacuum
David D. Kirkpatrick and Rod Nordland, The New York Times | Tripoli Divided as Rebels Jostle to Fill Power Vacuum | August 31, 2011

A week after rebels broke into Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s former stronghold, much of its territory remains divided into fiefs, each controlled by quasi-independent brigades representing different geographic areas of the country. And the spray paint they use to mark their territory tells the story of a looming leadership crisis in the capital, Tripoli...

Rick Perry's God
Christopher Hitchens, Slate | Rick Perry's God | August 31, 2011

Perry has begun to show signs of starting a religious auction on the right, with himself as the highest bidder...

Meet the Glamorous Celebrity Tutors of Hong Kong
Hillary Brenhouse, Slate | Meet the Glamorous Celebrity Tutors of Hong Kong | August 31, 2011

It's a Saturday evening, and 45 teenagers have gathered here to watch Richard Eng perform. Some days he'll play to three or four times as many kids, his high cheekbones and bright teeth projected on flat-screen TVs. Tonight, the bangs that sweep in a copper-streaked diagonal across his forehead are frozen in place with what looks to be a copious amount of hair spray...

The History of the World in Two Minutes or Less
Linda Yablonsky, The New YorK Times | The History of the World in Two Minutes or Less | August 30, 2011

For the artist Marco Brambilla, any debate over the origins of life is wasted breath. God didn’t create humankind, nor did it evolve by Darwinian means. Hollywood made it happen. And, in typical Hollywood style, Brambilla is remaking it — in 3-D. He’s also cut the story of human history down to about 90 seconds...

How Hard Is It To Get a Cartoon Into The New Yorker?
James Sturm, Slate | How Hard Is It To Get a Cartoon into The New Yorker? | August 30, 2011

It was a Tuesday in July and I was sitting in the "cartoonist lounge" on the 20th floor of the Condé Nast building in Times Square with an envelope containing 10 drawings: my first cartoon submissions to The New Yorker. Every Tuesday is judgment day, the day Robert Mankoff, the magazine's cartoon editor, meets with cartoonists face to face...

Dick Cheney's Memoir: How to Think (and Satirize) Like a Cartoonist
Michael Cavna, The Washington Post | Dick Cheney's Memoir: How to think (and satirize) like a cartoonist | August 30, 2011

It’s no wonder that when taking on the former vice president’s memoir, the critical cartoonist is likely to exploit one of the few most ready Cheney associations that the general public holds, rightly or wrongly...