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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.

Libya Declares Liberation With An Islamic Tone
Mary Beth Sheridan, The Washington Post | Libya Declares Liberation With An Islamic Tone | October 24, 2011

Libya’s top leader declared the country officially “liberated” Sunday from the four-decade rule of Moammar Gaddafi, pledging to replace his dictatorship with a more democratic but also a more strictly Islamic system.

In a speech to a cheering, flag-waving crowd, Mustafa Abdel Ja­lil, head of the Transitional National Council, promised to ban interest on housing loans and scrap other laws that didn’t conform to Islamic jurisprudence...

You Say You Want a Revolution
Andrew Sullivan, The Daily Beast | You Say You Want a Revolution | October 24, 2011

A lot of us have to confess something about the Occupy Wall Street protests: we have a hippie problem. As a post-boomer, I’ve been trained to giggle at them my whole life. And anyone who has had to listen to an unsought diatribe about corporations in a line at Target, or has a friend who’s been trying to talk you into going to Burning Man for a decade, will know what I’m talking about. The crustier edges of the fringe can be as smug as they are alienating—from replacing applause in Zuccotti Park with silent finger-wiggling to the occasional, asinine assertion that the U.S. government is a greater evil than al Qaeda. I have to say I feel exactly the same ambivalence toward the Tea Partiers, with their strange 18th-century costumes, occasional racist diatribes, and gun-toting. Their cultural signifiers distract from their message—which is diffuse and vague enough to begin with. Before too long, I find myself inclined to move on, to zoom out.

And yet this time, the goddam hippies, as South Park's Eric Cartman famously calls them, have slowly drawn me back in...

Illegal Immigrant Attack on Mitt Romney Persists
Jim Vandehei and Mike Allen, Politico | Illegal Immigrant Attack on Mitt Romney Persists | October 21, 2011

It’s hard to dispute that Rick Perry’s he-hired-an-illegal-immigrant attack on Mitt Romney was a cheap shot. It’s even harder to dispute that it worked beautifully...

Libyan Leaders Appear to Differ Over Qaddafi Burial
Kareen Fahim and Rick Gladstone, The New York Times | Libyan Leaders Appear to Differ Over Qaddafi Burial | October 21, 2011

Euphoria in Libya over the death of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi was tempered on Friday by frictions and confusion over where and when to bury the former strongman, as well as a formal request by the United Nations for an inquiry into the final moments before his violent, messy demise while in the custody of the fighters who captured him...

U.S. Troops to Leave Iraq by Year's End, Obama Says

President Barack Obama said on Friday the United States will fulfill its pledge to pull troops out of Iraq by the end of the year...

Wall Street's Apple Panic
Dan Lyons, The Daily Beast | Wall Street's Apple Panic | October 19, 2011

Steve Jobs might have believed in some kind of afterlife—he was a Buddhist, after all. So if he’s out there somewhere, still watching, you have to imagine that he’s not in a particularly good mood today. Either that, or he’s just glad he got out right before the you-know-what hit the fan...

America's Atheist Warriors
Adam Weinstein, Mother Jones | America's Atheist Warriors | October 19, 2011

Like Pat Tillman before them, up to 40,000 US soldiers don't believe in God. Meet the man who would bring secular wisdom to their ranks...

California and Bust
Michael Lewis, Vanity Fair | California and Bust | October 19, 2011

The smart money says the U.S. economy will splinter, with some states thriving, some states not, and all eyes are on California as the nightmare scenario. After a hair-raising visit with former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who explains why the Golden State has cratered, Michael Lewis goes where the buck literally stops—the local level, where the likes of San Jose mayor Chuck Reed and Vallejo ?re chief Paige Meyer are trying to avert even worse catastrophes and rethink what it means to be a society...

Hamas Frees Israeli Soldier as Prisoner Swap Begins
Ethan Bronner and Stephen Farrell, The New York Times | Hamas Frees Israeli Soldier as Prisoner Swap Begins | October 18, 2011

In an elaborate prisoner exchange that could roil Middle East politics, an Israeli soldier held for more than five years by the militant Palestinian group Hamas was swapped on Tuesday for hundreds of Palestinians who have spent many years in Israeli jails, all them freed to jubilant welcomes tinged with bitterness and grief...

Kudzu Bug Threat to South's Soybean Crops
Allen G. Breed, Associated Press | Kudzu Bug Threat to South's Soybean Crops | October 18, 2011

Kudzu, the “plant that ate the South” has met a pest that eats it and is just as voracious. Trouble is, the so-called “kudzu bug” is also fond of another East Asian transplant that is big money for American farmers: soybeans...