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.

Inside The Campaign: How Mitt Romney Stumbled
Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei, Politico | Inside The Campaign: How Mitt Stumbled | September 16, 2012

Stuart Stevens, Mitt Romney’s top strategist, knew his candidate’s convention speech needed a memorable mix of loft and grace if he was going to bound out of Tampa with an authentic chance to win the presidency. So Stevens, bypassing the speechwriting staff at the campaign’s Boston headquarters, assigned the sensitive task of drafting it to Peter Wehner, a veteran of the last three Republican White Houses and one of the party’s smarter wordsmiths.

Not a word Wehner wrote was ever spoken...

Obama's Way
Michael Lewis, Vanity Fair | Obama's Way | September 14, 2012

To understand how air-force navigator Tyler Stark ended up in a thornbush in the Libyan desert in March 2011, one must understand what it’s like to be president of the United States—and this president in particular. Hanging around Barack Obama for six months, in the White House, aboard Air Force One, and on the basketball court, Michael Lewis learns the reality of the Nobel Peace Prize winner who sent Stark into combat...

Backlash Swells Against Voter Laws
Eliza Shapiro, The Daily Beast | Backlash Swells Against Voter Laws | September 14, 2012

The left has attacked voter ID laws and other restrictive legislation as a tool to suppress the votes of minorities and poor people. Suddenly, it seems they're winning...

Beating The Fact-Checkers
David Corn, Mother Jones | Beating The Fact-Checkers | September 14, 2012

...A politician mangling the truth is hardly news. Yet what was notable about this moment was that the candidate felt no compunction about appearing before more than 1,500 journalists and repeating whoppers that their own colleagues had so roundly debunked. Nor was Romney challenged about any of these untruths when it came time to ask questions. He was able to peddle a string of officially determined falsehoods before a crowd of newspaper editors—repeat: a crowd of newspaper editors—and face absolutely no consequences. The uncomfortable question for the press: With the news cycle overwhelmed by the headline-of-the-nanosecond, and with politicians ignoring or openly challenging the truth cops, how much does the much-heralded political fact-checking industry really matter?...

To The Bat Cave! U.S. Conservationists Hope Bunker Can Halt Deadly Fungus
Suzanne Goldberg, The Guardian | To The Bat Cave! U.S. Conservationists Hope Bunker Can Halt Deadly Fungus | September 14, 2012

White-nose syndrome has killed millions of North American bats. Now an artificial cave built for their hibernation may save them...

What Was Really Behind The Benghazi Attack?
Hisham Matar, The New Yorker | What Was Really Behind The Benghazi Attack? | September 13, 2012

Were the attacks on the United States Consulate in Benghazi, which killed the American Ambassador and three other diplomats, motivated by the film that the assailants, and many news networks, claim was their motive? Was it really religious outrage that made a few young men lose their heads and commit murder? Have any of the men who attacked the consulate actually seen the film? I do not know one Libyan who has, despite being in close contact with friends and relatives in Benghazi. And the attack was not preceded by vocal outrage toward the film. Libyan Internet sites and Facebook pages were not suddenly busy with chatter about it...

GoDaddy's Service Disruption: How Anonymous Hacked The Media
Cole Stryker, The Daily Beast | GoDaddy's Service Disruption: How Anonymous Hacked The Media | September 13, 2012

Twitter user Own3r's claim that he'd hacked GoDaddy turned out to be false, but the media's jumping on the story shows how little they understand Anonymnous -- and how they value speed over accuracy...

Mexican Drug Boss El Coss Captured By Authorities
The Guardian | Mexican Drug Boss El Coss Captured By Authorities | September 13, 2012

The Mexican navy says it has captured one of Mexico's most wanted drug bosses, the head of the Gulf cartel, in what would mark a major victory in President Felipe Calderón's crackdown on organised crime.

The capture of Jorge Costilla, alias El Coss, is a boost for the military battle against drug trafficking, but it could open a power vacuum and intensify a struggle south of the Texas border in north-east Mexico, a region that has seen some of the most horrific violence in the country's six-year war among law-enforcement and rival gangs...

What We Know About The Obscure Film That Sparked The Deadly Riots In Libya

...Not a whole lot more is known about his film, Innocence of Muslims, which appears to have been screened only once, to a near empty theater in Hollywood earlier this year. Judging by the 13-minute trailer posted to YouTube in July, the film is supposed to be a "satirical" portrayal of the life of Muhammad. In addition to its criminally low production values, the film also takes care to portray Muhammad as a pedophile-appeasing, bumbling spreader of false doctrine. The offensive Muhammad narrative is interspersed with scenes of bearded men in generic Middle Eastern streets raiding missionary hospitals and threatening and killing young Christian women...

Where Cows Are Happy And Food Is Healthy
Nicholas D. Kristof, The New York Times Op Ed | Where Cows Are Happy And Food Is Healthy | September 12, 2012

Food can be depressing. If it’s tasty, it’s carcinogenic. If it’s cheap, animals were tortured.

But this, miraculously, is a happy column about food! It’s about a farmer who names all his 230 milk cows, along with his 200 heifers and calves, and loves them like children.

Let me introduce Bob Bansen, a high school buddy of mine who is a third-generation dairyman raising Jersey cows on lovely green pastures here in Oregon beside the Yamhill River...