Daily_briefing_toon

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.

Ads by Christian Groups Pressure Lawmakers to Protect the Poor in Debt Talks
Peter Wallsten, The Washington Post | Ads by Christian Groups Pressure Lawmakers to Protect the Poor in Debt Talks | July 27, 2011

A new coalition of influential Christian groups is ramping up pressure on President Obama and Congress to shield the poor from spending cuts in the debt-limit struggle, with one organization launching an advertising campaign Tuesday on Christian radio stations in politically important markets...

Billionaires' Rise Aids India, and the Favor Is Returned
Jim Yardley and Vikas Bajaj, The New York Times | Billionaires' Rise Aids India, and the Favor Is Returned | July 27, 2011

On a recent wind-whipped morning, a steel-hulled behemoth arrived at a desolate stretch of India’s western coast groaning with enough coal to power a city of one million people for more than two weeks. The ship, the Vanshi, was carrying coal from Indonesia, a two-week trip across the Indian Ocean. India has its own abundant reserves of coal, which raises a question: Why did India need to go so far to get something it already had?...

McDonald's Revamps Happy Meal To Include Fruit
Christina Gossman, Slate | McDonald's Revamps Happy Meal To Include Fruit | July 26, 2011

For the past 30 years, kids have been ripping into their Happy Meal boxes with glee. Starting this September, they will find some changes...

President Obama, House Speaker Boehner Present Dueling Debt-Limit Plans to Nation
Paul Kane and Lori Montgomery, The Washington Post | President Obama, House Speaker Boehner Present Dueling Debt-Limit Plans to Nation | July 26, 2011

President Obama and House Speaker John A. Boehner escalated their battle over the national debt on Monday, pressing their arguments in a pair of prime-time television addresses as Congress remained at a loss over how to keep the United States from defaulting next week for the first time...

Debt Drama Blocks Out Big Picture on Credit
Andrew Ross Sorkin, The New York Times | Debt Drama Blocks Out Big Picture on Credit | July 26, 2011

As Washington continues to debate a debt deal, the Obama administration has been preparing the country for the worst, with officials essentially saying the sky is about to fall.

But so far, oddly enough, nothing has happened. Despite warnings that a deal would need to be brokered by Sunday night before the Asian markets opened, stocks merely stumbled on Monday — the type of weakness usually associated with soft corporate earnings instead of an economic apocalypse...

Terror, Counter-Terror, and Insurgency in Harry Potter, or Why Harry Won
Dan Nexon, The Duck of Minerva | Terror, Counter-Terror, and Insurgency in Harry Potter, or Why Harry Won | July 25, 2011

In the waning days of classes, one of my colleagues asked a student if she’d been among those celebrating outside of the White House the night that President Obama announced the killing of Osama Bin-Laden. “Of course,” she responded, “I mean, they got Voldemort!”...

After Long Wait, Gay Couples Marry in New York
Thomas Kaplan, The New York Times | After Long Wait, Gay Couples Marry in New York | July 24, 2011

Hundreds of gay and lesbian couples across New York State began marrying on Sunday — the first taking their vows just after midnight — in the culmination of a long battle in the Legislature and a new milestone for gay rights advocates seeking to legalize same-sex marriage across the nation...

A Quandary for U.S. Companies: Who to Bribe?
David S. Hilzenrath, The Wall Street Journal | A Quandary for U.S. Companies: Who to Bribe? | July 24, 2011

American companies doing business abroad have a problem: They don’t know who to bribe.

Federal law prohibits the bribery of some people but not others. And the business world argues that the rules of the road are not clear. One guy’s bribe, as it turns out, is another guy’s cost of doing business...

A History of Air Conditioning
Will Oremus, Slate | A History of Air Conditioning | July 24, 2011

Anyone tempted to yearn for a simpler time must reckon with a few undeniable unpleasantries of life before modern technology: abscessed teeth, chamber pots, the bubonic plague—and a lack of air conditioning in late July. As temperatures rise into the triple digits across the eastern United States, it's worth remembering how we arrived at the climate-controlled summer environments we have today...

Race to the Moon Heats Up for Private Firms
Kenneth Chang, The New York Times | Race to the Moon Heats Up for Private Firms | July 21, 2011

Now that the last space shuttle has landed back on Earth, a new generation of space entrepreneurs would like to whip up excitement about the prospect of returning to the Moon. Spurred by a $30 million purse put up by Google, 29 teams have signed up for a competition to become the first private venture to land on the Moon...