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.

Report: 90 Percent Of Americans To Face Higher Taxes If Congress Doesn't Act On Fiscal Cliff

Nearly 90 percent of Americans would face higher taxes next year if Congress permits the nation to hurtle over the “fiscal cliff,” the year-end precipice of tax hikes and spending cuts that threatens to throw the nation back into recession.

A study published Monday by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center finds that taxes would go up by a collective $536 billion next year, or about $3,500 per household, reducing after-tax income by about 6.2 percent...

The Legacy Of Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Publisher And CEO Of The New York Times
Howard Kurtz, The Daily Beast | The Legacy Of Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Publisher And CEO Of The New York Times | September 29, 2012

It is probably not much of an overstatement to say that Arthur Ochs Sulzberger saved The New York Times.

Sulzberger, who died Saturday at 86, was a behind-the-scenes eminence who quietly guided the nation’s premiere newspaper through a turbulent period. He was a throwback to an earlier era, when men—they were almost always men—treated a newspaper as a public trust (which is, of course, easier to do when your family controls the voting stock)...

Gospel Brunch Becomes A Sunday Staple In D.C.
Chris Richards, The Washington Post | Gospel Brunch Becomes A Staple In D.C. | September 29, 2012

If you want some God with your grits, plan to show up around 9 a.m.

That’s when the line starts forming for the first of two gospel brunches held each Sunday at the Hamilton, a nightclub that opened in December in the shell of a shuttered Borders bookstore on 14th and F streets NW.

Queues used to wrap around this corner in the name of Harry Potter. Now, the Sunday morning scrum includes churchgoers, church skippers, extended families and hung-over tourists, all eager to hear a choir deliver the good news while the assembled deliver waffles to their bellies...

Arctic Sea Ice Settles At Record Seasonal Minimum
National Snow & Ice Data Center | Arctic Sea Ice Extenet Settles At Record Seasonal Minimum | September 29, 2012

On September 16, Arctic sea ice appeared to have reached its minimum extent for the year of 3.41 million square kilometers (1.32 million square miles). This is the lowest seasonal minimum extent in the satellite record since 1979 and reinforces the long-term downward trend in Arctic ice extent. The sea ice extent will now begin its seasonal increase through autumn and winter...Please note that this is a preliminary announcement...

Spies Like Us: We're All Big Brother Now
Cord Jefferson, Gizmodo | Spies Like Us: We're All Big Brother Now | September 27, 2012

Mitt Romney's presidential campaign took a tumble last week with the release of a hidden-camera video recorded at a fundraiser in Florida. In it, Romney dismisses nearly half the country in a set of statements some pundits are calling the worst things a modern presidential candidate has ever said.

The words—boneheaded, indiscreet, and un-presidential—might not have been such a huge a problem if not for a saboteur recording what the candidate said. As our gadgets shrink in size and expand in capability, the opportunity to shoot amateur video is becoming as ubiquitous as the devices themselves. Welcome to the future, where an average $200 smartphone can derail a billion-dollar presidential campaign...

From Video To Terrorist Attack: A Definitive Timeline Of Administration Statements On The Libya Attack

In any kind of confused overseas event, initial reports are often wrong. But the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, in which four Americans were killed, including the ambassador, is a case study of how an administration can carefully keep the focus as long as possible on one storyline — and then turn on a dime when it is no longer tenable...

Guilford Native Gets Second Chance At MLB
LeAnne Gendreau, NBC Connecticut | Guildford Native Gets Second Chance At MLB | September 27, 2012

Adam Greenberg’s major league baseball dream came true on July 9, 2005 and ended moments later when he was hit in the head by a 92-per-mile per hour pitch.

But after a nationwide push, the 31-year-old Guilford native is getting one more chance. It will be with the Miami Marlins, the team he was batting against when he was hit. The team was then the Florida Marlins.

Greenberg, who now lives in Branford, spoke exclusively with the Today Show on Thursday and has been offered a one-day contract to play for the Marlins on Tuesday, Oct. 2 against the New York Mets...

Scientists Create New Element
Clara Moskowitz, CBS News | Scientists Create New Element | September 26, 2012

Scientists in Japan think they've finally created the elusive element 113, one of the missing items on the periodic table of elements.

Element 113 is an atom with 113 protons in its nucleus -- a type of matter that must be created inside a laboratory because it is not found naturally on Earth. Heavier and heavier synthetic elements have been created over the years, with the most massive one being element 118, temporarily named ununoctium.

But element 113 has been stubbornly hard to create...

When You Hear 'Taliban,' Do You Think 'Poetry' ?
Al Kamen, The Washington Post | When You Hear 'Taliban,' Do You Think 'Poetry' ? | September 25, 2012

A book that shouldn’t be missed! It’s “Poetry of the Taliban,” a slim volume hailed by scholars and diplomats as “an essential work” for anyone who wants a better understanding of what makes the Taliban tick.

The book, compiled by writers and researchers Alex Strick van Linschoten and Felix Kuehn and recently published by Columbia University Press, purports to show another side of the infamous bearded beheaders.

The collection “goes beyond humanizing the Taliban toward understanding them,” says a jacket blurb by Harvard’s Michael Semple , a former deputy European Union representative in Afghanistan.

“Anyone claiming to be an Afghan expert should read this book before giving their next opinion,” writes novelist Mohammed Hanif , author of “A Case of Exploding Mangoes.”...

Worldwide Pork Shortage Predicted
British National Pig Association | Worldwide Pork Shortage Predicted | September 25, 2012

A world shortage of pork and bacon next year is now unavoidable, says Britain's National Pig Association. But British supermarkets can protect consumers from shortages and steep price rises if they pay Britain's loss-making pig farmers a fair price, to help them remain in production.

New data shows the European Union pig herd is declining at a significant rate, and this is a trend that is being mirrored around the world. Pig farmers have been plunged into loss by high pig-feed costs, caused by the global failure of maize and soya harvests...