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.

In Conversation: Antonin Scalia
Jennifer Senior, New York Magazine | In Conversation: Antonin Scalia | October 7, 2013

On September 26—a day that just happened to be the 27th anniversary of his swearing-in as associate justice—Antonin Scalia entered the Supreme Court’s enormous East Conference Room so casually that one might easily have missed him. He is smaller than his king-size persona suggests, and his manner more puckish than formal. Washingtonians may know Scalia as charming and disarming, but most outsiders tend to regard him as either a demigod on stilts or a menace to democracy, depending on which side of the aisle they sit...

Leave No Man Behind!
David Weigel, Slate | Leave No Man Behind! | October 4, 2013

Eugene Morgan is a veteran of World War II, a Marine, age 96—and for 20-odd minutes, he’s the most photographed man in downtown Washington. Morgan’s misfortune was to arrive in the city on the second day of the 2013 government shutdown. His trip, organized by his 50-year-old son Jeff, couldn’t really be rescheduled. So father and son showed up around 10 a.m. to visit the World War II Memorial.

They ran smack into a delegation from Congress. Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and Texas Rep. John Carter were at the monument site, talking to Honor Flight’s Jeff Miller about a minor act of civil disobedience. Since 2007, Honor Flight has organized free Washington trips for veterans who want to see the memorial before passing into the great unknown...

Why Are There Still So Few Women In Science?
Eileen Pollack, The New York Times Magazine | Why Are There Still So Few Women In Science? | October 3, 2013

Last summer, researchers at Yale published a study proving that physicists, chemists and biologists are likely to view a young male scientist more favorably than a woman with the same qualifications. Presented with identical summaries of the accomplishments of two imaginary applicants, professors at six major research institutions were significantly more willing to offer the man a job. If they did hire the woman, they set her salary, on average, nearly $4,000 lower than the man’s. Surprisingly, female scientists were as biased as their male counterparts.

The new study goes a long way toward providing hard evidence of a continuing bias against women in the sciences...

Iraqi, and Afghan, Translators Deserve The Visas They Were Promised
Editorial Board, The Washington Post | Iraqi, and Afghan, Translators Deserve The Visas They Were Promised | October 3, 2013

In December 2005, when the war in Iraq was intensifying, President George W. Bush insisted that that country could yet avoid civil war. In a speech, he praised those Iraqis who “put their lives on the line” for a free and democratic Iraq, in some cases by having the courage to defy the violence and cast ballots. Mr. Bush insisted that the United States must not “abandon the Iraqi people in their hour of need.”

Eight years later, Iraqis who put their lives on the line to help the United States are in their hour of need. They are waiting for a simple, promised act of gratitude, and it is urgent and necessary that it be provided...

10 Of The Best Snoopy Moments To Celebrate Peanuts' 63rd Anniversay

Today marks the anniversary of Charles M. Schulz's iconic comic series, "Peanuts," which debuted in daily newspapers on October 2, 1950. That means it's time to sit down, relax and pay homage to the man who proudly proclaimed, "The only thing I ever wanted to be was a cartoonist. That's my life. Drawing."

The beloved comic strip, featuring timeless characters like Charlie Brown, Snoopy and Peppermint Patty, ran from October 2, 1950 to February 14, 2000. In total, Schulz's work, formerly known as "Lil' Folks," reached 75 countries in 2,600 different papers and was published in an impressive 21 languages every day. Perhaps Syracuse University professor Robert Thompson put it best when he famously described "Peanuts" as "arguably the longest story ever told by one human being."...

Tom Clancy, Best-Selling Novelist Of Military Thrillers, Dies At 66
Julie Bosman, The New York Times | Tom Clancy, Best-Selling Novelist Of Military Thrillers, Dies At 66 | October 2, 2013

Tom Clancy, whose complex, adrenaline-fueled military novels made him one of the world’s best-selling and best-known authors, died on Tuesday in a hospital in Baltimore. He was 66...

“You learn to write the same way you learn to play golf. You do it, and keep doing it until you get it right. A lot of people think something mystical happens to you, that maybe the muse kisses you on the ear. But writing isn’t divinely inspired -- it’s hard work.”

The Doors Never Sold Out To Crass Commercialism
John Densmore, The Daily Beast | The Doors Never Sold Out To Crass Commercialism | October 2, 2013

At the risk of sounding grandiose, I will say that, to me, rock ’n’ roll is sacred. It started out mid-twentieth century, and when dirt-poor Elvis bought his first Cadillac, that was his way of “blinging” the uptight ’50s. Sixty years later, I said no to Cadillac, by vetoing the idea of a Doors song becoming the soundtrack to encourage folks to buy cruise mobiles. For all those years a tradition has been building. A tradition built on the idea that this music means something. And if compromised, its power could be lessened. We need to keep the flame burning, burning through hypocrisy, seeking truth...

Ancient City Of Idu Discovered Beneath Mound In Iraq
Owen Jarus, The Huffington Post | Ancient City Of Idu Discovered Beneath Mound In Iraq | October 1, 2013

In the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq archaeologists have discovered an ancient city called Idu, hidden beneath a mound.


Cuneiform inscriptions and works of art reveal the palaces that flourished in the city throughout its history thousands of years ago.


Located in a valley on the northern bank of the lower Zab River, the city's remains are now part of a mound created by human occupation called a tell, which rises about 32 feet (10 meters) above the surrounding plain. The earliest remains date back to Neolithic times, when farming first appeared in the Middle East, and a modern-day village called Satu Qala now lies on top of the tell.

The city thrived between 3,300 and 2,900 years ago...

WWII Vets Appear To Push Past Gates, Storm Shut-Down Memorial In D.C.
Geoffrey Ingersoll, Business Insider | WWII Vets Appear To Push Past Gates, Storm Shut-Down Memorial In D.C. | October 1, 2013

A massive group of World War II veterans arrived in D.C. today to an ill-timed government shutdown expecting to still be let in to tour their memorial.

People on the scene reported that the vets "pushed down" gates surrounding the memorial. Further reports say that authorities gave in and opened the memorial, while the official word from park police was that they were "seeking guidance on how to respond."

Meanwhile, the storming vets had a soundtrack...

Seymour Hersh On Obama, NSA And The 'Pathetic' American Media
Lisa O'Carroll, The Guardian | Seymour Hersh On Obama, NSA And The 'Pathetic' American Media | September 28, 2013

Seymour Hersh has got some extreme ideas on how to fix journalism – close down the news bureaus of NBC and ABC, sack 90% of editors in publishing and get back to the fundamental job of journalists which, he says, is to be an outsider.

It doesn't take much to fire up Hersh, the investigative journalist who has been the nemesis of US presidents since the 1960s and who was once described by the Republican party as "the closest thing American journalism has to a terrorist...