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.

Women In Combat: US Military On Verge Of Making It Official
Anna Mulrine, The Christian Science Monitor | Women In Combat: US Military On Verge Of Making It Official | July 2, 2012

...it was Capt. Allison Black's voice that special operators on the ground heard as they fought. Afghan soldiers overheard the chatter, too. On a mission over the northern Afghanistan city of Kunduz in 2001, one particularly fierce warlord, Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, "found it amazing" that a woman was directing fire on the Taliban forces, says Black. "He thought it was so hilarious. He asked, 'Is that a woman?' "

When SOF fighters confirmed it was, Dostum, she says, was incredulous – and impressed: "America is so determined to kill the Taliban that they send women," he said.

Then, as Black called in another round of fire, Dostum dialed enemy fighters by phone, so they, too, could hear her voice on his walkie-talkie: "He really berated them, saying 'You're so pathetic, American women are killing you. You need to surrender now,' " Black says...

Chasing Prefontaine: The Run For A Record
Chelsea J. Carter, CNN | Chasing Prefontaine: The Run For A Record | July 2, 2012

The buzz began hours before the start of the race at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials: Would one of the most-elusive records in long distance running set by a legend long dead finally fall?

It's a question that has been asked at nearly every Olympic track trials since the brash Steve Prefontaine set the meet record for men's 5,000 meters in 1972.

Sure, there have been runners since who have been more than capable of breaking the record. They just always came up short when it counted...

Proof Of 'God Particle' Found
Seth Borenstein, The Associated Press | Proof Of 'God Particle' Found | July 2, 2012

Scientists working at the world's biggest atom smasher plan to announce Wednesday that they have gathered enough evidence to show that the long-sought "God particle" answering fundamental questions about the universe almost certainly does exist

But after decades of work and billions of dollars spent, researchers at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, aren't quite ready to say they've "discovered" the particle...

Drawing In The Dark
Campbell Robertson, Slate | Drawing In The Dark | July 1, 2012

Why cartoonist Joe Sacco is one of the best war correspondents in the world...

Open Letter From A Millennial: Quit Telling Us We're Not Special
Sierra, The Phoenix And Olive Branch | Open Letter From A Millennial: Quit Telling Us We're Not Special | July 1, 2012

Quit telling us we're not special. Believe us, we bloody well know.

Earlier this month, Wellesley high school teacher David McCullough, Jr., delivered what was perhaps the world’s first commencement dirge to a crowd of teenagers on the first day of distinction many of them have ever experienced. Graduation from high school, he informed them, is a shiny induction to the hordes of mediocrity. McCullough even took it upon himself to remind the youth of their eventual funerals. (You know it’s a problematic speech when Rush Limbaugh loves it.) What parting words did the teacher have for those who survived his twelve-minute lesson on nihilism? The paradoxical exhortation to go forth and live extraordinary lives! Because, apparently, we can?...

Nine Best Reads On Obamacare Ruling
Alex Klein, The Daily Beast | Nine Best Reads On Obamacare Fuling | June 30, 2012

The verdicts came in quickly from advocates and opponents of the Affordable Care Act. Here's a look at the most astute commentaries about the Supreme Court's decision...

Eulogy For My Drinking Duck
Gene Weingarten, The Washington Post | Eulogy For My Drinking Duck | June 30, 2012

A few weeks ago, I wrote about my Drinking Duck, a $5 novelty item purchased on eBay. He arrived from China on March 20, and I set him in motion on March 24 by pushing his head down into a glass of water and letting go. He took it from there.

He was a serious little fellow who had one job to do, which he did to the very best of his ability, which is all we can ask of anyone...

Morsi Is Sworn In, Marking A New Stage In Egypt Struggle
David D. Kirkpatrick, The New York Times | Morsi Sworn In, Marking A New Stage In Egypt Struggle | June 30, 2012

Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood was formally sworn in on Saturday as the first democratically elected president of Egypt, marking a new stage in an ever murkier struggle to define the future of the nation after six decades of military-backed autocracy.

Proclaiming “a new Egypt, the second republic,” Mr. Morsi declared, “Today the Egyptian people have established a new life, with real freedom and real democracy.”...

The Truth About the Fast and Furious Scandal
Katherine Eban, Fortune | The Truth About the Fast and Furious Scandal | June 27, 2012

A Fortune investigation reveals that the ATF never intentionally allowed guns to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. How the world came to believe just the opposite is a tale of rivalry, murder, and political bloodlust...


That's Just Nino: Scalia's Arizona Dissent
Jeffrey Toobin, The New Yorker | That's Just Nino: Scalia's Arizona Dissent | June 27, 2012

The last days of a Supreme Court term rarely show off the Justices to great advantage. Like other mortals, they have put off doing their hardest work, so only the most controversial cases remain. They are tired. They are frustrated. By a vote of 6-3, they need haircuts. (Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan appear recently barbered; Stephen Breyer is bald.) But none of the usual end-of-year excuses explain the behavior in court yesterday of Antonin Scalia...