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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.

9 Things The Rich Don't Want You To Know About Taxes
David Cay Johnston, Willamette Week | 9 Things The Rich Don't Want You To Know About Taxes | April 14, 2011

For three decades we have conducted a massive economic experiment, testing a theory known as supply-side economics. The theory goes like this: Lower tax rates will encourage more investment, which in turn will mean more jobs and greater prosperity—so much so that tax revenues will go up, despite lower rates. The late Milton Friedman, the libertarian economist who wanted to shut down public parks because he considered them socialism, promoted this strategy. Ronald Reagan embraced Friedman’s ideas and made them into policy when he was elected president in 1980. For the past decade, we have doubled down on this theory of supply-side economics with the tax cuts sponsored by President George W. Bush in 2001 and 2003, which President Obama has agreed to continue for two years.

You would think that whether this grand experiment worked would be settled after three decades...

Rooftop To Table Gardening In NYC
Petrina TV, The Huffington Post | Rootfop To Table Gardening In NYC | April 13, 2011

A new short film by Petrina TV puts some faces to the rooftop farming movement in New York City. Patrick Connolly of Bobo in Greenwich Village explains, "it's great to say your produce came 50 miles from here, but to say that it came from the roof above your apartment building, that's even better."...

How Manhattan Drum-Taps Led
Tom Chaffin, New York Times Opinionator | 'How Manhattan Drum-Taps Led | April 13, 2011

On the evening of April 12, 1861, Walt Whitman attended a performance of Fromental Halévy’s opera “The Jewess” at the Academy of Music, on 14th Street and Irving Place in Manhattan. Just before midnight he was walking down the west side of Broadway, toward the Fulton Ferry to return to his home, in Brooklyn. Suddenly, he later recalled, he “heard in the distance the loud cries of the newsboys, who came presently tearing and yelling up the street, rushing from side to side more furiously than usual.”...

Egyptian Prosecutors Order 15-Day Detention of Hosni Mubarak
David D. Kirkpatrick and Liam Stack, The New York Times | Egyptian Prosecutors Order 15-Day Detention of Hosni Mubarak | April 13, 2011

Former President Hosni Mubarak and his two sons have been detained for 15 days for questioning about corruption and the abuse of power during Mr. Mubarak’s three-decade rule, Egyptian authorities said Wednesday...

A Conflict's Acoustic Shadows
Ken Burns, New York Times Opinionator | A Conflict's Acoustic Shadows | April 12, 2011

More than once during the Civil War, newspapers reported a strange phenomenon. From only a few miles away, a battle sometimes made no sound — despite the flash and smoke of cannon and the fact that more distant observers could hear it clearly. These eerie silences were called “acoustic shadows.” Tuesday, the 150th anniversary of the first engagement of the Civil War, the Confederacy’s attack on Fort Sumter, we ask again whether in our supposedly post-racial, globalized, 21st-century world those now seemingly distant battles of the mid-19th century still have any relevance...

Japan To Raise Fukushima Crisis Level To Worst
Japan Broadcasting Corporation | Japan To Raise Fukushima Crisis Level To Worst | April 12, 2011

The Japanese government's nuclear safety agency has decided to raise the crisis level of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant accident from 5 to 7, the worst on the international scale...

Former Leader Of Ivory Coast Is Captured
Adam Nossiter, Scott Sayare, and Dan Bilefsky, The New York Times | Former Leader of Ivory Coast Is Captured | April 12, 2011

The strongman of Ivory Coast, Laurent Gbagbo, was captured and taken into custody by his rival on Monday, ending a four-month standoff that left hundreds dead in this once-prosperous West African nation, put international diplomacy to a severe test and ultimately dragged the country back into civil war...

That Noisy Woodpecker Had An Animated Secret
Michael Cieply, The New York Times | That Noisy Woodpecker Had An Animated Secret | April 11, 2011

Sixteen years ago Tom Klein was staring at a Woody Woodpecker cartoon, “The Loose Nut,” when he started seeing things. Specifically, Mr. Klein watched that maniacal red-topped bird smash a steamroller through the door of a shed. The screen then exploded into images that looked less like the stuff of a Walter Lantz cartoon than like something Willem de Kooning might have hung on a wall...

 

Britain's Taste for Cheap Food That's Killing Brazil's 'Other Wilderness'

An "upside-down forest" of small trees with deep roots, Brazil's wildlife-rich outback is home to a 20th of the world's species, including the spectacular blue and yellow macaw and giant armadillos. Yet this vast wilderness – as big the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain put together – is being rapidly lost to feed the heavily carnivorous appetites of Britons and others. What was, only a generation ago, an almost unbroken two million square kilometre mass of trees and bushes in central Brazil is now covered with fields of soy beans, waiting to be fed to pigs and chickens in Europe and China...

The Fight That Just Won't Die
Richard Rapaport, Salon | The Fight That Just Won't Die | April 10, 2011

Gore Vidal tells of an apocryphal pilgrimage each April 12, the anniversary of Franklin D. Roosevelt's death at Warm Springs, Ga. The trek, organized by the Dutchess County New York Republican Central Committee, supposedly wends its way up the old Albany Post Road from Poughkeepsie to Springwood, FDR's beloved Hyde Park home. According to Vidal, the mythic mission is meant to reassure twitchy Republicans that the 32nd president still rests in something approaching peace at the Hyde Park Presidential Library -- that he has not risen for some new 21st century "rendezvous with destiny."...