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.

Family Way
Judith Warner, New York Times Book Review | Family Way | May 13, 2012

Just as everyone was getting ready to throw out the Baby Bjorns and start practicing detachment parenting à la française comes a new book, from the esteemed philosopher Elisabeth Badinter, warning that French motherhood isn’t all it’s cracked up to be...

Jefferson's Lifelong Dream
Andrew Burstein and Nancy Isenberg, Salon | Jefferson's Dream | May 12, 2012

“The only security of all is in a free press.”  Thomas Jefferson wrote these words to the Marquis de Lafayette at the age of 80. The reason Jefferson lauded a free press was that he wished, in tense political times, for the U.S. to function as a deliberative democracy, in which an increasingly better-educated citizenry monitored the policy decisions of its elected representatives and judged whether or not they deserved to remain in office.

A better-educated citizenry. That was Jefferson’s mantra, and it should be ours, too...


Tuition Is Too Damn High
Andrew Leonard, Salon | Tuition Is Too Damn High | May 11, 2012

Government is to blame for rising higher education costs -- but not for the reasons the GOP tells you...


Pur Your Rage Into a Cartoon and Exit Laughing
Paul Boutin, The New York Times | Put Your Rage Into a Cartoon and Exit laughing | May 10, 2012

When you get angry, you can lash out or seethe inside.

Or you can head to the Web to assemble and publish a cartoon to share some of that rage. Many people with little to no artistic ability -- but with some pretty funny tales -- do that in something called rage comics....

How to Use the Internet Wisely, for Your Health and Your Country's
Howard Rheingold, The Atlantic | How to Use the Internet Wisely, for Your Health and Your Country's | May 10, 2012

Use the following methods and tools to protect yourself from toxic bad info. Use them and then pass them along to others. Promote the notion that more info literacy is a practical answer to the growing info pollution. Be the change you want to see...

Primary Results: 5 Takeaways
Maggie Haberman, Politico | Primary Results: 5 Takeaways | May 9, 2012

Conservatives claimed two major victories, and Scott Walker’s main event finally arrived Tuesday night after a tandem set of state-based elections that will have a ripple effect in the fall.

Votes in the Indiana Republican Senate primary, Wisconsin’s Democratic gubernatorial primary for the June recall election and North Carolina’s vote on an amendment to ban gay marriage and civil unions are now over, but they’re leaving an indelible mark on the shape of the 2012 contests...

Reward For Killer of Rare White Buffalo Upped to $45,000
Marty Sabota, Crime Time | Reward for Killer of Rare White Buffalo Upped to $45,000 | May 8, 2012

The reward has increased ninefold to $45,000 in last week’s deaths of a rare white buffalo, considered sacred by its Lakota Sioux owner, and its mother on a ranch near Greenville.

Lightning Medicine Cloud and his mother, Buffalo Woman, were killed just shy of the white buffalo’s first birthday.

Arby Little Soldier, great-great-great grandson of Sitting Bull and owner/operator of the Lakota Ranch, said Monday that he found the calf slaughtered and skinned April 30 after returning to the North Texas town from an out-of-town trip to Oklahoma City.

"Someone who probably knew we were out of town killed him and stripped the meat," Little Soldier said. "I could tell it was him because of the white hair that was left on the head and tail."...

Read more here: http://blogs.star-telegram.com/crime_time/2012/05/reward-for-killer-of-rare-white-buffalo-upped-to-45000.html#storylink=cpy
'Magnificent' Collection Faces Breakup
Tiffany Alexander, CNN | 'Magnificent' Collection Faces Breakup | May 8, 2012

Nathaniel Montague spent more than 50 of his 84 years chasing history, meticulously collecting rare and one-of-a-kind fragments of America's past. Slave documents. Photographs. Signatures. Recordings.

Montague -- Magnificent Montague, as he's been known since his days as a pioneering radio DJ -- amassed an 8,000-piece collection reflecting names from the well-known to the forgotten to those history never thought to remember. It's valued in the millions; some call it priceless. One assessment of just five of the pieces puts the total value of those treasures alone somewhere between $592,000 and $940,000...

Fear the Zombie Drone
Jefferson Morley, Salon | Fear the Zombie Drone | May 8, 2012

For a sickening moment, disaster loomed over Kabul in August 2004. A surveillance drone operated by the German armed forces was taking pictures over the Afghan capital when a civilian airliner filled the viewfinder of the drone’s camera. The Air Force later concluded the airliner, carrying more than a hundred passengers, missed the German drone by just 170 feet. (The photo could fool you into thinking it missed by about 17 feet.)

That near-miss is a cautionary tale for the Federal Aviation Administration, the U.S. military and civilian aviation as they seek to open up domestic airspace to unmanned aviation systems... 

The Frequent Flyers Who Flew Too Much
Ken Bensinger, Los Angeles Times | The Frequent Flyers Who Flew Too Much | May 8, 2012

There are frequent fliers, and then there are people like Steven Rothstein and Jacques Vroom. Both men bought tickets that gave them unlimited first-class travel for life on American Airlines. It was almost like owning a fleet of private jets.

Passes in hand, Rothstein and Vroom flew for business. They flew for pleasure. They flew just because they liked being on planes. They bypassed long lines, booked backup itineraries in case the weather turned, and never worried about cancellation fees. Flight crews memorized their names and favorite meals...