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.

Notes From a Dragon Mom
Emily Rapp, The New York Times Opinion | Notes From a Dragon Mom | October 17, 2011

MY son, Ronan, looks at me and raises one eyebrow. His eyes are bright and focused. Ronan means “little seal” in Irish and it suits him.

I want to stop here, before the dreadful hitch: my son is 18 months old and will likely die before his third birthday. Ronan was born with Tay-Sachs, a rare genetic disorder. He is slowly regressing into a vegetative state.  He’ll become paralyzed, experience seizures, lose all of his senses before he dies. There is no treatment and no cure...

Amazon Signs Up Authors, Writing Publishers Ouf of Deal
David Streitfeld, The New York Times | Amazon Signs Up Authors, Writing Publishers Out of Deal | October 17, 2011

Amazon.com has taught readers that they do not need bookstores. Now it is encouraging writers to cast aside their publishers. Amazon will publish 122 books this fall in an array of genres, in both physical and e-book form. It is a striking acceleration of the retailer’s fledging publishing program that will place Amazon squarely in competition with the New York houses that are also its most prominent suppliers...

How a Smoggy Chinese City Turned Green
Christina Larson, The Guardian | How a Smoggy Chinese City Turned Green | October 17, 2011

Shenyang -- once a key in Mao Zedong's push to industrialie China -- has begun to emerge from its smoggy past, cleaning up its factories and expanding its green spaces...

Koreans to Occupy (Their) Wall Street
Song Jung-a, Financial Times' beyondbrics | Koreans to Occupy (Their) Wall Street | October 14, 2011
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When it comes to demonstrations, Koreans are second to none. The country’s vociferous civic groups and militant labour unions plan to join the “Occupy Wall Street” movement in the US and hold a massive rally this weekend in Yoido, central Seoul, where most major financial institutions and regulators are based...

Insiders Voice Doubts About CIA's 9/11 Story
Rory O'Connor and Ray Nowosielski, Salon | Insiders Voice Doubts About CIA's 9/11 Story | October 14, 2011

Former FBI agents say the agency's bin Laden unit misled them about two hijackers...

The Agony and Ecstasy of Mike Daisey
Daniel Smith, Slate | The Agony and Ecstasy of Mike Daisey | October 14, 2011

Eight days ago, I received a call from the monologist Mike Daisey, whom I’ve been speaking with lately out of an interest in his work. The call was unexpected, and Daisey sounded weary and out-of-sorts. I wasn’t surprised by his mood. Since July of 2010, in cities from Hyderabad to Vancouver to Washington, Daisey has been performing an ambitious and heartfelt work titled The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, and 45 minutes earlier the news had arrived that Jobs was dead...

What the New Deal Accomplished
Michael Hiltzik, Slate | What the New Deal Accomplished | October 13, 2011

651,000 miles of highway. 8,000 parks. The Triborough Bridge. Do conservatives who attack the New Deal actually know what America gained from it?...

Mikhail Gorbachev: We Should Have Preserved the Soviet Union
Fred Weir, The Christian Science Monitor | Mikhail Gorbachve: We Should Have Preserved the Soviet Union | October 13, 2011

On the 20th anniversay of the Soviet Union's collapse, former President Mikhail Gorbachev says the U.S. should have backed his promotion of perestroika, or political and economic reforms. He says that Vladimir Putin is dragging Russia backward...

Tea Party Goes After Occupy Wall Street
Robin Bravender and Kenneth P. Vogel, Politico | Tea Party Goes After Occupy Wall Street | October 13, 2011


The tea party isn’t about to make room for the new protesters on the block.

Big tea party groups have launched an attack against the Occupy Wall Street protests, challenging the line that the anti-corporate uprising is the “the tea party of the left.” Tea partiers and their allies are looking to de-legitimize the protests circulating in the anti-Wall Street crowds, hunting for evidence of union ties, fringe rhetoric and bad behavior — ranging from news of arrests, to recordings of incendiary speeches, to tales of littering, drug use and debauchery...

The 10 Manliest Products
The Daily Beast | The 10 Manliest Products | October 12, 2011

The new diet soda Dr. Pepper Ten claims it's "not for women." From Marlboro to Axe to Levi's Ex-Girlfriend Jeans, see other products that are targeted for testosterone...