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.

Top Secret America: A Look at the Military's Joint Special Operations Command
Dana Priest and William M. Arkin, The Washington Post | Top Secret America: A look at the Military's Joint Special Operations Command | September 4, 2011

The CIA’s armed drones and paramilitary forces have killed dozens of al-Qaeda leaders and thousands of its foot soldiers. But there is another mysterious organization that has killed even more of America’s enemies in the decade since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks....

Soldier, Thinker, Hunter, Spy: Drawing a Bead on Al Qaeda
Elisabeth Bumiller, The New York Times | Soldier, Thinker, Hunter, Spy: Drawing a Bead on Al Qaeda | September 4, 2011

Every day, Michael G. Vickers gets an update on how many in Al Qaeda’s senior leadership the United States has removed from the battlefield, and lately there has been much to report. Al Qaeda’s No. 2 died in a C.I.A. drone strike late last month, another senior commander was taken out in June, and the Navy Seals made history when they dispatched Osama bin Laden in May. “I just want to kill those guys,” Mr. Vickers likes to say in meetings at the Pentagon, with a grin...

Putting the "Men" Into "Menstruation"
Blake Gopnik, The Daily Beast | Putting the "Men" Into "Menstruation" | September 2, 2011

A machine that makes guys cramp and bleed is part of a feminist cutting edge...

U.S. Is Set to Sue a Dozen Big Banks Over Mortgages
Nelson D. Schwartz, The New York Times | U.S. Is Set to Sue a Dozen Big Banks Over Mortgages | September 2, 2011

The federal agency that oversees the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is set to file suits against more than a dozen big banks, accusing them of misrepresenting the quality of mortgage securities they assembled and sold at the height of the housing bubble, and seeking billions of dollars in compensation...

Gibson Guitar Wails on Federal Raid Over Wood
James R. Hagerty and Kris Maher, The Wall Street Journal | Gibson Guitar Wails on Federal Raid Over Wood | September 2, 2011

Gibson Guitar Corp., a big user of ebony and other scarce woods, for years has allied itself with Greenpeace and other environmental groups to show it was serious about preserving forests.

That didn't stop the Nashville-based company, whose guitars are used by such musicians as B.B. King and Angus Young of AC/DC, from running afoul of U.S. authorities over allegedly illegal imports of wood. Though no charges have been filed, Gibson factories have been raided twice, most recently last week, by federal agents who say ebony exported from India to Gibson was "fraudulently" labeled to conceal a contravention of Indian export law...

NATO Keeps War Footing in LIbya Until Gaddafi Regime Smashed
Julian Borger, The Guardian | NATO Keeps War Footing in Libya Until Gaddafi Regime Smashed | September 1, 2011


Nato will remain on a war footing in the skies over Libya until the last remnants of the Gaddafi regime have been defeated, European diplomats have said.

World leaders are converging on Paris on Thursday for a Friends of Libya summit intended to acclaim the National Transitional Council (NTC) as the country's new interim government, and mark a pivot point in the international community's efforts in Libya from war to reconstruction...

End of House Page Program is Bittersweet for Some Lawmakers
Felicia Sonmez, The Washington Post | End of House Page Proram is Bittersweet for Some Lawmakers | September 1, 2011

A rare example of bipartisan agreement over cost-cutting is about to leave many members of Congress with a conundrum: Who will fill their water glasses, raise flags over the Capitol building and ring the bells that notify them that it’s time to vote?...

German Officials Alarmed by Ex-Rapper's New Message: Jihad
Souad Mekhennet, The New York Times | German Officials Alarmed by Ex-Rapper's New Message: Jihad | September 1, 2011

The man German security officials call a major security risk looks like a figure from a rap video, especially with the tattoos on his hands. The right one says “STR8,” and the left one “Thug.”

“This is from the days when I lived the life of an unbeliever,” said the man, Denis Mamadou Cuspert, as he clenched his fists and looked at the tattoos. “Allah will erase them from me one day.”...

Tripoli Divided as Rebels Jostle to Fill Power Vacuum
David D. Kirkpatrick and Rod Nordland, The New York Times | Tripoli Divided as Rebels Jostle to Fill Power Vacuum | August 31, 2011

A week after rebels broke into Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s former stronghold, much of its territory remains divided into fiefs, each controlled by quasi-independent brigades representing different geographic areas of the country. And the spray paint they use to mark their territory tells the story of a looming leadership crisis in the capital, Tripoli...

Rick Perry's God
Christopher Hitchens, Slate | Rick Perry's God | August 31, 2011

Perry has begun to show signs of starting a religious auction on the right, with himself as the highest bidder...