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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.

Bring Down The African Big Wigs
Sitinga Kachipande, The Guardian | Bring Down The African Big Wigs | October 3, 2012

During the procession of judges in Malawi and many commonwealth countries, a familiar scene includes judges in 'traditional' robe and wig. The status of the judicial employee is reflected through the style of the robe as well as the elaborate, white, silky headdress made from horse hair – the periwig. These ill-fitting, itchy wigs are manufactured by two large British oligopolies and exported to African countries. The cost of these wigs ranges between $1,000 – $6,000 USD per wig, rendering them a costly drain on foreign exchange. A hefty price tag that is ludicrous for an article of clothing largely symbolic that does not improve the quality of work of the individual. In most cases, the silky long white wigs are ill suited as they bear little resemblance to Black African hair textures. They are a symbol of a colonial legacy and our inability to "restructure our colonial institutions to reflect our culture and needs". Yet, several years after independence, commonwealth nations continue to cling on to this garb signaling continued psychological and economic attachment to the Britain...

New Orleans' Times-Picayune Prints Last Daily Edition
The Huffington Post | New Orleans' Times-Picayune Prints Last Daily Edition | October 3, 2012

The Times-Picayune published its last daily edition on Sunday, making New Orleans the biggest city in America without a daily newspaper.

The newspaper announced deep cuts, including a shift to publication just three days a week, in May. Residents and public figures protested the decision, to no avail...

Debate Preview: Six Reasons Why This Is Romney's Big Chance
John Cassidy, The New Yorker | Debate Preview: Six Reasons Why This Is Romney's Big Chance | October 2, 2012

Less than thirty-six hours to go until Jim Lehrer asks the first question in Denver, and I, for one, am ready to go. In the past couple of days, in my role as D.P. (designated prognosticator), I’ve read the dispatches about both candidates decamping to the West for a couple of days of intensive prep. I’ve followed the ludicrous expectations game. “Gov. Romney, he’s a good debater. I’m just O.K.,” says Barack (The Great Communicator) Obama; “It’s not so much winning and losing … it’s about something bigger than that,” insists Mitt Romney, who has spent months preparing for what he clearly views as a championship bout. I’ve considered the importance of brevity, substance, accuracy, likability, and even, courtesy of The Daily, the number of times that a candidate blinks. (“Obama, who blinked 62 times per minute, trounced McCain who clocked in at 104 times per minute.”) I’ve been reminded of Richard Nixon’s five-o’-clock shadow in 1960; the George H. W. Bush “check my watch” moment, in 1992; and Michael Dukakis’s excruciating 1988 answer to Bernie Shaw’s hypothetical question about whether he’d favor the death penalty for somebody who raped and murdered his wife. I’ve even pondered the conventional wisdom among political scientists, which is that debates don’t matter much.

 

After all that arduous research, what can I tell you...

Two Who Perished Too Early Get Their Due From Cal Poly Pomona
Kurt Streeter, The Los Angeles Times | Two Who Perished Too Early Get Their Due From Cal Poly Pomona | October 2, 2012

They were the best of friends, a trio of college seniors just weeks shy of graduating from Cal Poly Pomona and bursting into the world.

First there would be a celebratory trip to Las Vegas.

A flight on a small plane was arranged, and Frank Brandt couldn't wait to take it.

Then he got sick. Terribly sick. It hit hard enough that he told Dennis Midas and Michael Young to go on their own.

Hours later, on a dark tarmac at Ontario airport, Midas and Young boarded a single-engine Piper PA-28. It wasn't long after takeoff before the plane hit sleet, ice and gusting wind, not long before it plunged into the ground near Lake Arrowhead...

Send Bin Laden The Bill: Dakota Meyer On His Return From Afghanistan
Dakota Meyer, The Daily Beast | Send Bin Laden The Bill: Dakota Meyer On His Return From Afghanistan | October 2, 2012

For his bravery at the battle of Ganjigal in eastern Afghanistan, Dakota Meyer became the first living Marine in three decades to receive the Medal of Honor. In an excerpt from Into the Fire: A Firsthand Account of the Most Extraordinary Battle in the Afghan War, co-written with Bing West, he recalls his tough transition back home to Kentucky...

 

Daystar, TBN Ready For Messiah In Jerusalem
Edmund Sanders, The Los Angeles Times | Daystar, TBN Ready For Messiah In Jerusalem | October 1, 2012

If the Messiah descends from the Mount of Olives as foretold in the Bible, America's two biggest Christian broadcasters are well-positioned to cover it live thanks to recent acquisitions of adjacent Jerusalem studios on a hill overlooking the Old City.

Texas-based Daystar Television Network already beams a 24-hour-a-day live webcam from its terrace. Not to be outdone, Costa Mesa-based Trinity Broadcasting Network last month bought the building next door...

Arafat To Be Exhumed
Natasha Lennard, Salon | Arafat To Be Exhumed | October 1, 2012

Since his death in 2004, rumors have circulated about the cause of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s passing. Now, eight years later, his body will be exhumed from its guarded compound in Ramallah and tested to put to rest or confirm suspicions that Arafat was poisoned by Mossad agents.

The medical report, written in 2004 by attending French doctors, noted “a stroke after suffering from a blood disorder” as cause of death. However, when Arafat’s personal belongings were later examined, an elevated amount of polonium-210 was detected — the same substance linked to former Russian spy, Alexander Litvinenko’s death in 2006...

Report: 90 Percent Of Americans To Face Higher Taxes If Congress Doesn't Act On Fiscal Cliff

Nearly 90 percent of Americans would face higher taxes next year if Congress permits the nation to hurtle over the “fiscal cliff,” the year-end precipice of tax hikes and spending cuts that threatens to throw the nation back into recession.

A study published Monday by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center finds that taxes would go up by a collective $536 billion next year, or about $3,500 per household, reducing after-tax income by about 6.2 percent...

The Legacy Of Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Publisher And CEO Of The New York Times
Howard Kurtz, The Daily Beast | The Legacy Of Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Publisher And CEO Of The New York Times | September 29, 2012

It is probably not much of an overstatement to say that Arthur Ochs Sulzberger saved The New York Times.

Sulzberger, who died Saturday at 86, was a behind-the-scenes eminence who quietly guided the nation’s premiere newspaper through a turbulent period. He was a throwback to an earlier era, when men—they were almost always men—treated a newspaper as a public trust (which is, of course, easier to do when your family controls the voting stock)...

Gospel Brunch Becomes A Sunday Staple In D.C.
Chris Richards, The Washington Post | Gospel Brunch Becomes A Staple In D.C. | September 29, 2012

If you want some God with your grits, plan to show up around 9 a.m.

That’s when the line starts forming for the first of two gospel brunches held each Sunday at the Hamilton, a nightclub that opened in December in the shell of a shuttered Borders bookstore on 14th and F streets NW.

Queues used to wrap around this corner in the name of Harry Potter. Now, the Sunday morning scrum includes churchgoers, church skippers, extended families and hung-over tourists, all eager to hear a choir deliver the good news while the assembled deliver waffles to their bellies...