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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.

Do Party Conventions Matter Anymore?
The New York Time, Op Ed Page | Do Party Conventions Matter Anymore? | August 27, 2012

This week marks the start of the Republican national convention, followed next week by the Democratic convention. They are elaborate, heavily-scripted, expensive affairs -- this year, Congress has set aside $100 million for security and $18 million to each party for balloons, signs and other party material -- with little of the drama and excitement of years past.

Are political conventions still significant in the democratic process? Are they worth the cost?...

Made 'Giant Leap' As First Man To Step On Moon
John Noble Wilford, The New York Times | Made 'Giant Leap' As First Man To Step On Moon | August 26, 2012

Neil Armstrong, who made the “giant leap for mankind” as the first human to set foot on the moon, died on Saturday. He was 82.

His family said in a statement that the cause was “complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures.” He had undergone heart bypass surgery this month in Cincinnati, near where he lived. His recovery had been going well, according to those who spoke with him after the surgery, and his death came as a surprise to many close to him, including his fellow Apollo astronauts. The family did not say where he died...

The Fracking Of Rachel Carson
Santra Steingreber, Orion | The Fracking Of Rachel Carson | August 26, 2012

Silent Spring's lost legacy, told in fifty parts...

10. The Environmental Protection Agency credits Silent Spring for its existence.

11. You can think of fracking as a hostage exchange program. A drill bit opens a hole a mile deep, turns sideways, and then, like a robotic mole, tunnels horizontally through the shale bedrock for another mile or more. The hole is lined with steel pipe and cement. To initiate the fracturing process, explosives are sent down it. Then, fresh water (millions of gallons per well) is injected under high pressure to further break up the shale and shoot acids, biocides, friction reducers, and sand grains deep into the cracks. Trapped for 400 million years, the gas is now free to flow through the propped-open fractures up to the surface, where it is condensed, compressed, and sent to market via a network of pipelines. The water remains behind...

Fear Of A Black President
Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic | Fear Of A Black President | August 26, 2012

As a candidate, Barack Obama said we needed to reckon with race and with America's original sin, slavery. But as our first black president, he has avoided mention of race almosat entirely. In having to be "twice as good" and "half as black," Obama reveals the false promise and double standard of integration...

Obama's Campaign Is Depending On A Strong Ground Game Against Romney
T.W. Farnam and Dan Eggen, The Washington Post | Obama's Campaign Is Depending On A Strong Ground Game Against Romney | August 23, 2012

When President Obama campaigned in Las Vegas on Wednesday, his aides had laid the groundwork by opening 18 field offices around the city. Mitt Romney’s state operation has opened three.

In the critical battleground state, the Nevada Democratic Party has been building staff for two years and now has nearly 200 people organizing volunteers, knocking on doors, registering voters and compiling lists of supporters. Romney’s Nevada campaign is backed up by about 40 workers...

Inside Mitt Romney's Bain Files
Alex Klein, The Daily Beast | Inside Mitt Romney's Bain Files | August 23, 2012

In a massive document dump, Gawker has published 950 pages of confidential files related to Mitt Romney's finances. Alex Klein on what's notable in the cache -- and what to ignore...

Romney Unveils Plan For Energy Independence
Ashley Parker, The New York Times | Romney Unveils Plan For Energy Independence | August 23, 2012

Mitt Romney unveiled an energy plan Thursday that he said would make North America energy independent by 2020, at what would be the end of his second term as president.

His plan would allow states more control over the development of energy resources on federal lands within their borders, as well as aggressively expand offshore oil and gas drilling — including along the coasts of Virginia and the Carolinas — as part of a broader effort to reach energy independence...

In Toll Of 2,000, New Portrait Of Afghan War
James Dao and Andrew W. Lehren, The New York Times | In Toll Of 2,000, New Portrait Of Afghan War | August 22, 2012

His war was almost over. Or so Marina Buckley thought when her son Lance Cpl. Gregory T. Buckley Jr. told her that he would be returning from southern Afghanistan to his Marine Corps base in Hawaii in late August, three months early.

Instead, Lance Corporal Buckley became the 1,990th American service member to die in the war when, on Aug. 10, he and two other Marines were shot inside their base in Helmand Province by a man who appears to have been a member of the Afghan forces they were training...

Japanese Internment Camp Captured In Stunning Kodachrome Photographs

During World War II, the United States incarcerated thousands of Japanese Americans -- some for up to 4 years -- in remote camps without due process. Two-thirds of the 120,000 people who were sent to the camps were American citizens.

Months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Bill Manbo of Riverside, CA, was sent to a camp in Wyoming with his family. Manbo, an amateur photographer, documented his time there in stunning Kodachrome pictures recently published in Colors of Confinement...

Richard Thompson Interview: Cul De Sac Ending
John Glynn, AMU | Richard Thompson Interview: Cul De Sac Ending | August 22, 2012

JG: Can you tell us a little about why you've decided to suspend Cul De Sac?

RT: I was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson's disease in the summer of 2009. At first it didn't affect my drawing, but that's gradually changed. Last winter I got an excellent cartoonist, Stacy Curtis, to ink my roughs, which was a great help. But now I've gotten too unreliable to produce a daily strip...