Presidential Daily Brief: Camp David Edition

The "Yes" campaign returns home defeated, Scotland stays in the UK.

Presidential Daily Brief.

September 20, 2014

Important…Expand All

  1. State of the Union

    Story of the Week: A Once and Future Kingdom

    The X of Scotland’s St. Andrew’s Cross still marks the spot. It helps make Britain’s flag distinctive, and it remains so now that 55 percent of Scottish voters have preserved the 307-year-old “United” Kingdom. But it was a close call; Scottish voters turned out like never before, reflecting both dissatisfaction and concern. Now their fellow subjects must craft a deal strengthening Scottish autonomy. As much as it irks conservatives in London, it’s a cross they will have to bear.

    NYT, USA Today, TIME, OZY

  2. Forecast Unchanged

    Coming Up: Leaders Gather in New York for Climate Summit

    Tens of thousands of demonstrators plan to hit Manhattan on Sunday to tell world leaders to get serious at Tuesday’s U.N. climate change summit. The private sector has joined the chorus — institutional investors worth $24.5 trillion have urged an “economically meaningful” levy on carbon emissions. But the leaders of carbon-happy China, India, Russia and Canada have taken rain checks, stoking fears that this summit, like others before it, will generate little more than hot air.

    New YorkerThe Guardian, The Economist

  3. Intimidating Strategy

    Why Islamic State Does Not Want U.S. Intervention

    The prospect of ground troops back in Iraq makes Americans queasy — exactly the effect Islamic State was going for, posting its grisly execution videos, some analysts say. Washington’s caution springs from the opposite belief, that militants want the soldiers to complete their Islam-versus-Crusader narrative. Ignore your gut, the analysts say, and understand that combat troops may be the only solution. Regardless of Obama’s assurances that he will avoid that, IS foes already on the ground are dying for Western help.  

    Foreign AffairsThe Guardian

  4. Crushing Smog

    Can China Frack Its Way to Greener Growth?

    To fuel his “Great Leap Forward” a half-century ago, Chairman Mao supersized China’s coal infrastructure, planting the seeds of the current pollution crisis. Today, history may be repeating itself as China — desperate for smog-free growth — rapidly develops fracking technology without considering the social and environmental impacts. The boom is powered by the technology and expertise of Western energy companies like BP and ExxonMobil, enticed by vast shale fields unshackled by their home countries’ political and regulatory headaches.

    Mother Jones

  5. Briefly

    Turkish Hostages Freed in Iraq, Scottish Independence Leader to Quit

    49 Turkish hostages freed in Iraq. (Reuters)

    Scottish leader to resign after failed independence bid. (The Guardian)

    Alibaba is now 17th largest public company. (FT) sub

    American confesses in Bali suitcase murder. (CNN)

    Intruder gets through White House doors. (NYT)


  1. Big Business

    Trailblazers Remaking Plus-Size Fashion Scene

    “Plus size” fashion has had many incarnations — “mama’s,” “full-figured” and now “curvy.” There has always been demand, but not always an impetus to supply such clothing. In the age of blogs like Fatshionista, which have given 14-plus buyers an activist voice, the styles have become more exciting, but big labels remain reticent to enter a stigmatized market. Ultimately, consumers must enjoy shopping — many do not — for it to be worth the investment, meaning clever marketing could re-tailor this shameful secret into a lucrative trade.  

    New Yorker

  2. Deep Breath

    Free-Diving Researchers Swim with Whales 

    In the myths of old, sperm whales both ate humans and avoided them, but a group of researchers is debunking such myths in a novel way: They’re hanging with them, sans oxygen. Sometimes it’s just a social visit, but they’re also free diving in order to study creatures that otherwise shy away from bulky breathing equipment. While the leviathans aren’t intentionally violent, the intense vibrations of their echolocation can injure divers. We know this because these courageous explorers have extended a hand to the deep.


  3. Catching Rays

    Nuclear Tourists Visit Abandoned Chernobyl Zone

    There are many wacky kinds of vacations, but nuclear tourism is as surreal as it gets. The catastrophic 1986 Chernobyl nuclear reactor meltdown left a contaminated area known as “the zone.” Now it’s open for visitors to watch bison and boars roam freely among abandoned hospitals, schools and homes. Apart from a few residents who refused to leave and “stalkers” — enthusiasts entering illegally — the only human presence in the post-apocalyptic territory is tourists warily eyeing their dosimeters.  

    National Geographic

  4. Dark Secrets

    Silence Surrounds Male Military Rape

    Thirty-eight U.S. military men are sexually assaulted every day, but 81 percent of them never report their harrowing attacks. Research suggests that those who do report “MST,” or military sexual trauma, are often deliberately misdiagnosed with pre-existing personality disorders. That shuffles them out of the ranks and spares the government the costs of victims’ care. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) had the votes to strip individual commanders of control over prosecuting such crimes, but opponents replaced it with a Pentagon-favored bill that victims call toothless.


  5. Nationals' Treasure

    How the Nats Rose from the Dead

    In 2009, the Nationals’ locker room was where dreams went to die. So how, in just five years, did the team acquire the best record in the National League and D.C.’s first World Series shot in over 90 years? Basically, it got so bad that General Manager Mike Rizzo had first crack at promising draft picks — and didn’t blow it. At the same time, a combo of cash, smart choices and Montreal’s leftovers turned October in Washington into something more than a federal budget deadline.


PDB Updates

Get the freshest and most essential news from around the globe delivered every morning straight to your inbox!

Back To Top