The Presidential Daily Brief

important

  1. Rep. Paul Ryan’s New Budget Plan Key to GOP Election Hopes

    The claim is a big one — a balanced federal budget by 2024. Ryan, the GOP’s leading budget man, released his plan Tuesday. He says it will spur the American economy. But it assumes gutting the Affordable Care Act completely, in addition to cutting back Medicare and food stamps. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office agrees that the plan would grow the economy, but could cost in other areas. The odds of Paul’s budget becoming law are slim to none, but it gives insight into Republican priorities before the November elections.

    Sources: WSJ, Reuters

  2. Russia Attends Meeting in Crimea but Pulls Troops

    There is good news and bad news for Ukraine. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to Crimea for a cabinet meeting infuriated Kiev. Ukrainian officials responded by firing off a protest letter to Moscow, calling the trip a “crude violation” of international norms. But Russian President Vladimir Putin also ordered a “partial withdrawal” of some of the 40,000 troops massed at Ukraine’s border. NATO ministers meet today to discuss how to step up pressure on Russia, bolster the Ukrainian military and reassure European nations worried about Russian aggression. 

    Sources: ReutersThe GuardianBBC

  3. Web Glitches Snarl Obamacare Enrollment

    Online problems and an overwhelmed phone system ended up shutting out thousands of Americans who joined the last-minute rush to sign up for Obamacare by yesterday’s deadline. The website had to close down for several hours, but some three million people still managed to visit it, and a million called by the end of the day. Officials are confident they have more than seven million people enrolled, and the registration deadline has been extended for those who started the process but were unable to finish because of the hitches. 

    Sources: NYTWashington PostWSJ (sub)

  4. Senate Report Says CIA Misled Public on Interrogation Program

    The intelligence agency misled Americans and the government for years on aspects of its brutal system of interrogations that yielded little helpful or significant information, according to a scathing report by the Senate Intelligence Committee. The 6,300-page document details dozens of interrogations involving painful techniques, including repeated dunkings of detainees in ice water in Afghanistan. The report determined that the CIA covered up details about the severity of techniques, inflated the importance of plots and prisoners, and took credit for information that was given before harsh tactics were used.

    Source: Washington Post

  5. RIP, Frankie Knuckles, the Godfather of House

    He started mixing beats in the New York underground, rising through gay clubs to launch a sound that took over the world — and became a genre all its own. As the Rolling Stone tribute notes, most musical genres evolved, with specific starting points hard to pin down. Not so electronic dance music; EDM began with Frankie Knuckles. House music took its name from the late 70s, early 80s members-only Chicago joint, the Warehouse, where Knuckles’ beats reached a pinnacle. He worked with Michael Jackson and Chaka Khan, and influenced several generations of hit-makers and club-goers. Dance on, Frankie. 

    Source: Rolling Stone

  6. Israeli Spy May be Released from U.S. Prison

    The U.S. is reportedly considering releasing Jonathan Pollard from prison to keep Mideast peace talks alive. The release would be a coup for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and may help keep him talking about a Palestinian state. Pollard, a U.S. Navy intelligence analyst sentenced to life for selling secrets to Israel, may be freed in a bid to secure concessions, such as the release of Palestinian prisoners, sources say. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has made a last-minute trip to the region to jump-start stalled talks.

    Sources: Haaretz (sub), Jerusalem PostNYTBBC

intriguing

  1. Young Applicant Gets Accepted to Eight Ivy League Schools

    He’s living the American dream: Kwasi Enin, 17, whose parents came from Ghana, applied to study medicine at Harvard, Yale, Brown and the other top universities, and received offers from all of them. Apart from his great grades, Enin drew attention with his keen musical talents as a violinist and singer, and his volunteering community spirit. The tables are now turned, with Enin having to take his pick of alma maters by May 1.

    Source: USA Today

  2. Are Catholic Ideals Driving Female Medical Care at Oklahoma Hospital?

    It is unclear whether women at Jane Phillips Medical Center in Bartlesville can be prescribed birth control. Contract doctors there were reportedly directed to stop prescribing contraceptives last week, sparking outcry. A spokesperson for St. John Health System, which owns Jane Phillips, denies the claim but said that it does operate in accordance with the ethical and religious directives for Catholic Health Services, and that the system does not support the use of contraception. A female patient reported that her doctor said she was no longer able to get a prescription for birth control. 

    Sources: Fox NewsThe NationBartlesville Examiner-Enterprise

  3. Court Orders Japan to Stop Antarctic Whaling

    Japan’s long history of whaling in the Antarctic must stop, the International Court of Justice has ruled. Citing scientific curiosity and the importance of whaling to Japanese culture, Japan has been hunting whales for decades, but with devastating consequences. An estimated 3,600 minke whales have died since the country began its current operation in the Antarctic in 2005. Critics of the program have challenged the notion that Japanese whaling is purely scientific, as whale meat turns a tremendous profit as an expensive delicacy. The ICJ has ruled Antarctic whaling unscientific, and Japan says it will accept the ban.

    Sources: WiredBBC

  4. ‘How I Met Your Mother’ Finale Draws Mixed Reviews

    After nine seasons, CBS’s How I Met Your Mother aired its final episode last night. The show followed a group of friends through flashbacks and flash forwards, culminating last night as the lead character revealed a big surprise. We won’t spoil it for those who haven’t seen it yet, but if years of Jerry Springer have you hooked on knowing other people’s lineage, check the SMH or Washington Post links for spoilers. Otherwise, you’re safer with CNN’s cast reflections.

    Sources: SMH, Washington Post, CNN

  5. Baseball Throws First Pitch, Has New Replay Review

    Fans rejoiced yesterday as players stepped onto the diamond for Opening Day, but critics of baseball’s expanded instant replay system groaned. Monday marked the first use of the replay system, which is drawing criticism for being arbitrary and insufficient. First put to use in the Cubs-Pirates game, an umpire’s call was upheld after a brief delay. The umpire scored points for being right, and the Cubs lost both the call and the game.

    Sources: NYT, Grantland, The Atlantic, USA Today, Slate