The Presidential Daily Brief


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    January Jones Curates OZY’s PDB

    Betty Draper from Mad Men? You betcha! While that character may forever be shrouded in mystery, this South Dakota native who played her is ready to bare her soul. Jones, who now lives in LA with her son, Xander, is famed for playing opposite Jon Hamm in the drama about 1960s advertising execs. But she has also starred in several movies and is now playing Melissa in Fox’s The Last Man on Earth. And today she joins the ranks of past curators like Katie Couric, Paul Ryan and Von Miller to share her take on today’s must-know news.

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    2017 Hurricane Season Spotlights Critical Climate Concerns

    They’re making waves — and that ain’t good. Hurricanes have been bombarding the Caribbean and the Gulf Coast this year, and the storm season doesn’t officially end for another month. So far, we’ve had eight full-on hurricanes and 14 named storms, the latest being Nate. Thanks to the lack of an El Niño system — which tends to rip storms apart — and the Atlantic’s unusually warm waters, the storms have been especially intense. Denying climate change may deliver short-term political gains for some, but the long-term consequences for many could be downright devastating.

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    President Must Act to Protect, Not Risk, National Monuments

    They call it overreach; I call it common sense. While the Trump administration works to undermine the executive branch’s ability to claim land as national monuments and, notably, shield its use from development, I fear the worst for beloved national landmarks. Currently, the Pacific Remote Islands — designated by President George W. Bush and enlarged by President Obama — are among the most at risk. In my home state of South Dakota, significant effort is directed toward safeguarding places of ecological and cultural importance, and I say that’s a tradition that needs to continue.

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    Shark Fin Trade Needs to Stop

    They swim in troubled waters. Sharks are under threat worldwide, so I was devastated by headlines last week about a finless lemon shark washing ashore at Australia’s Darwin beach. Locals were stunned, and the discovery raised concerns about a larger finning operation. Shark finning is horrendous — it’s driven by demand for fins that are primarily used in soup. The United States serves as a source of demand for shark fins, which is why I’ve been working with Oceana to help legislators pass the Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act, a ban on buying and selling fins nationwide.

  5. Trump’s Russiagate Tirade, Nuclear Asia and World Series Equanimity

    Know This: A Twitter blast from President Trump today hit back at reports that a grand jury probing Russiagate had filed charges against someone yet unnamed, referring to a “witch hunt” over “phony Trump/Russia ‘collusion,’” and casting suspicion on Hillary Clinton. An estimated 300,000 demonstrators for unity with Spain flooded the streets of Barcelona today after the Spanish government “removed” Catalan officials who declared independence Friday. And Puerto Rico’s electric utility has said it’s canceling a $300 million contract to restore its hurricane-damaged power grid after it emerged that the small Montana contractor had once employed one of U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s sons. 

    Atomic Balm: “If they continue to have nuclear weapons, nuclear weapons must spread to the rest of Asia.” — former U.S. secretary of state Henry Kissinger, addressing the possibility that Japan and South Korea will seek nuclear arsenals to counter the North Korean threat. 

    Series Signals: L.A pitcher Yu Darvish was conciliatory after Houston first baseman Yuli Gurriel “slanted” his eyes Friday in a racist gesture upon hitting a home run in the Astros’ World Series Game 3 victory, saying, “If we can take something from this, that is a giant step for mankind.” L.A. evened the series at two games apiece Saturday, winning 6-2 in a pitchers’ duel blown open in the ninth inning by the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger.


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    Family-Friendly Cities Are High on My List

    Win some, lose some. It’s great to see South Dakota’s Sioux Falls, my hometown, make the top 10 list for best places to raise a family. As a mother, I can appreciate the need for safe surroundings, access to good health care and stellar schools. Los Angeles, where I live now, came in at 92 (out of the 150 most populated places), but I’m hoping it’ll start climbing the ranks. For folks as family-focused as I am — and knowing that Americans average more than 10 moves in a lifetime — I think this is a really helpful resource.

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    Sea Turtle Populations Begin to Bounce Back

    Conservation works! These beloved ocean creatures have beaten the odds on extinction, according to a new study. Large turtle populations in nearly 60 regions worldwide are improving, rather than declining. Of the 299 sets of known turtle populations, 95 increased, 35 went down and the rest didn’t change. Yet sea turtles continue to face risks — from hurricanes to being caught by fishing gear. But there is an opportunity in the United States to save as many as 2,500 sea turtles every year by requiring Turtle Excluder Devices on every shrimp trawl.

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    Belize Government Introduces Bill to Ban Offshore Petroleum Exploration

    They may soon have a new drill. I think it’s great that Guatemala’s neighbor to the east is finally considering a legislative moratorium on offshore drilling. In 2010, I visited Belize with Oceana to swim with whale sharks, and it’s devastating to think Belize’s reef system — a UNESCO World Heritage Site with 500 species of fish and 60 species of coral — could be put at risk in the pursuit of oil. I hope Prime Minister Dean Barrow follows up with his pledge to see the moratorium legislated by next month.

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    Scientists Find That Herbivore Dinosaurs Also Ate Meat

    Maybe their meat-eating cousins left them green with envy. Turns out, big plant-eating dinosaurs occasionally scoffed more protein. New research of animal bits found in fossilized dung shows that some of these giants ate crustaceans. Much like hippos — also known as herbivores — have been shown to eat a surprising amount of meat, dinosaur diets were apparently more varied than originally thought. My home state is filled with dinosaur fossils, and I’m always amazed by how modern findings can give us new and improved glimpses into the past.

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    Dogs Should Take Pride of Place in Our Hearts, Homes 

    Give him a paw. Thanks to Gov. Jerry Brown, the Golden State is now the first in the U.S. to require that all pet stores sell adoptable dogs, cats and rabbits from shelters and rescue groups. Assembly Bill 485 was signed into law this month, and, as a dog owner and an animal lover, I’m so pleased to live in this progressive state. Learning about rescue dogs pulling victims to safety after last month’s Mexico earthquake, I say it’s high time we all rescue our furry four-legged friends in need.