The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Trump-Backed GOP Bid Fails in Louisiana

    It wasn't a fluke. Louisiana's improbable Democratic Gov. Bel Edwards, who unseated a scandal-plagued Republican in 2015, won a narrow reelection Saturday. That's despite President Donald Trump's three visits to the state to boost challenger Eddie Rispone, a self-funded Republican Baton Rouge businessman, and the state's deep-red politics. Edwards campaigned heavily on preserving Obamacare's Medicaid expansion, whose enrollment Rispone vowed to freeze.

    How did Edwards do it? Party registration notwithstanding, he aligned right on hot-button issues, signing a strict abortion ban, championing gun rights and identifying with Trump.

    Read about Trump's itchy Twitter finger in OZY's Donald Dossier.

  2. Iran Blocks Internet Amid Fuel Price Protests

    The Tehran government has shut down internet access in the wake of deadly protests over a cut in fuel subsidies. Official announcements charged that media reports falsely inflated the extent of the demonstrations, which led to protesters in the southern city of Sirjan to set fire to a fuel depot and exchange gunfire with police. Protesters, at least one of whom was killed, appeared in online videos in the capital and other cities.

    How bad is it? The demonstrations aren't as far-reaching as economic protests two years ago, but with February elections coming, officials will be hard-pressed to justify Friday night's sudden 50 percent gasoline price increase.

  3. The President 'Testifies' During Hearing

    "It's not something I would do." That was one Republican committee member's reaction to President Donald Trump's mid-hearing tweetstorm excoriating the Ukraine ambassador he'd fired. "Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad," Trump wrote, implying that the career diplomat was responsible for U.S. misfortunes in Somalia, where 19 soldiers were killed in 1993. Democrats called the messages "witness intimidation" at the moment Yovanovitch was describing presidential behavior she found unsettling.

    Is the president losing? President Bill Clinton survived Somalia and impeachment, but some argue that Trump's otherwise effective truculence is weakening against an increasing number of respected accusers.

    Read OZY's Special Briefing on Ukraine's survival.

  4. Bolivians Die as Change Roils Latin America

    Clashes over the ouster of Bolivian President Evo Morales reportedly caused nine deaths Friday, part of monumental shift in recent weeks for Latin America, its erstwhile entrenched leaders being challenged on both the left and the right. That's included former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s release from jail, fomenting trouble for far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, as well as unrest opposing Chile's billionaire leader.

    Is the change for the better? Writer Jon Lee Anderson sees a new sense of fairness developing on the continent, but instability is weakening financial indicators in already shaky economies.

  5. Democratic Race Cloudy as Fifth Debate Looms

    Ten candidates take the stage Wednesday for the fifth presidential Democratic debate in Georgia, a state that could be in contention next November. Former Vice President Joe Biden clings to a national polling lead, but Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren isn’t far behind.

    Who’s not debating? The big wild card of late is former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The billionaire beats President Donald Trump in polls that show top contenders with lackluster showings in key swing states.

    Don’t miss OZY’s Donald Dossier on a billionaire’s chance of winning Democrats’ hearts.

  6. Also Important...

    Gotabaya Rajapaksa, brother of a former president, defeated the ruling party candidate to win Saturday's Sri Lankan presidential election. President Trump has pardoned two U.S. Army officers, one serving time for killing unarmed Afghans and another accused of murdering a captive insurgent. And social justice activist quarterback Colin Kaepernick, excluded by the NFL since 2016, refused the league's exclusive workout opportunity Saturday in a dispute over media access.

    In the week ahead: Belarus holds parliamentary elections today, with opposition candidates excluded. Thursday is the next deadline for funding to keep the U.S. government running. And on Friday, the sequel to Disney's Frozen hits theaters.

    OZY is changing! Share your feedback as we evolve and improve: Fill out our short 2019 User Survey, and you could win a $100 Amazon gift card — or even a trip to meet the OZY team in California!


  1. The Mysterious Death of a Genius Coder

    The scavenger-gnawed body parts of Jerold Christopher Haas were found in an Ohio forest in November 2018. The brilliant coder was the co-founder of Tessr, a startup that aimed to use blockchain technology to handle university records. Haas seemed on the verge of success, but in September last year, he bolted from a friend’s car and was never seen alive again.

    How did he die? A detective believes Haas fell from a tree after isolating himself in the woods, but his mother suspects he was murdered.

    Don't miss this OZY story about blockchain love.

  2. The Lonely Battle to Save Elephants in Laos

    Writer Paul Kvinta found himself face to face with illicit trafficking of elephants from Laos, where the animals are already threatened by ivory hunters, to China’s animal parks. He also found himself close to Asian elephants, two of which Kvinta negotiated to purchase, freeing them from a life in chains. Despite Laotian law prohibiting their export, entire herds of the animals are marched across the Chinese border on “lease.”

    What’s the impact? Experts predict that the 800 pachyderms in Laos will be gone by 2030 if the trade isn’t curbed.

    Come with OZY to visit an elephant sanctuary.

  3. Sharondietrichtestimony in congress, 9 11 2013

    She’s Helping Ex-Cons Start Over

    A chance encounter at her legal services job 32 years ago gave Sharon Dietrich a mission. The Philadelphia lawyer discovered that most people who have been incarcerated want their records expunged so that they can start anew, eligible to get a job and rent an apartment without their past impeding them, OZY reports. Dietrich’s seemingly bleeding-heart cause has, through her tireless advocacy, even attracted bipartisan support, with Pennsylvania passing a Clean Slate law, which automatically seals conviction records.

    Is this catching on? It is. Utah has followed suit, and Michigan, California and Connecticut are considering similar legislation.

  4. ‘Bombshell‘ Hopes to Say What Fox Women Can't

    It’s the mother of all #MeToo cases, and an upcoming film aims to tell all — despite nondisclosure agreements. Bombshell splices actual footage with scenes featuring actors painstakingly made up to resemble their real-life counterparts. Those involved in the project praised victims who broke nondisclosure agreements — unlike headline accuser Gretchen Carlson, played by Nicole Kidman — to tell their stories.

    When does it hit theaters? Also starring Charlize Theron as Megyn Kelly and John Lithgow as Roger Ailes, the Fox CEO whom Carlson accused of sexual harassment, the film is set for U.S. release on Dec. 13.

    OZY examines the patriarchy’s desperation.

  5. May the Fourth (Down) Be With Them

    An NFL offense had three chances to get a first down, then a fourth down for punting. Sixteen years ago, teams tried to convert fourth-and-two situations fewer than 1 in 6 times. Then came coach Bill Belichick’s 2009 blunder: Ahead on his own 28-yard line with barely a minute left in the game, he gambled on gaining 2 yards. A controversial call denied his Patriots the first down, and Colts quarterback Peyton Manning charged into the end zone for the win.

    And now? The “mistake” stirred an analytics-fueled debate that continues, and this season teams are taking the same risk twice as often.