The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. At Least 12 Killed in D.C. Rampage

    Hundreds of police and federal agents swarmed the Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, D.C., this morning after gunfire erupted around 8:20 a.m. At least 12 people were killed and several others injured, including two police officers. Metro Police say one gunman is dead, but they are still searching for another man who may have been involved in the shooting. Several nearby D.C. schools have been placed on lockdown, and all outgoing flights at Reagan National Airport were temporarily suspended. President Obama vowed a thorough investigation of the “cowardly act.”

    Sources: WaPo, WJLA (live feed)


  2. U.N. Report Confirms Sarin Gas Used in Syria

    An eagerly awaited U.N. report confirms that the lethal nerve agent sarin was used in surface-to-surface missiles during a recent attack in Syria. The investigation does not assign blame for the attack, but the large quantity of gas appears to support claims that Bashar al-Assad’s regime is responsible. Meanwhile the U.S. and Russia are bickering over the terms of an agreement reached last week to turn over Syria’s chemical arsenal; experts say even if the deal moves forward, enforcing it will be a “logistical nightmare.”

    Source: CNN

  3. Larry Summers Drops Bid to Be Next Fed Chair

    Despite being President Obama’s apparent pick for the job, on Sunday former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers withdrew from consideration��to succeed Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve. This will spare the White House what was shaping up to be a nasty confirmation battle as many Democratic lawmakers lined up against his nomination. U.S. stock futures surged with the news — and with the prospect that Janet Yellen, the new front-runner and the Fed’s current vice chairwoman, might get the job. As one of the architects of the Fed’s current policies and a close Bernanke sidekick, she would be expected to maintain the central bank’s “easy money” policy of bond buying and low interest rates. 

    Sources: NYT, Politico, WSJ (sub)

  4. Deadly Storms Thwart Rescue Efforts in Colorado

    The flooding and mudslides that prompted President Obama to declare a disaster in the Boulder County area over the weekend have gotten worse since storms resumed Sunday evening. As many as 50 helicopters at a time have been deployed to ferry people out of canyons that face a new risk of flooding. With more than 1,200 people still missing throughout scattered mountain communities, officials expect the death toll to rise in the coming days.

    Sources: USA Today, NPR

  5. Killing May Test Thawed Ties Between Koreas

    Today North and South Korea celebrated the reopening of the Kaesong industrial park, a massive joint operation near the border that employs some 53,000 North Korean workers in factories operated with South Korean capital and know-how. The complex shut its doors in April after renewed nuclear threats from Pyongyang, so today’s grand reopening was seen as an important sign of eased tensions in the region. But just as workers’ cars were flowing across the border, South Korean police shot and killed a man seen swimming across a river toward the North. Could the unexpected development undermine months of careful negotiation?

    Sources: The Guardian, SCMP,  BBC


  1. New Miss America Vows to ‘Rise Above’ Racist Backlash

    No sooner had 24-year-old Nina Davuluri been crowned the first Indian-American Miss America than a deluge of racially charged tweets soured the historic moment. Fox News radio host Todd Starnes was one of many who claimed tattooed Army sergeant Theresa Vail of Kansas was the rightful winner because she “actually represented American values.” (Others have a simpler explanation for Vail’s loss: She sang.) At her first news conference, aspiring physician Davuluri brushed off the negativity and turned the focus to kids at home “who can finally relate to a new Miss America.” Extra points for poise.

    Sources: CNN, USAT

  2. Behind the Scenes of Epic Breaking Bad

    Before you ask, no, OZY did not twist any well-connected arms to have last night’s episode of Breaking Bad titled “Ozymandias” (but we welcome the coincidence!). As the show’s September 29 finale approaches, the time between episodes seems impossibly long, but director Rian Johnson served up at least a mild distraction today with behind-the-scenes photos from last night’s episode (mild spoilers in the images – those who haven’t watched yet can enjoy these shots instead). And don’t miss this reel of Bryan Cranston’s lesser-known roles — including a stint as pitch man for Preparation H.

    Source: Vulture

  3. Scientist Claims Time Travel Possible, In One Direction

    As Delorean owners scramble to fully outfit their replica vehicles before the 30th anniversary of Back to the Future in 2015, British scientist Brian Cox is raising some eyebrows with his claim that time travel could work — but only to the future and with no prospect of return. The particle physicist, who once had a cameo on Doctor Who, explains that as an object approaches the speed of light, its “clock runs slow relative to people who are still,” and thus one-way time travel could one day be a reality if we can create technology capable of moving people at the speed of light. So those hoping to fire up their flux capacitors in the near future may just have to do what all would-be time travelers hate most: wait.

    Sources: HuffPo, Discovery News

  4. Ambitious Costa Concordia Salvage Begins

    An American team is attempting an unparalleled feat of engineering as it tries to salvage the Costa Concordia cruise ship that toppled on its side when it hit rocks off the Tuscan coast in January 2012. The ship has remained half-submerged ever since, causing local communities to lose income from tourists put off by the wreck’s bizarre presence. In this make-or-break attempt, the ship will be winched up, drained of seawater, and then hauled off to the scrapyard, hopefully without rupturing the hull and spilling pollution into the sea.

    Sources: CBS, BBC

  5. Was J.D. Salinger Just Another Phony Adult?

    A new documentary details how the author, who captivated millions with a small but pitch-perfect oeuvre before going into silent seclusion for his last half century, spent much of that time serially pursuing and then abandoning very young, very impressionable girls, some as young as 14. One of them, Joyce Maynard, has penned an op-ed taking the luster off Salinger’s too-good-for-this-world reputation. The grand irony is that the author himself described with such sympathy and sensitivity the vulnerable strength and pain of being young — giving us just another puzzling example of how the powers of art can outstrip the force of moral understanding in one person.

    Source: NYT

  6. Is Floyd Mayweather Too Damn Good at Boxing?

    What does dominance look like? A blaze of glory or a series of rote cakewalks? The aptly-nicknamed Money Mayweather is another $41.5 million richer after knocking out a challenger who was all of six years old when the champ began the undefeated streak that has now reached 45-0 after Saturday’s win by decision. The real question now is not whether Mayweather will win his next match or who his opponent will be, but rather why so many keep tuning in to see a spectacle with all the precision and drama of routine knee surgery. Perhaps it’s just to see, as T.S. Eliot said in a rather different context, the boredom and the horror and the glory.

    Sources: ESPN, The Atlantic