The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. As Shutdown Drags On, Lawmakers Focus on the Debt Ceiling

    Diary of a shutdown: day 3, and still deadlocked. But maybe there’s hope in the debt ceiling? Washington chatter shifted to the potential economic shutdown that may well result should the federal debt limit remain untouched before Oct. 17. House Speaker John Boehner reportedly told a small group of Republican lawmakers that he is determined to avert a situation that would see the U.S. unable to pay its bills for the first time in history, even if it means passing a bill with only Democratic and moderate Republican support. The U.S. Treasury’s new report on the economic fallout from the debt ceiling standoff in 2011 provides a sobering account of why each day matters: the loss of consumer and investor confidence in that period sent stocks plummeting and interest rates soaring, with effects that lingered well beyond the ”resolution” of the crisis.

    Sources: Washington Post, NYT

  2. Security Forces Under Scrutiny After Mall Looting Footage Emerges

    Militants were still in the Westgate mall, hostages still trapped, when Kenyan security forces looted registers and a high-end gem store, new surveillance video shows. A detailed hour-by-hour report of how the attack unfolded, and finally ended, shows a command riddled with communication and coordination problems. Two weeks after the attack, the fallout continues and expands beyond the mall, as Mombasa convulses with riots over allegations that security forces killed an imam who has been linked to the al-Shabaab terrorists. When will it end?

    Sources: The Guardian, LA Times

  3. Twitter Releases IPO Plans and Opens the Books

    Twitter has finally released more than 134 characters about its highly anticipated public offering. Goldman Sachs will take the lead on the effort to raise $1 billion in capital, vaulting it ahead of rival Morgan Stanley in the world of tech IPOs. Though Twitter has revolutionized the world of social media and played a key role in events like the Arab Spring, its IPO documents reveal a company far less mature than rivals like Facebook. Despite about 100 million daily users, it continues to lose money and is struggling to attract new users and advertisers. Should Twitter find a clearer path to profit, TWTR may be the next hot stock, but for now the company will still have some convincing to do when the investor roadshow starts in three weeks.

    Sources: WSJ, Bloomberg, NYT

  4. Dozens of Migrants Die on Europe’s Doorstep After Boat Capsizes

    A boat packed with about 500 mostly Eritrean and Somali migrants fleeing war, poverty and oppression sank Thursday morning just half a mile from its destination, the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa. At least 114 drowned, including pregnant women and children. More than 200 remain missing. The incident is the latest in what Lampedusa’s mayor called “a succession of true slaughters of the innocent.” With land routes into Europe becoming more difficult to traverse, more migrants have been willing to risk the dangerous sea voyage from Libya. Advocates from the pope to the International Organization for Migration are calling on the E.U. to acknowledge and address the crisis.

    Sources: The Guardian, NYT, BBC

  5. Feds Want Book Thrown at Detroit’s Former Mayor

    Corruption, abuse of public office — Kwame Kilpatrick, ex-mayor of Detroit, is about as bad as it gets, federal prosecutors argue, and they say the sentence for his 24 counts of extortion, racketeering and bribery should reflect that. They want 28 years in prison for the disgraced politician, which would be the stiffest punishment for public corruption in U.S. history. Prosecutors argue that Kilpatrick’s transformation of the mayor’s office into a racketeering joint is all the more heinous for its neglect of one of the nation’s most vulnerable metropolitan areas.

    Source: USA Today

  6. D.C. Car Chase Ends Tragically, Wendy Davis Throws Her Hat into the Ring

    President Obama cancels the rest of his Asia trip. (ABC News).

    Tropical Storm Karen spins toward the Gulf Coast. (USA Today).

    Connecticut mother shot dead by police after wild car chase on Capitol Hill. (CNN).

    Samsung forecasts record profit. (BBC).

    Wendy Davis officially running for governor of Texas. (USA Today).

    Behold the tick that can turn its victims vegetarian. (Al Jazeera).

    Instagram to start placing ads in user photo streams. (BBC).


  1. First Interspecies Global Protest Seeks to Save the Elephants 

    Though many Western nations have taken steps to prohibit the sale or purchase of ivory products, the same does not hold true in China and many other countries. Elephants remain a favorite target of poachers, who killed or mutilated 30,000 of them in 2011 alone using guns or other methods like cyanide in drinking wells. Enter the International March for Elephants today, the first international march on behalf of another species. The march will span three continents and 15 cities, and aims to call attention to the devastation of African elephant populations. The organizers are trying to get half a million people to support the cause worldwide in a stampede of support.

    Sources: National Geographic, BBC

  2. Reading Literary Fiction Increases Empathy, Study Says

    If you’re worried about not being able to relate to others, try picking up some Dickens or Dostoyevsky, says a study just published in Science. ”The Da Vinci Code” and other plot-driven works don’t count, nor does non-fiction — it seems the effect is linked to having in-depth explorations of character (more ”Anna Karenina,” less “Jurassic Park”).  If you’ve ever lost yourself in the thoughts of a fictional character, the finding probably is no surprise to you. But if you’ve been ignoring character-based fiction in favor of other reads, then you might want to course correct, lest you find yourself with a heart of darkness. The horror, the horror.

    Source: NYT

  3. Burning Car Video Pours Cold Water on Tesla Stock

    A video posted on YouTube showing a Tesla Model S engulfed in flames near Seattle sent Tesla Motors shares down 6 percent on Wednesday, and another 5 percent yesterday. It seems investors are concerned that the incident may make it difficult to brand the sedan “the safest car in America.” Despite the bad press, the Model S continues to be a sensation, with Consumer Reports calling the electric sedan its top-scoring car. And with Tesla’s stock having risen over 500 percent in the last year, it’s likely going to take more than one battery blaze to keep Tesla from burning up the competition for electric cars.

    Sources: NPR, BBC

  4. Sinead O’Connor Offers Some Hard Life Lessons for Miley Cyrus

    Maybe only someone who’s been there can really know what it’s like. Irish singer-songwriter Sinead O’Connor wrote an open letter to Miley Cyrus, stating that she admired the 20-year-old pop star’s talent but cautioned against “pimping” herself out in a male-dominated industry that will prostitute her for all she’s worth until they drop her and move on. Miley’s recent twerking and “Wrecking Ball” music video (inspired by O’Connor’s 1990 hit “Nothing Compares 2 U”) have raised eyebrows as the former Disney kid star attempts to rebrand herself as a sex symbol. O’Connor is no stranger to controversy herself, having famously torn up a picture of the pope after a 1992 performance on Saturday Night Live. Miley responded with a tweet deriding O’Connor’s mental health. It’s anybody’s guess what Miley will do when it’s her turn to take the stage on SNL tomorrow night. As OZY’s Eugene Robinson reminds us, Miley will be in good company if she decides to go in guns blazing.

    Source: USA Today

  5. Fiery Hockey Hall of Famer Disciplined For Conduct in First Game as Coach

    A great many Canadians may be polite and mild-mannered, but Patrick Roy is not among them. The Hall of Fame goaltender and rookie coach, known for his passion on the ice as a player, was fined $10,000 by the National Hockey League for his angry outburst at rival coach Bruce Boudreau during his very first game leading the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday. The exchange of fiery words between the coaches escalated to Roy pummeling the glass barrier between the two sides after taking exception to what he considered a “cheap shot” at the Avalanche’s rookie phenom, and hockey’s number one draft pick, Nathan McKinnon, who had two assists in his own professional debut. An NHL official called Roy’s actions irresponsible, but Roy played down the episode, claiming that it was “just a normal night.”

    Source: ESPN