The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Will Obama Take Action in Iraq Without Congress?

    The president met congressional leaders as Sunni extremists seized Iraq’s biggest oil refinery. Obama is considering a U.S. response to the growing sectarian violence between rebel Sunni groups like ISIS and the Shia majority. Iraq has asked the U.S. for air support. Obama told congressional leaders he doesn’t need their approval for action but has said he won’t send combat troops. If he doesn’t act soon, Iran may beat him to the punch.

    Sources: CNN , NPR , Washington Post

  2. U.S. Federal Reserve Cuts Growth Forecast But Highlights ’Rebound’

    The nation’s central bank cut its growth forecast for the economy, citing a tough winter. It’s now predicting growth of between 2.1 and 2.3 percent for 2014, down from its three percent forecast. But it also said the economy has “rebounded” recently and that the Federal Reserve will continue to cut bond purchases. The news signals the Fed’s confidence in keeping inflation low, and it sent stocks climbing in response.

    Sources: The Guardian, Washington Post, FT (sub), WSJ

  3. German Warrant Leads to Auschwitz Guard’s Arrest in Philly

    An 89-year-old retired Philadelphia toolmaker has been arrested and charged with aiding and abetting the murder of hundreds of thousands of Jews as a guard at Auschwitz. Johann Breyer has admitted being a guard but insists he had nothing to do with the deaths. An earlier case against him failed in the 1990s, but new evidence led to a German warrant for his arrest. Federal authorities said they would support his extradition back to Germany.

    Sources: BBC , The Inquirer

  4. Spain’s New King Takes the Helm

    Spaniards have little reason to celebrate today after being dismissed from the World Cup by Chile last night. You’d think the incoming king would give them reason to cheer, but Felipe VI is opting for less pomp than circumstance. He’s taking over from his father, King Juan Carlos, today after being sworn in by parliament. Paying heed to Spain’s suffering economy, the king is dispensing with a ritzy, expensive coronation and getting a sash instead.

    Sources: NYT, BBC 


  1. ISIS Twitter ‘Snitch’ Spills Militants’ Secrets

    A Twitter user is apparently baring insider secrets of Sunni militants storming Iraq. Tweeter @wikibaghdady could be a single ISIS turncoat or several, but the account has been spilling details, in Arabic, for the past six months, identifying the leader of ISIS (reportedly Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi) and revealing various covert alliances with former Baathist supporters of Saddam Hussein. One American analyst says @wikibaghdady is “a key source of ideas that should be investigated.” 

    Sources: The Daily Beast, Inventor Spot

  2. Jacques Cousteau’s Grandson Set to Break Underwater Record

    The famed underwater explorer’s grandson, Fabien Cousteau, is looking to beat grandpa at his own game — by working and living underwater for 31 days, one day more than his grandfather’s record. In honor of Cousteau Sr.’s 1963 oceanography underwater mission, Fabien is leading “Mission 31” from a pressurized laboratory 63 feet below. By living underwater full-time, Cousteau and fellow oceanographers will do research in 31 days that would take a normal dive team at least six months.

    Source: Fusion

  3. Study Finds Putting Religion on Job Applications Hurts Prospects

    Jobseekers whose applications revealed religious affiliations were 26 percent less likely to be contacted by employers, research has found. The study of religious discrimination in the American South pitched fake applications reflecting a range of religious and non-religious denominations to examine employer bias. The faithful were less likely to succeed than the control group, except for Jewish applicants, who were often favored. Even in the traditionally religious South, it seems silent prayer is the way to go. 

    Source: Washington Post

  4. King Of U.S. Soccer Shakes Things Up in Rap Record

    Team USA’s soccer captain Clint Dempsey is kicking things off in the music scene with his own rap record. Dempsey spent two weeks recording a 13-track album with rapper XO under the stage name “Deuce.” For the 2006 World Cup, Dempsey and XO mixed up the single “Don’t Tread.” In this new album, he raps about being “Captain America” and “banging Gs” — that’s rap speak for scoring goals.

    Source: The Guardian

  5. U.S. Patent Office Pulls Redskins Trademarks

    Whether you consider the Washington football team’s name an ethnic slur or not, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has deemed it “disparaging” to Native Americans. And it’s canceled the six federal trademarks of the team. If upheld, it’ll mean anyone can sell team-related merchandise and knockoffs, a hard hit for the team’s wallet that may push accountants to ponder: “What’s in a name?” Your move, Dan Snyder.

    Sources: Time, Bloomberg, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, USA Today