The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Dow Jones Tops 17,000 for First Time

    Americans are celebrating Independence Day today, as well as a robust market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average crept over 17,000 points for the first time ever, spurred by a positive U.S. job creation report that boosted investors’ confidence. The Dow is up more than three percent for the year, and 14 percent higher than this time last year, and the dollar has made gains against foreign currencies. The news has fueled speculation that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates earlier than expected.

    WSJ (sub)

  2. New Birth Control Order Divides High Court

    Could Obamacare be unhealthy for the U.S. Supreme Court? The justices, in a split 6-3 decision, issued a temporary order exempting evangelical Wheaton College from contraception coverage required by the Affordable Care Act. If made permanent, other non-profit organizations could try joining corporations in opting out based on religious freedom. Opponents fear the ruling, combined with Monday’s Hobby Lobby decision, will undermine Obamacare and women’s rights, and the three dissenting female justices worry it will undermine confidence in the court.


  3. Careful Who You Mess With in China

    Pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline came under attack from a private investigator it hired to sniff out a whistle-blower in China. The investigator, Peter Humphrey, and his wife, now face a closed-door trial in August for the alleged illegal purchase of private information, evidently about the whistle-blower. Humphrey complained that GSK hired him without disclosing allegations of massive corruption at GSK, now under investigation by Chinese police. Unanswered: Who’s the powerful whistle-blower, and what effect will this have on corporate investigators in China?

    FT (sub), WSJ (sub)

  4. Job Security for Teachers Under Attack

    The summer break for teachers is off to a less-than-peaceful start. Ripple effects of last month’s California court decision striking down job protections for teachers are starting to spread. A group of New York parents filed suit yesterday to challenge what is known as teacher tenure, a policy that makes it difficult for local governments to fire under-performing teachers. Experts warn that New York’s judiciary is unlikely to follow California’s lead, but many predict it’s the first of many copycat lawsuits. 

    NYT, New York Daily News


  1. Police Arrest Woman at Pipeline Knit-In

    In a bid to redefine “guerrilla knitting,” five women occupied the waiting room of Vermont Gas and launched a “knit-in.” At issue? The South Burlington-based firm’s controversial pipeline project, “fracking,” how landowners along the proposed route have been treated and, according to the women, how previous protesters have been handled. The result? Jane Palmer, of Monkton, Vt., was forced to put down her needles and go with police.

    NPRSeven Days VTVermont Public Radio

  2. Men Prefer Pain to Sitting Alone in Thought

    Most men would rather suffer physical pain than be left alone with their thoughts, according to a recent psychological study. Two-thirds of men and a quarter of women, when left alone in a room with nothing but an electrical shock device, would rather be shocked than do nothing. One man shocked himself 190 times in 15 minutes, leading psychologists to note that asking a man to sit and think is likely to make him jolt.

    Washington PostThe GuardianNPR

  3. Is Facebook Killing Your Marriage?

    The social media giant had a bad week. First criticized for manipulating people’s emotions in a psychological experiment, now it’s accused of messing with marital bliss. Facebook users are twice as likely as nonusers to consider ditching the marital bed, a new study shows. And as Facebook rolled across the nation, researchers found a correlating uptick in divorce. So if your beloved spends more time with Zuckerberg than you, consider yourself warned.


  4. Brits Promote Sherlock in North Korea

    Benedict Cumberbatch can woo Kim Jong-un into reform. That’s the apparent reasoning Brits employed in promoting hit TV series Sherlock Holmes in North Korea. The country’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office shared the BBC show with viewers at the 2012 Pyongyang film festival in a bid to “encourage change.” They probably didn’t screen the episode where Holmes discovers a British minister is a North Korean spy planning to blow up Parliament, but who are we to question their methods?


  5. LeBron James’ Agent Meets Potential Suitors

    Hear ye, hear ye, the agent of basketball’s greatest player, King James, has reportedly met with Phoenix, Houston, Dallas and Cleveland, all of whom promise to lavish his highness with fine jewels. Some say it symbolizes a major shift in power away from Miami, while others think it’s just a smokescreen to tie up rivals before the star forward from Akron re-signs with the Heat. Buckle up, NBA fans, you have one week left to speculate.